Feb. 26, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior transfer Mike Meschke registered the biggest hit of his young Seminole career with a bases loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to lead fifth-ranked Florida State (5-0) to an 8-7 victory over Auburn (2-3) Thursday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The win kept the Seminoles perfect on the season while extending their win streak against the Tigers to six games.
The Seminoles led by as many as four runs entering the seventh inning before a pair of home runs by Auburn third baseman Joseph Sanders tied the game at seven apiece. Senior Jimmy Marshall (1-0) earned his first victory of the season as he pitched a perfect ninth striking out the side.
“Well, that is one heck of a start to a four-game series,” said head coach Mike Martin. “Auburn is a team that is well respected. We had a great crowd here tonight and it was a heck of a ball game.”
Tyler Holt and Stuart Tapley led the offensive attack for the Seminoles in game one as both player’s registered two hits and two RBI. Ohmed Danesh also finished the game with two hits, while Jason Stidham reached base on all five plate appearances recording four walks and a base hit which began the rally in the bottom of the ninth.
After the Tigers came roaring back to tie the game thanks to a solo shot by Sanders in the seventh and then a three-run blast down the right field line in the eighth, the Seminoles spoiled the Tigers attempt for a come-from-behind victory in the bottom of the ninth.
Stidham, who earned every one of his at-bats on Thursday night working the Auburn pitchers deep in the count, led off the ninth with a sharp single to left center off Tiger reliever Bradley Hendrix (0-2). He advanced to second on a single by Tapley, who chopped a base hit over the head of Sanders at third. After a sacrifice bunt by Stephen Cardullo moved the runners up 90 feet, the Tigers intentionally walked Danesh to load the bases for Meschke. The Marietta, Ga., native got ahead in the count early as Hendrix stared in at a 3-1 count. Meschke fouled off back-to-back pitches before lacing a single to left center for the game-winner.
“When the inning started, Coach Martin told me that he left me in the game because he knew I was going to have a chance to win it,” Meschke said. “I didn’t look at this as a pressure thing. I figured if a guy (Coach Martin) like that has confidence in you, you might as well have confidence in yourself. I knew I was going to get a good pitch. I tried to work the count and get deep. I wanted to get something up in the air to get the run home from third. I just got a pitch and drove it. I really don’t remember the pitch I saw, I figured it was some where over the middle. I hit a good line drive, got the barrel to it and once I hit it I knew we had won the ball game.”
“Michael had a great at-bat” added Martin. “The pitcher, you need to take your hat off to him, he was making close pitches. They were balls, but he was trying to get a groundball. Mike did a good job of leaving those pitches alone until he got into a hitter’s count. He did an outstanding job of getting it done for us tonight.”
The walk-off victory was the first since Florida State posted back-to-back 3-2 extra inning wins over Virginia at Dick Howser Stadium on April 6, 2008. Jack Rye provided the heroics on that day connecting on an RBI single in the second game of a doubleheader.
Florida State ran out to an early 3-0 lead taking advantage of a pair of Tiger errors in the bottom of the second. Cardullo recorded the first run of the game scoring on a throwing error by Auburn shortstop Casey McElroy, whose throw to first on an attempted double play sailed high. The error prolonged the inning for Holt who crushed a Ty Kelley offering to deep center field. The sophomore center fielder cruised in to third for a standup triple, but continued on to the plate after Mummey’s throw from the outfield over shot the cut off man. Rafael Lopez, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored on the triple by Holt.
Auburn came right back with two runs in the top of third to cut the Seminole lead to 3-2. FSU starter Geoff Parker got into some trouble as the first four Tiger batters to come to the plate reached courtesy of two hit-by-pitches, a single and a walk. Parker was able to work out of the jam as he got Kevin Patterson to groundout into an inning ending double play.
The sophomore right hander settled down in the fourth getting the Tigers in order on just five pitches. But Parker was unable to escape the fifth as he faced control problems giving up a leadoff single to Mummey, an intentional walk and two more hit by pitches. After hitting Fletcher with a pitch to bring Mummey across for the tying run, Martin went to the bullpen and called on freshman Brian Busch.
Busch, working in his fourth game of the season, got Patterson looking on strikes and then a groundout to first by McElroy to keep the game tied at three. The freshman southpaw has now entered a game with the bases loaded three times this year. He has inherited nine runners so far this season allowing just two to score.
The Seminoles regained the lead in the fifth on a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Tapley scoring Tommy Oravetz and Stidham.
Florida State added two more in the sixth to extend its lead to 7-3. Meschke recorded a one out walk and moved to second on a single through the right side by Lopez. Holt picked up his second RBI of the evening singling through the left side to score Meschke. But Auburn left fielder Brian Fletcher misplayed the grounder allowing Lopez to score all the way from first.
Parker finished the game working 4.1 innings allowing three runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out four. Busch worked a career-high 3.2 innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on four hits. The home run by Sanders in the seventh was the first run and first hit he had allowed this year.
Florida State returns to the diamond on Friday, February 27 for the second of four games against the Auburn Tigers. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ACC Select. Fans can also listen to all the live action over the radio on 1270 the Team. Live stats for the game will be available via gametracker on www.seminoles.com.