Former Plant City ballplayers continued their collegiate postseasons this past weekend
After following along with a number of former Plant City standouts in their journey through conference tournament play last week, the University of South Florida and Florida State University each advanced to the College World Series’ regional stage this past weekend.
Former Durant catcher Jake Sullivan and the University of South Florida headed to the Gainesville regional on the heels of their first American Athletic Conference title, and their first conference championship since 1995.
They would be joined by the University of Florida, University of Miami and University of South Alabama with a spot in the super regional round on the line.
A few states away, former Plant City High School and Durant pitchers Parker Messick and Jonah Scolaro led Florida State into the Oxford, Mississippi regional alongside Southern Mississippi, Southeast Missouri State and Ole Miss.
For Florida State, Messick got the start in the Seminole’s first game of the weekend on Friday and put together another stellar outing, allowing just seven hits and two unearned runs while striking out five over six innings pitched.
Scolaro entered the game in the seventh inning and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in relief as Florida State won 5-2 over Southern Miss.
Despite moving to the winners bracket of the double-elimination tournament, FSU would ultimately see their season end in Oxford as they fell short in their next two contests, a 4-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday and a 7-4 loss to Southern Miss on Sunday.
Scolaro entered FSU’s game on Sunday with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, facing two batters and getting the final out of the inning to hold the score at 4-3.
USF led off the regional with a 5-3 win over the hosting Gators, moving them into the winner’s bracket as well. Sullivan went 2-for-4 on the day with two runs scored. He singled to lead off the second inning and crossed the plate for the game’s first run two batters later.
In the sixth inning, as USF held on to a 3-1 lead, Sullivan doubled down the line before advancing on a passed ball and later scoring on a wild pitch.
In the Bulls’ next game, a 10-2 win over Miami, Sullivan once again played a major part in getting USF on the board early with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning. Sullivan would then come around to score in the bottom of the fourth to give USF a 2-1 lead and finished the game 1-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored.
With a 2-0 start, USF needed just one win over 2-1 South Alabama heading into Sunday to clinch a spot in their first ever super regional appearance.
After heavy rain suspended the first matchup, the two teams would continue play on Monday as the Bulls fell in regional play for the first time, losing 4-0. But USF would bounce back on Monday night, besting South Alabama 6-4 and advancing to the Super Regional round where they will play a best two-out-of-three series against the University of Texas in Austin starting on Saturday, June 12.