April 15, 2011
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Florida State junior Sean Gilmartin won the pitching battle in Friday’s wind-blown series opener with Virginia Tech’s Joe Mantiply.
The Hokies, however, managed to secure the more important victory.
Jake Atwell’s two-out, fly ball RBI triple to left in the third inning and a Gilmartin wild pitch provided the Hokies with all the runs they would need to secure a 2-1 victory at English Field.
The eighth-ranked Seminoles out-hit the Hokies 6-4, but also managed to strand 11 baserunners on a day with run-production was at a premium. In the end, Gilmartin (6-1) suffered his first defeat of the season, despite his first complete game since 2009. Gilmartin struck out seven, walked one and faced just 27 batters.
On an otherwise outstanding defensive day, left fielder Stuart Tapley’s misjudged approach on Atwell’s fly ball loomed large. The Seminoles (24-10, 9-7 ACC) still managed to cut two runners down at home plate, including Tapley’s assist to nail Tim Smalling for the final out in the eighth.
Virginia Tech (19-17, 4-12) was equally impressive on defense, turning a pair of inning-ending double plays. The timely defense and FSU’s inability to deliver with runners in scoring position enabled the Hokies to score their first one-run win of the season in eight tries. The Seminoles, meanwhile, dipped to 3-6 in one-run games.
FSU left the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings and stranded two more in the sixth after finally chasing Mantiply (4-5) from the game. The Seminoles put the leadoff batter in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings but managed their lone run when Rafael Lopez turned a 12-pitch at-bat into an RBI walk with the bases loaded in the fifth.
In addition to his pivotal third inning hit, Atwell secured his first save of the season, allowing two hits over the final 2.2 innings.
The Seminoles will send junior Mack Waugh to the mound in Saturday’s game, which has been moved to a 7 p.m. start due to the threat of severe weather during the day.