TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Alabama’s Justin Kamplain threw eight innings and the Crimson Tide held on in the ninth to defeat the Florida State Seminoles, 6-5, in the Tallahassee Regional elimination game Saturday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium.
The win keeps Alabama alive in the regional tournament. The Tide faces Georgia Southern at 11 a.m. today in another elimination game.
Against Florida State, Kamplain earned the win, after allowing one run on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts. The former Walker High School star improved to 7-3 on the season and the Tide is now 6-1 in his last seven starts.
“For Justin (Kamplain), it was one of his best starts all year and he did a great job keeping them off balance,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We showed life offensively, particularly against (Luke) Weaver who is a very dominant pitcher. Then we get to the ninth inning and it got really interesting, especially for us, with what happened here last year. But just to find a way to get that win was huge for our team. I think it’s something that we can build on moving through the remainder of the tournament.”
With the Tide holding a 6-0 lead leading to the bottom of the ninth, Florida State scored five runs on two hits with three walks and two hit batters in its last trip to the plate.
After eight scoreless innings, Kamplain gave up a leadoff single in the ninth inning to John Nogowski and was replaced by Jon Keller. Keller’s day was short-lived as he hit two and walked one of the three batters he faced to put of the first run on the board for the Seminoles.
The Tide went to the bullpen for closer Thomas Burrows, who walked the first two batters he faced to make the score 6-3. Then, after recording a pair of outs, Noles’ All-American left fielder DJ Stewart drove in two with a single to center field to cut the Bama lead to one at 6-5.
With the tying run at third, FSU pinch-hitter Gage West flew out to center field to end the game.
West was hitting in Nogowski’s spot in the order, after he was replaced by a pinch-runner after his lead-off single.
“To start out the ninth inning, we told Justin that we’d give him 10 pitches to try to finish it out,” Gaspard said. “When the first guy gets the base hit, we sort of felt like that was it for him. We wanted to go to Jon Keller. I was hoping Jon could take us home and we wouldn’t have to use the closer there, be he wasn’t very sharp today. At that point, we had to go right to (Tom) Burrows. It’s a tough spot for a freshman, especially when the crowd gets going. But I thought he was able to regroup after a tough starts and a couple walks.”
Prior to the allowing a run in the ninth, Kamplain had not allowed a run in 18.1 consecutive innings. Burrows, who allowed a run on a hit with two walks, recorded the last three outs of the game to record his 11th save of the season.
Mikey White had a big day at the plate for the Tide, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored. Austen Smith stayed hot, posting a 2-for-3 day that included his second straight game with two doubles. Wade Wass was 1-for-4, but his only hit of the game was a seventh inning two-run home run to put Bama ahead by six, which eventually ended up as the game-winning run.
Of Florida State’s six hits (all singles) Stewart has two with two RBI, and Brett Knief, Casey Smit, Nogowski and Justin Gonzalez had a hit each. Gonzalez also walked twice and Ben DeLuzio walked three times.