OMAHA, Neb. - Left fielder Colin Curtis was slumping worse than any of Arizona State’s hitters going into Tuesday’s 8-7 win over Nebraska. The sophomore went 1-for-8 with a double and an intentional walk in ASU’s first two College World Series games.
Sun Devils coach Pat Murphy told Curtis he was too loose at the plate during a lengthy oneon-one hitting session at practice on Monday. Curtis responded with a 3-for-5 game against Nebraska during which he drove in tying and go-ahead runs on singles in the fifth and seventh innings.
He almost turned in the play of the game with his glove when he jumped onto the outfield wall in an attempt to snag Andy Gerch’s three-run homer in the top of the ninth.
"I think I would’ve had it if the fence wasn’t there, but the fence got in the way," Curtis said. "I had a good read on it and came up a little short. I thought I might have it, then all of a sudden my face hit the fence. That was the last of that shot at catching it."
Shortstop Andrew Romine’s availability will be a game-time decision after X-rays Tuesday night revealed no broken bones in his face. He left Tuesday’s game after a pitch ricocheted off his hand and cut him under his right eye.
If Romine is unable to play due to swelling, Joe Persichina would likely get the start at shortstop.
Murphy doubted Romine’s ability to play after Tuesday’s game.
"If you see the look of it, you kinda figure there’s no chance he can play," he said.
ZINI COMES BACK
Designated hitter Zechry Zinicola was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before first pitch because of chronic nose bleeds. But when the Sun Devils went into extra innings and needed his right arm, Zinicola took the mound and gave up one hit in two scoreless innings.
After being held out of the Tempe Regional, Zinicola has batted or pitched in ASU’s last six postseason games.
"I came out and just tried to throw everything as hard as I could right at them," Zinicola said. "I just tried to keep our team close so we could do something special and live to fight another day. This is what we do, we’re just trying to make it to the next day."
Seth Dhaenens and Joey Hooft traded positions Tuesday with Dhaenens starting at third base and Hooft at second. It was Dhaenens’ first start at third this season and Hooft’s first start at second since March 20. ...
With his usual No. 39 home uniform lost somewhere between Tempe and Omaha, Tuffy Gosewisch wore No. 53.
Arizona State vs. Florida
What: College World Series game
When: 11 a.m. today
Where: Rosenblatt Stadium; Omaha,
Radio: KDUS (1060 AM)
Records: ASU 41-24, Florida 47-20
Probable pitching matchup: ASU’s TBD vs. Florida’s Bryan Ball (7-4, 3.29 ERA)
Outlook: ASU has defied the odds for the last two weeks, and will have to do so again if it is to advance to this weekend’s three-game national championship series, needing back-to-back wins over Florida today and Thursday.
The biggest obstacle ASU must overcome is a thin pitching staff that has been depleted by throwing 29 innings in three close games since Friday. ASU coach Pat Murphy said he didn’t know who would start today, but his options seem limited. Erik Averill threw 76 pitches against Tennessee Sunday, Jason Urquidez threw 73 pitches Tuesday on short rest and ASU’s top three relievers — all of whom have started — have combined to throw more than 16 innings since Friday. If a fresh arm is what Murphy seeks, then right-handed junior Tony Barnette (4-1, 7.16 ERA) may be the best bet.
Ball is fresh, having not pitched since defeating Stetson in the Gators’ NCAA tournament opener on June 4. He scattered eight hits and gave up three runs in 6 2 /3 innings. He’s been erratic this season, giving up three runs in long outings against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in the last month of the regular season but surrendering six runs in two innings against Mississippi in the SEC Tournament.