TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A happy crowd of 3,562 was still filing out of Dick Howser Stadium on Saturday night and College of Charleston coaches were already busy scheming for a long, stressful Sunday.
The Cougars need three victories to win the Tallahassee Regional after a 3-2 loss to top seed Florida State on Saturday night. Clean-up hitter Quincy Nieporte smacked a go-ahead solo home run off Cougars starter Brandon Glazer with one out in the eighth inning.
“It’s not deflating,” College of Charleston head coach Monte Lee said. “I’m proud of my players. All I can ask my guys to do is compete as hard as they can for nine innings pitch by pitch.”
The College of Charleston (44-14) moves on to a loser’s bracket game Sunday at noon against Auburn, which eliminated Mercer on Saturday.
The winner of that game will face Florida State (43-19) on Sunday night, hoping to make a Monday night game necessary.
The Gatorade cup half-full includes Glazer, the senior right-hander who gave the bullpen full rest Saturday night with a 111-pitch complete game.
The Cougars against Auburn will go with junior right-hander Nathan Helvey (7-4, 2.78 earned run average).
“We have to do everything we can to win that first one and we’ll unload our guns,” Lee said. “We have to win that first one to get to the second one.”
An early wake-up call looked like it might not be necessary when College of Charleston third baseman Carl Wise tied the game in the eighth inning with a two-out, two-run homer. It was a reminder of Erven Roper’s 11th-inning, two-out, walk-off home run in a 7-6 victory over Auburn on Friday.
But Florida State pitching was too much. Seminoles head coach Mike Martin gambled a bit and saved ace Boomer Biegalski for the second game of the regional. It paid off for seven-plus innings as the sophomore right-hander made the aggressive Cougars chase change-ups and curveballs that were too tantalizing to lay off.
“If there’s anything that anybody should take away from this game, it’s the great job Boomer Biegalski did against a team like that,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said.
Reliever Dylan Silva (7-1) got the win, and closer Billy Strode earned his 14th save.
Glazer, an outfielder until last winter, came in with a 10-1 record. He bobbed and weaved through the early going. He wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam and got two double plays over the first five innings.
Josh Delph and DJ Stewart hit RBI singles in the fifth inning to put Florida State up 2-0.
“After the first inning, I tried to settle in and attack the strike zone,” Glazer said.
Nick Pappas doubled in the fourth inning, his 28th of the season and a new school record (breaking a tie with Cole Rakar and D.J. Wabick).
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff