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Alabama holds on to beat Florida State


From Special Reports



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Justin Kamplain threw eight shutout innings Saturday and the Alabama baseball team held on in the ninth inning to defeat Florida State 6-5 in an elimination game at the NCAA tournament Tallahassee Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. 


"For Justin (Kamplain), it was one of his best starts all year," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "He did a great job keeping them off balance. 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 Alabama (35-23) leading 6-0 going to the bottom of the ninth, Florida State (43-17) scored five runs on two hits, three walks, and two hit batters. 


After eight scoreless innings, Kamplain gave up a leadoff single to John Nogowski and was replaced by Jon Keller, who hit two and walked one. Closer Thomas Burrows replaced Keller and walked two batters to make it 6-3. After two outs, left fielder DJ Stewart drove in two with a single to center field to make it 6-5. 


With the tying run at third, pinch hitter Gage West flew out to center field to send Alabama into an elimination game at 11 a.m. today against the loser of the Georgia Southern-Kennesaw State game played later Saturday. 


"We told Justin 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." 


Kamplain (7-3) allowed one run on five hits and four walks. He struck out three strikeouts. The Crimson Tide is 6-1 in his last seven starts. Prior to the allowing a run in the ninth, Kamplain hadn't allowed a run in 18 1/3 innings. 


Burrows, who allowed a run on a hit with two walks, earned his 11th save. 


Mikey White went 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored. Austen Smith was 2-for-3 with two doubles. Wade Wass was 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in the seventh to help give Alabama a cushion it ultimately needed. 


Of Florida State's six hits (all singles) Stewart had two with two RBIs, and Brett Knief, Casey Smit, Nogowski, and Justin Gonzalez had a hit each. Gonzalez also walked twice and Ben DeLuzio walked three times. 


FSU starting pitcher Luke Weaver (8-4) took the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings. Reliever Gage Smith allowed three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings. Jameis Winston threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing no hits with a walk and two strikeouts. 


After two scoreless innings, White hit the first pitch of the third from Weaver over the wall in left field to give Alabama a 1-0 lead. It was the shortstop's seventh home run. 


Alabama received a big break in the fifth, as third baseman Jose Brizuela committed an error on a Wade Wass ground ball that allowed White to score from second. Austen Smith then drove a ball to the wall in right center for his fourth double of the regional to drive in Wass and make it 3-0. 


Alabama made it 4-0 on a single by Ben Moore that scored White. White singled to start the seventh and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Salem. Wass followed with his fifth home run.



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