TALLAHASSEE (AP) — Brett Knief’s grand slam capped a seven-run fourth inning that led Florida State to an 11-4 win over Troy on Sunday, putting the Seminoles in the super regionals of the NCAA tournament for the sixth consecutive year — the longest active streak in the nation.
The Seminoles (47-15) have won 19 straight regional games since 2008, and as the No. 7 national seed will host Indiana, the winner of the Bloomington regional, in next week’s best-of-three series.
“That was a huge, huge part of the ballgame,” Florida State coach Mike Martin said of Knief’s big hit. “Brett got us four runs with one swing of the bat.”
A perennial collegiate baseball powerhouse, Florida State is still seeking its first College World Series title despite 21 appearances in Omaha, Neb., including 15 visits with Martin at the helm.
Knief’s shot over the left-field wall, his first home run at Florida State, gave the Seminoles a 9-3 lead.
Marcus Davis’ two-run double in the fourth inning snapped a 3-3 tie. Later that inning, Knief raced out of the batter’s box after hitting the ball, never thinking it might get out of the ballpark.
“I thought the left fielder was actually going to run back and catch it,” the junior outfielder said. “I really knew it was gone when I was about to hit second base.
“It might have been a world record getting around the bases.”
Jose Brizuela also homered for the Seminoles, while Trae Santos hit his second homer of the tournament and 18th of the season for Troy. Santos and Clay Holcomb each had three hits for the Trojans while Giovanny Alfonzo had three of the Seminoles’ 11 hits and Stephen McGee drove in three runs.
Brandon Leibrandt (10-4) went the first five innings against Troy (42-20) to pick up the win for the Seminoles, who outscored three tournament opponents 32-4.
“Florida State definitely was a better-prepared team for this regional,” Troy coach Bobby Pierce said. “Playing at home, they were the better team. They deserved to advance forward.”
Troy (42-20) eliminated Alabama 9-8 earlier Sunday in the double-elimination tourney with a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth that was capped when Brandon Brown walked with the bases to force home the winning run.
“You’re expending a lot of energy in a game like that,” Pierce said. “But the emotional high I think we rode into the second game, that part … I believe probably helped us.”
But not enough to offset a well-rested Florida State squad that was much deeper in pitching.
“We had a lot of inexperienced guys,” Pierce said. “But we competed well.”
Florida State’s Luke Weaver, who struck out 14 Troy hitters Saturday in eight shutout innings, was selected the tournament’s most outstanding player.
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