March 7, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Third-ranked Florida State (10-0) registered its third series sweep of the season defeating No. 25 Georgia (6-6) 17-5 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. For the 15th consecutive game, the Seminole bats reached double figures in hits with 11, while showing some patience at the plate drawing a season-high 14 walks.
The 12-run victory by the Noles on Sunday tied for the largest margin of victory in the series as the Garnet and Gold defeated the Bulldogs 16-4 back on March 19, 1959.
“I must admit it’s a very, very big surprise, from what I just saw…it was three ball games in which we controlled the tempo,” said head coach Mike Martin on the play of his team this weekend. “I was very pleased with everything that I saw. But like we talked about in the clubhouse, we can’t get up, we can’t get down, we can’t feel like we got this thing all figured out because baseball is a game that will turn on you so quickly it will make your head spin. But I am very proud of this baseball team and the way they played this weekend.”
FSU completed the three-game sweep outscoring Georgia 38-8. The Seminoles hit .369 as a team over the weekend compared to the .228 average posted by the Bulldogs. The Seminole pitching staff was nearly perfect allowing just six earned runs over 27.0 innings of work en route to a staff ERA of 2.00.
“There is no question that is something that Mike (Martin, Jr.) continues to pound into these guys,” added Martin on the patience that the Seminole batters are showing at the plate. “He is doing a tremendous job of teaching these young men.”
Coming off an impressive outing against Florida this past Tuesday, Geoff Parker made the start in game three against Georgia and worked four innings allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits. He walked three and struck out a season-high six batters in earning the no decision. The six strikeouts were the most for Parker since he struck out a career-high nine against Virginia Tech back on May 2, 2009.
Brian Busch (2-0) entered in the fifth and worked two scoreless innings to pick up his second win of the season. The sophomore southpaw faced the minimum over his two innings of work as he did not allow a hit or a walk while striking out two.
“It was a well pitched game by Geoff Parker,” added Martin. “We got a big lift from Brian Busch when he came in. A couple of big innings and things went our way. Obviously, it was very surprising that it was a ball game that got out of hand, but it’s a credit to our young men the way they played.”
Stephen Cardullo and Sherman Johnson paced the Seminole offense as both hitters drove in four runs a piece. Cardullo and Stuart Tapley led the team with two hits each, while Rafael Lopez drove in a pair of runs in FSU’s six-run fifth.
“It was real nice,” said Lopez. “I think we made a statement to the rest of the country. We just got to keep doing it and putting the pressure on other teams each time out.”
Cardullo put the finishing touches on a fantastic weekend as the senior shortstop hit .583 (7-for-12) in the three-game sweep of the Bulldogs driving in seven runs and scoring four times while posting a .667 on-base percentage. At one stretch during the series, Cardullo had reached base in nine consecutive at-bats.
“I had a pretty productive weekend,” said Cardullo. “I put a lot of quality bats together and got on base a lot. That has been my main objective all season long, get on base and get some good at-bats.”
Cardullo and Johnson were the first pair of Seminoles to record four-RBI in a game this season and the first since Tyler Holt and Mike McGee drove in four and five, respectively, at Miami back on April 3, 2009.
The Seminoles got the ball rolling right from the start taking a 2-0 lead after the first inning of play. Holt led off the bottom of the first drawing a walk from Georgia starter Michael Palazzone (2-1). He moved to third on a single to right by James Ramsey with Ramsey taking second the play following a fielding error by Bulldog right fielder Peter Verdin. Cardullo would plate both Holt and Ramsey on a base hit through the right side of the infield to give the Noles the early two-run advantage.
The Bulldogs would cut the lead in half with a run in the second as Zach Cone doubled to the gap in left center driving home Christian Glisson, who drew a one out walk from Parker.
FSU answered the call scoring five more times in the second upping its lead to 7-1. The Seminoles sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning chasing Palazzone from the game after the sophomore right hander managed just one out. Justin Gonzalez began the scoring spree leading off the inning with a single to left and moved to second as Lopez was hit by a pitch. With one out, Holt drove in Gonzalez on an RBI single to right. After a hit-by-pitch to Ramsey, Cardullo picked up his third and fourth RBI of the game on a single through the right side plating Lopez and Holt. Johnson would account for the final two runs of the inning bringing home Cardullo and McGee with a two-out single to left.
Parker kept the momentum riding high with the Seminoles retiring the Bulldogs in order in the third after throwing just 13 pitches.
But Georgia would not go away without a fight, scoring three times in the fourth to cut the Seminole lead to 7-4. The Bulldogs sandwiched a single by Colby May and a double by Glisson in between a pair of Parker strikeouts before Robert Shipman came through with a clutch two-out, two-run single back up the middle. A fielding error and a walk loaded the bases for UGA while a walk to Johnathan Taylor brought home Shipman for Georgia’s fourth run of the game. Parker was able to get out of the inning without further damage getting Verdin to fly out in foul territory to Jayce Boyd.
Florida State capitalized on a Georgia throwing error at short in the fourth to increase its lead to 8-4. Cardullo reached on the error, moved to second on a balk and scored two batters later on an RBI single off the bat of Tapley. The hit extended Tapley’s hit streak to a career best 15 games.
The Seminole erupted for six runs in the fifth, all on two outs, thanks to six walks, one hit-by-pitch and one base hit. Georgia pitcher Cecil Tanner had trouble with his control during his inning of work unleashing on three wild pitches and was charged with a balk which led to a Seminole run. Johnson drove in his third run of the game on a bases loaded walk, while Lopez plated a pair on a base hit through the right side.
The lead grew to 17-4 courtesy of three more runs in the sixth. Georgia’s Alex McRee also had problems finding the strike zone as he walked the first three batters that he faced before being lifted for John Herman. Two pitches after the pitching change, Tapley drilled a two-run double to the gap in right center scoring Ramsey and Cardullo. Johnson would bring home McGee for his fourth run of the game on a ground out to short.
Stephen McGee registered his first collegiate hit in the eighth lacing a double to the gap in right center.
Both Buckley and Bennett faced the minimum in their inning of work. Buckley struck out two of the three batters that he faced, while Bennett recorded one as well.
“We faced some good pitching this weekend,” added Cardullo. “We were able to put it to them in the first couple of innings which seemed to rattle them. We stayed on them and were able to deliver the finishing blow which is what this offense is about.”
The Seminoles return to the diamond on Monday, March 8 at 6:00 p.m. as Florida State travels across I-10 to face Jacksonville. Fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team and 94.3 FM locally and on the web at Seminoles.com. Right hander Mike McGee will take the mound for the Seminoles on Monday making his first start in 2010.