June 16, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. – Florida State scored three runs and had the go-ahead run on base in the top of the ninth but came up just a little short falling to Miami, 7-5 in an elimination game at the College World Series inside Rosenblatt Stadium. The Seminoles sent nine batters to the plate and scored three times against Hurricane closer Carlos Gutierrez in the ninth inning before making the final out which ended their season. The Seminoles out hit the Hurricanes 18-11 and did not commit an error during the game.
Florida State finished its season with a 54-14 record making the College World Series for the 19th time in school history.
“If you had told me before we started the game that we were going to get 18 hits and not make an error I would have certainly taken my chances,” said Head Coach Mike Martin. “But you got to really credit Miami. They did an excellent job of pitching; they played an outstanding game and deserved to win.
“I am just so proud of all of our guys for the way that we competed,” continued Martin. “It was truly one of the best years of my career to be involved with guys – these three – and certainly the other seniors on the team that competed so well and hard all year long.”
Florida State scored the first run of the game to take a 1-0 led in the top half of the first inning. Senior first baseman Dennis Guinn sliced a double down the left field line to score All-America catcher Buster Posey who singled for the first hit of the game. The Seminoles run came with two outs in the inning.
Hurricane starter David Gutierrez was taken out of the game in the top of the second after he was hit on his right (pitching) arm on a ball hit back to the mound by Seminole designated hitter Tommy Oravetz. Gutierrez threw a couple of pitches from the mound after he was hit but was taken out of the game and replaced with Eric Erickson after one plus innings of work.
Erickson allowed only one run (earned) in 5.0 innings pitched to earn the victory. He allowed eight hits and struck out two in improving his record to 9-1.
Miami took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run by Hurricane second baseman Jemile Weeks – his second in two games in the CWS and his 13th of the season. His home run scored catcher Yasmani Grandal who had walked to lead off the inning. The home run was Weeks’ second of the season in four games against Florida State. The Hurricanes added to their lead on a two-run single by right fielder Dennis Raben to make the score 4-1 after three complete innings of play.
The Seminoles got a run back in the fourth inning on an RBI double to left field by Posey to score left fielder Mike McGee from first base. The double was Posey’s team-leading and career-high tying 21st double of the season; he also had 21 doubles as a sophomore in 2007.
Miami increased its lead to 6-2 on a run scoring single by designated hitter Jason Hagerty in the bottom of the seventh. His single to right field scored third baseman Mark Sobolewski and shortstop Ryan Jackson who had both reached base with singles.
Miami centerfielder Blake Tekotte closed out the Hurricanes’ scoring with a home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. He deposited Seminole reliever Geoff Parker’s second offering high into the right field bleachers. His home run increased Miami’s lead to 7-2.
Florida State starting pitcher Elih Villanueva suffered the loss to move his record to 7-4. He lasted three and two-thirds innings and allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits. A trio of Seminole relievers (Ryan Strauss, John Gast and Geoff Parker) limited the Hurricanes to three runs (all earned) on five hits over the final four innings of the game.
The Seminoles made the game very interesting in the top of the ninth. They entered the inning trailing 7-2, scored three runs to pull within 7-5 and had the bases loaded with two outs before senior right fielder Jack Rye grounded into a fielders’ choice to end the game and Florida State’s season. Florida State scored its first run on an infield ground out by third baseman Stuart Tapley (which scored Guinn), a single by centerfielder Tyler Holt (which scored shortstop Tony Delmonico) and a single by second baseman Jason Stidham (which scored left fielder Ohmed Danesh). Posey then walked to load the bases before Miami reliever Carlos Gutierrez got Rye on the infield ground out to end the game.
“It (the ninth inning) was a display that we had seen on more than one opportunity,” said Martin. “The way out guys just kept battling and battling and having excellent at bats goes to show you what kind of a team we were because of Buster’s at bat. If I’m not mistaken D.G. (Dennis Guinn) was involved in that inning with a base hit and it goes back around all the way to Buster. Buster just really showed what he is all about. Somebody else might have tried to be the hero and swing at something out of the zone but he turned it over to the next guy. The next guy (Rye) hit the ball hard all day long and had one hit to show for it. That ball that Jemile fielded there at the end was not a routine play. He made a nice play to force out the guy at second. It was truly amazing when you are facing a No. 1 draft choice and we get three runs and had the bases loaded. It’s just a credit to our young men.”
The loss closed Posey’s incredible career as one of the most decorated baseball players in Florida State history. He had four hits in five at bats in his final game and closed his career with a school record .463 batting average. Posey also finished with the second highest slugging percentage (.879) and the seventh highest home run total (26) in a single season in school history.
“I’m obviously a little bit disappointed but at the same time it’s been mine and Dennis’s and Tommy’s goal to get here,” said Posey. “Making it here is a great accomplishment; we just didn’t get too many breaks these past couple of games but each guy fought until the last out.”