Stanford wins with 11 run final inning

Published 4:14 am Sunday, June 15, 2008

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Brent Milleville’s three-run homer highlighted Stanford’s record-tying 11-run ninth inning and the Cardinal beat Florida State 16-5 in the opening game of the College World Series on Saturday.

Stanford (40-22-2) will play Monday against the winner of the game between top-seeded Miami and Georgia on Saturday night. The Seminoles (54-13) will try to stay alive Monday against the Miami-Georgia loser.

The Cardinal’s big inning came after Florida State tied it at 5 on Jason Stidham’s two-out, three-run homer off Drew Storen in the eighth.

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It was the seventh time a team had scored 11 runs in an inning at the CWS. Cal State Fullerton was the most recent team to do it, in 1994 against LSU.

With a strong wind blowing out at Rosenblatt Stadium, the day appeared perfect for another of Florida State’s big offensive days. The Seminoles came in averaging 10 runs a game for the season and 11 in the NCAA tournament.

But other than homers by Dennis Guinn and Stidham, Stanford’s four pitchers mostly held the Seminoles in check during the 4-hour, 11-minute game — the third longest nine-inning game in CWS history.

Storen (5-3) got the win, allowing three runs and three hits in the seventh and eighth innings. John Gast (0-1), the third of the seven pitchers FSU used, took the loss.

Toby Gerhart went 3-for-4 with a home run and Milleville and Ratliff combined to drive in seven runs for the Cardinal. Stanford had 15 hits.

It looked as if Stanford might run into hard luck in the top of the ninth when, with two men on base, first-base umpire Mike Conlin signaled foul on a Jason Castro grounder down the first-base line that kicked up chalk. Castro ultimately reached when shortstop Tony Delmonico couldn’t handle his grounder — the second of Delmonico’s three errors — to load the bases.

Milleville’s sacrifice fly produced the go-ahead run — and the rout was on.

Ratliff added a two-run single, Cord Phelps a two-run double and Milleville his three-run homer.

The Seminoles hadn’t scored fewer than seven runs in a game since getting shut out by Bucknell in the opener of the Tallahassee Regional on May 30.

Down three runs in the seventh, Florida State failed to score after loading the bases with none out against Stanford relievers Erik Davis and Storen. Storen got Jack Rye and Guinn to pop out, then caught Delmonico looking at strike three.

Storen wouldn’t be so fortunate in the eighth. Tommy Oravetz and Tyler Holt hit two-out singles before Stidham sent a 3-2 pitch that needed every bit of a 20-mph wind gusting to 32 mph to reach the third row of the right-field seats.