With the ‘Noles up 2-1 in the top of the sixth, FSU first baseman Drew Mendoza’s solo homer to right landed smack in the middle of the Seminoles’ bullpen, and it pushed the FSU lead up to 3-1. But Fullerton answered in the bottom of the frame with a Timmy Richards two-run shot to left center that landed in nearly the exact same spot where he hit a three-run bomb in Game 1 on Saturday. Monday’s blast chased FSU starter Drew Parrish, who’d up to that point thrown 5 2/3 innings of solid work, from the mound.
From there, Florida State plated three runs in the top of the seventh to bring the score to 6-4 and no more scoring would occur on the day. With the loss Fullerton’s second in Omaha the Titans were eliminated from the tournament after beginning it as a No. 4 seed in the Long Beach regional.
Oregon State and LSU faced off in the nightcap, a much anticipated matchup between a pair of tournament powerhouses. The Beavs rode a 22-game winning streak into the park, while the Tigers were sitting on 17 straight wins of their own.
Steven Wright, another Red Sox knuckler, was a regular old pitcher in the Indians organization until a switch in his mid-20s brought him to the knuckleball. After a few years of tinkering with it, sage advice from Wakefield himself, and some opportunities in the majors, Wright has put together a productive five-year stretch for Boston, culminating in an all-star berth last summer.
The knuckler isn’t something players start out with: It’s a last refuge for those failing to find success elsewhere. .