March 31, 2007
Durham, N.C. – Duke (20-10, 2-9) scored six runs in the bottom of the second and held on to hand top ranked Florida State (28-2, 7-1) its first loss of the season in ACC play. FSU has hurt opponents all season long with its ability to score two-out runs, but Saturday the Blue Devils gave the Seminoles a taste of their own medicine as Duke tallied seven of its eight runs on two outs in game two. FSU hit three home runs for the second straight game, all solo shots, including Tony Thomas, Jr.’s third home run of the series in the top of the third.
Blue Devil starter and Tallahassee native Tony Bajoczky (5-2) kept the Seminoles at bay over 6.2 innings as he gave up four runs on six hits. The senior right hander struck out four and walked three to earn his second ACC victory of the season.
“You have to credit Tony Bajoczky, he did a great job of throwing four pitches and keeping us off balanced,” said head coach Mike Martin. “It was a great game and there was no question that Duke University deserved to win.”
Alex Hassan and Brett Bartles provided the offensive production for Duke as Hassan drove in three RBI’s, while Bartles hit two triples and scored twice.
Florida State got on the board early once again with a run in the top of the first. Thomas led off the game with his 17th double of the season down the line in right. He would move to second on a perfectly placed bunt down the third baseline by Mark Hallberg, who beat the throw out for an infield single. The Seminoles’ RBI leader in Buster Posey stepped to the plate and registered his fourth sacrifice fly of the season plating Thomas to give FSU a one-run lead.
Duke took the lead after two innings thanks to a six-run second. Five of the six runs came on two outs as the Blue Devils chased FSU starter Michael Hyde (8-1) after 1.2 innings for his shortest outing of the season. Duke tagged the senior right hander for six runs on six hits including two doubles and a triple. Bo O’Dell entered the game and got Brett Bartles swinging on strikes to end the inning. The five run lead for the Blue Devils marked the largest deficit faced by the Seminoles all season long.
Thomas would cut into the Duke lead in the third as he hit a solo shot for his third home run of the series. The junior second baseman took a hanging curveball by Bajoczky and sent it into the trees in left for his fifth round tripper of the season.
Florida State threatened in the fourth but could only manage one run as they loaded the bases with no outs. Jack Rye started the inning with a double to right center followed by back-to-back walks to Dennis Guinn and Jason Stidham. With one out in the inning, Richardson drew a bases loaded walk scoring Rye to cut Duke’s lead to 6-3.
“We had a big opportunity with the bases loaded and no body out in the fourth,” stated Martin. “We only got one run out of it and that can have a way of coming back to haunt you. When we had that opportunity and only got one, you always look back to that situation and wonder what if we could have gotten two or maybe three, but that is something that you have to credit them with.”
Richardson registered his second RBI of the game in the seventh as he led off the inning with a solo shot to deep center field to cut the Blue Devil lead down to two. Richardson took the first offering he saw from Bajoczky and hammered the hanging breaking ball for his second home run of the year.
Duke would add two more runs in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by catcher Matt Williams and a single by Hassan. Bartles started the inning hitting his second triple of the game. Richardson made a valiant diving effort on the ball, but it fell in just beyond the out stretched glove of the freshman centerfielder. Williams would make the score 7-4 as he drove Bartles in on a fly out to right field.
The triple would end the afternoon for Seminole hurler Bo O’Dell, who pitched well in relief of Hyde as he entered the game in the bottom of the second. O’Dell threw 5.1 innings allowing just one run on three hits. He set down the first eight batters he faced and 16 of 18 batters before giving up the triple to Bartles to start the eighth.
Duke made the score 8-4 in the eighth on an RBI single by Hassan.
Tommy Oravetz would get the Seminoles off to a good start in the ninth as he hit his first collegiate home run over the fence in right center. But that was all the Seminoles could muster as Duke’s Michael Seander got the final three outs on a pair of groundouts and a strike out to give the Blue Devils the 8-5 victory.
Game three of the series will take place at 12:00 pm at Jack Coombs Field on the campus of Duke University. Florida State will throw right hander Ryan Strauss on Sunday, who leads the ACC in ERA at 1.57. The game will be shown live on Sun Sports at 12 noon. Fans can follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM.