Feb. 23, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – The fans may have had to wait an extra day for opening day baseball at Dick Howser Stadium but it was well worth it as Florida State belted out 14 hits including six home runs en route to a 14-3 victory over Duquesne in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday. Jason Stidham and Tony Delmonico each recorded three hits as the Seminoles improved their all-time mark to 53-7-1 on opening day.
Six different Seminoles hit a home run in the first game of the season while eight of the 14 hits went for extra bases. The last time FSU hit six home runs in a game came last season in College Park, Md., in a 9-3 Florida State victory over Maryland. In that game, Tony Thomas, Jr., Mark Gildea, Ruairi O’Connor and Brandon Reichert all hit solo shots while Travis Anderson hit a pair.
Delmonico had a perfect afternoon in game one going 3-for-3 with a home run, double, single and a walk. The junior transfer from Tennessee added three runs and drove in three in his first game of the season. Stidham also registered three hits and scored three runs in his first game as the Seminoles starting second baseman. Tyler Holt and Mike McGee each posted a pair of hits in their first game donning the Garnet and Gold. Dennis Guinn rounded out the Seminole offensive production with a home run and four RBIs.
FSU starting pitcher Elih Villanueva (1-0) picked up the victory in his Seminole debut as the junior right hander went five strong innings allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits. The Miami, Fla., native walked two and struck out five.
“It was a good first outing,” said Villanueva. “Anytime you go out there and not really have your best stuff, it’s always nice to be able to work through those situations and come out with a victory.”
“That was a great way to start the season,” added head coach Mike Martin. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would hit six home runs, but it certainly provided a huge lift. I thought Elih showed good poise getting himself out of tough situations. I was very pleased with the outing he provided us this afternoon.”
Duquesne looked to threaten in its very first at-bat of the season off Villanueva. The Dukes loaded the bases with one out courtesy of a walk, hit by pitch and an Aaron Janusey single. But Villanueva got out of the jam inducing an inning ending double play by designated hitter Mark Tracy.
The Seminoles struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first thanks to Delmonico’s two-run double. The transfer from Tennessee took the first pitch he saw from Duquesne starter Gary Pierpont (0-1) and drilled it down the left field line plating Holt and Buster Posey to give Florida State an early 2-0 lead. The double extended Delmonico’s hit streak to a career-high 13 games. Holt got things started for the Seminoles registering an infield single in his first collegiate at-bat. The freshman from Gainesville, Fla., hit a sharp groundball deep in the hole at third and easily beat out the throw from Anthony Manley. With one out, Posey followed with another sharp grounder to Manley who sailed a throw over the head of Janusey at first. Both runners would come around to score on Delmonico’s two-RBI double.
The Dukes tied the game with two runs in the top of the fourth. The first three batters to come to plate reached as Janusey led off the inning with his second hit of the ball game lacing a single to right field. Eric Morrison followed with his second straight hit by pitch while Tracy drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Bill Torre brought across the first run for Duquesne registering a sacrifice fly RBI to score Janusey. Morrison moved to third on the fly out and scored on an errant throw by Posey, who threw high to second base in attempt to throw out Tracy running from first. Villanueva settled down getting a strikeout and a fly out to keep the game tied at two.
Florida State answered with a run in the bottom half of the fourth to retake the lead. Delmonico led off the inning with his second hit in as many at-bats lacing a single to left. He advanced all the way to third on a balk and a wild pitch and would score on an RBI groundout by Guinn.
The Seminoles increased their lead to 6-2 on solo home runs by Holt, Stidham and Delmonico. Holt recorded his first collegiate home run taking Pierpont’s offering over the wall in deep center field. Stidham followed with a towering shot over the fence in right for his first home run of the season and seventh career round tripper. Holt and Stidham went back-to-back for the Seminoles for the first time since April 27, 2007 when Tony Thomas, Jr. and Mark Hallberg performed the feat in the ninth inning against Miami. With two outs, Delmonico remained perfect at the plate hitting a line drive just inside the left field foul pole for his first home run of the season. The last time FSU hit three home runs in an inning was April 6, 2005 when Thomas, Jr., Bryan Henry and Ryne Malone went yard against Jacksonville.
The Garnet and Gold batted around in the sixth posting six runs to widen the Seminole margin. The inning was highlighted with two more home runs this time off the bats of right fielder Ruairi O’Connor and Guinn. After Stuart Tapley recorded his first collegiate base hit with a single to left, O’Connor blasted a shot off the scoreboard for his fourth career dinger. Following a Holt walk and Stidham double, Posey brought home Holt on an RBI groundout to second. Delmonico drew a walk and came around to score on Guinn’s three-run homer.
Duquesne would add a run in the seventh on an RBI double by Manley to make the score 12-3. But the Seminoles answered right back as Parker Brunelle hit a blast over the fence in right center for his first collegiate hit. The home run ended the game in the seventh as the game was called due to a 10-run rule that was put into effect because of the doubleheader.
A pair of Tallahassee natives saw action on the mound in game one as Jimmy Marshall and Tyler Everett each pitched an inning in relief. Marshall did not allow a hit as he walked one and fanned a batter. Everett gave up one run on a hit as he faced six batters.