May 29, 2004
SALEM, Va. – Eddy Martinez-Esteve hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth inning and No. 19 Florida State (41-20) forced another game in the ACC tournament with an 8-7 victory against No. 5 Georgia Tech (41-17) on Saturday night. The loss ended Georgia Tech’s winning streak at 20 games. The two teams will meet again on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the deciding game of the ACC Championship.
Martinez-Esteve’s 18th home run came in a four-run eighth for Florida State, which also beat North Carolina 8-7 in 11 innings to get to the championship round. Because the top-seeded Yellow Jackets were unbeaten, the Seminoles need another victory to dethrone the defending champions.
The rally in the eighth, which also included a run-scoring double by Bryan Zech and an RBI single by Stephen Drew in front of the home run, capped the Seminoles’ rally from a 6-1 deficit after four innings. It also completed a remarkable recovery for Martinez-Esteve, Zech and pitchers Tyler Chambliss and Kevin Lynch, who were suspended for the game against the Tar Heels after missing their curfew the previous night.
Chambliss went six innings, allowing six runs but keeping the Seminoles in the game and out of their weary bullpen while Kevin Lynch (4-4) worked the last three innings, allowing only two hits. One of them was Steven Blackwood’s two-out solo home run in the ninth, but Lynch got Brandon Boggs to fly to center to finish the victory.
The Seminoles’ comeback started in the fifth. A walk, singles by Drew, Martinez-Esteve and Aaron Cheesman and a sacrifice fly by Ryne Malone made it 6-3, and a double by Cheesman and Matt Sauls’ single in the seventh pulled Florida State to 6-4.
When Chambliss and Lynch shut the door on the Yellow Jackets (41-18), the Seminoles kept coming, forcing the improbable deciding game.
Florida State had already played a 3?-hour game against North Carolina, winning in the bottom of the 11th, when the game got started, and the Seminoles looked worn out, especially in the second inning.
With runners on first and second and a run already in, Tyler Chambliss caught Eric Patterson off first, then ran toward him between first and second. When Patterson made his move toward second, Chambliss threw the ball over the head of second baseman Bryan Zech and into right-center. That allowed Mike Trapani to score, and when Patterson headed for third, the throw from the outfield skipped by third baseman Dennis Anderson, who also slipped picking it up as Patterson also scored. That gave the Yellow Jackets a 4-1 lead, and they made it 6-1 in the fourth when Mike Nickeas homered to left, his sixth home run of the season.
The Seminoles and Yellowjackets will meet again on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the ACC Championship.