Heyer to start for Wildcats against Seminoles

BY foxsports • June 20, 2012

By ERIC OLSON
AP Sports Writer

OMAHA, Neb. --
It will be Round 2 between Florida State and Arizona at the College World Series on Thursday, with both teams starting the same pitchers as when they met in the opening round.

An Arizona win would send the Wildcats to the championship round. An FSU victory would force another game Friday, with the winner going to the best-of-three finals.

"We've got the advantage of being 2-0 and having the luxury of maybe losing a game," Arizona right fielder Robert Refsnyder said Wednesday. "On the other end of the spectrum, if Florida State loses, they go home, so they're going to be playing with their hair on fire."

The Wildcats will send junior ace Kurt Heyer (12-2) to the mound against freshman left-hander Brandon Leibrandt (8-2), the Seminoles' No. 1 pitcher.

Heyer worked the first 7 2-3 innings and got a no decision in Arizona's 4-3 win over FSU in 12 innings last Friday. Leibrandt made it just 4 1-3 innings, his shortest outing since March 17.

"Coming out of the game in the fifth inning the other night, you want to get a second crack at them," Leibrandt said. "My teammates told me that game wasn't going to be my last start. I believed them, and here we are. I get to go again, and I couldn't be happier."

The Seminoles bounced back from the first-round loss with impressive wins over Stony Brook and UCLA. The Wildcats followed their win over FSU with Konner Wade's 4-0 shutout against UCLA on Sunday.

FSU, which has taken the most walks of any team in the nation, worked UCLA pitchers for eight on Tuesday. The Seminoles' patience at the plate and ability to elevate the opponent's pitch count have forced Arizona coach Andy Lopez to call on the strong-armed Heyer again rather than take his chances with No. 3 starter James Farris.

Though freshmen Tyler Crawford and Mathew Troupe combined for 4 1-3 shutout innings of relief on Friday, it's apparent that Lopez doesn't want to entrust the Wildcats' fate to his bullpen. Heyer has thrown seven complete games and leads the nation with 145 2-3 innings.

"You are who you are at this time of the season," Lopez said. "Our bullpen has been questionable at times. It's young, it's inexperienced. They did a marvelous job on Friday night, and I hope they continue to do that.

"If the pitch count is up, obviously I'm not going to blow up Kurt Heyer, and that means we'll have to go into our bullpen."


share story