April 11, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 25 Florida State (20-11, 8-7 ACC) fell to second-ranked North Carolina (27-8, 10-6 ACC) 12-7 Saturday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium as the Tar Heels evened the season series at a game apiece. The Seminoles made another attempt at a come-from-behind victory in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as the Tar Heels held on for the victory.
Down nine heading into the ninth, the Seminoles registered four consecutive hits including three straight singles from Stephen Cardullo, Stuart Tapley and Jason Stidham. Stidham’s single through the right side plated Cardullo for the first run in the ninth, while Mike McGee followed with an RBI double to left. Tommy Oravetz made the score 12-6 sending a sacrifice fly to left plating Stidham. Mike Meschke then laced an RBI double to the gap in right center that cut the deficit to five. After a walk to Parker Brunelle, the Seminole loaded the bases two batters later on a single to left by Tyler Holt. The rally would finally come to an end as UNC’s Matt Harvey got Cardullo to pop up to Kyle Seager at third for the final out of the game.
“Well, I was very pleased with the fight in the ninth inning,” said head coach Mike Martin. “There is no quit to us. We went out there and got four runs…it was good display of fight. You have to be proud of that, but there is no question that North Carolina is a very good baseball team.”
Despite getting runners on base, the Seminoles had trouble manufacturing base hits until the ninth when the Seminoles pounded out six. FSU finished the game with 10 hits, while leaving 13 runners stranded.
“That was a ball game, that no question, North Carolina deserved to win,” added Martin. “They got the big hits when they needed them. You really got to take your hat off to them. We had a chance in the first inning to break the game open, but then (Adam) Warren literally went through us for six innings.”
Game two got off to a promising start as the Seminoles matched their total run output from game one in the first inning scoring three off North Carolina starter Adam Warren (4-2). But Warren settled down after the rocky first allowing just one hit over the next 5.1 innings. The only other hit came off the bat of McGee as the sophomore left hander found an opening through the left side of the infield in the fifth.
The Tar Heel right hander faced no more than five batters from the second inning until departing with one out in the sixth. He kept the Seminoles hitters off balanced during that stretch striking out five.
Six of the first seven batters to the plate in the first inning reached as the Seminoles recorded three hits, drew a pair of walks and reached on a Tar Heel fielding error. Holt got things started drawing a four pitch walk and moved to third as Cardullo laced a double to the gap in right center for his eighth double of the season. The hit by Cardullo extended his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games.
Following a visit to the mound by the UNC coaching staff, Tapley stepped in and ripped a base hit to center scoring Holt and Cardullo. Jack Posey knocked in the final run of the inning driving in Tapley on a groundball to third that Seager could not field cleanly.
The Tar Heels cut the deficit to one on consecutive RBI groundouts in the third. Mike Cavasinni led off the top of the inning with a walk and moved to third on a double off the fence in right by Jacob Stallings. The runners would cross the plate on back-to-back RBI groundouts to second by Ben Bunting and Dustin Ackley.
North Carolina tied the game in the fourth on a sacrifice fly to right by Cavasinni. With runners on the corners after two straight singles by Mark Fluery and Ryan Graepel, Cavasinni lifted a fly ball to right deep enough to score Fluery as the Tar Heels drew even at 3-3.
UNC scored for the third straight inning putting up four runs in the top of the fifth to take a 7-3 lead. Garrett Gore dropped in an RBI single to short right center with the bases loaded to start the scoring for the Tar Heels. Fluery gave North Carolina a two-run advantage sending a sacrifice fly to center scoring Seager. The biggest hit of the inning came off the bat of Graepel as the Tar Heel shortstop ripped a two-out, two-run double off the wall in left to give UNC a four run lead.
Brian Busch’s afternoon would come to close after the fifth as the Seminole starter was charged with a season-high seven runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out three as the freshman southpaw dropped to 1-2 on the year.
The Seminoles put a pair of runners on in the seventh but could not cut into the UNC lead. Colin Bates relieved Warren with one out in the inning and after hitting Tapley on the shoulder got a pair of fly outs to close out the Seminole seventh.
North Carolina plated another run in the eighth to increase its lead to 8-3. Ackley brought home Cavasinni, who reached on a bloop single to center off Tyler Everett, on an infield single to third. After Stallings reached on a base hit, the Seminoles went to the bullpen for the third time on Saturday bringing on Mark Peterson. The lefty from Ft. Pierce, Fla., sandwiched the hit by Ackley with a pair of strikeouts.
The Tar Heels added some much needed insurance in the ninth scoring four runs to take a 12-3 lead. Three Seminole pitchers including Hunter Scantling, Ben Francis and Ryan Vigue each pitched 0.1 of an inning.
John Gast made his 12th appearance of the season in the sixth and faced just four batters. He did not allow a run while giving up just one hit.
Florida State and North Carolina will square-off in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday, April 12 with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The game will air live over the internet on ACC Select. Fans can listen to the action locally on 100.7 FM and over the internet on www.seminoles.com. Live stats will also be available via gametracker.