Feb. 9, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State pounded out 18 hits and scored in double figures for the second straight game as the Seminoles (4-0) remained unbeaten on the season with a 17-8 win over UNC Asheville (0-1) on Friday evening. Buster Posey, Dennis Guinn and Ruairi O’Connor each drove in three runs as the Seminoles defeated the Bulldogs for the sixth straight time, running their all-time record to 15-1 against UNC Asheville.
The top of the Seminole batting order was the story once again as Mark Hallberg, Tony Thomas and Posey combined for nine runs, six hits, four RBIs and four walks to pace the offensive charge. All nine players in the starting line-up got a hit including six hitters with multiple base hits.
“As a team, we are finding our pitches to hit,” said Thomas. “We’re not pressing, we’re not stressing, we’re just playing Florida State baseball. We are going out there attacking the ball and being aggressive. That mentality is really helping us out a lot at the plate.”
The Seminoles were also perfect in the field for the fourth straight game as FSU’s errorless streak extended to 36 straight innings. The last time Florida State did not commit an error in four straight ball games dates back to the 2002 season. That year the Seminoles played flawless defense in the final two games of the series against Georgia Tech (April 20 & 21) and the first two games of a three-game set against NC State (April 26 & 27).
“No errors are very important,” stated Thomas. “If you play solid defense you put yourself in a position to win the ball game. Even though our offense is tearing it up right now, we need to continue what we are doing on the defensive side, if we can do that I really think we can go out there and win every game.”
FSU got on the board quickly with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead. Hallberg led off with a walk followed by Thomas’ fourth double of the season. Posey was credited with an RBI as he reached base safely on an error by the Bulldog third baseman scoring Hallberg on the play. Thomas would later score from third as Posey was thrown out attempting to steal second.
The lead was short lived as UNC Asheville tied the game at two in the top half of the second. The Bulldogs registered three straight hits including a leadoff double by Rob Vernon and back-to-back singles by Kyle Smith and Edmond Locklear. Locklear’s single to right plated Vernon, while a groundout by catcher John Whited drove in Smith. With a runner on third and two outs, Florida State’s Jack Rye made a diving catch in right field on a sinking liner by Steve Burnich to end the inning.
FSU would regain the lead in the bottom of the third as Thomas led off the inning with a single up the middle. Thomas, now 10-for-16 on the season, has four doubles and four walks. After back-to-back walks by Posey and Rye, left fielder Dennis Guinn would drive in a pair dropping a looper down the line in right. Rye would score on the play as the throw from right field ricocheted off the umpire allowing enough time for Rye to cross the plate for a 5-2 FSU lead.
UNC Asheville would take the lead back the very next inning scoring four runs off Seminole starter Bryan Henry. Vernon led off the inning with a solo shot to left. Smith and Locklear once again registered back-to-back singles and after Henry got Bulldog shortstop Matt Henson to strikeout, Whited walked to load the bases. Burnich record his first RBI of the season as he drew a bases loaded walk. Leadoff batter Kevin Mattison got his first hit of the ball game as he smashed a single to right driving in two and giving the Bulldogs a 6-5 advantage.
Florida State would regain the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth as the Seminoles scored seven runs on six hits to take a 12-6 lead. Rye got the go-ahead hit with a two-run single to right center scoring Hallberg and Thomas. Guinn posted his third RBI of the evening lining a single up the middle scoring Posey from third. Jason Stidham and Ruairi O’Connor each recorded an RBI in the inning for the Seminoles.
Stidham finished the evening 2-for-6 with two doubles, while O’Connor was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.
In the top of the fifth, Florida State went to the bullpen as junior Danny Rosen made his first appearance for the Seminoles. The right hander pitched two scoreless innings in relief giving up just one hit while striking out five. He struck out the side in the top of the fifth in earning the victory.
“I felt pretty good tonight,” said Rosen. “I came in there, gave up a hit and then struck out the side in the fifth. Overall, I felt I did alright.”
Matt Fairel made his second relief appearance of the season working a scoreless seventh. Jimmy Marshall pitched an inning and struck out the side in the eighth, while Brian Chambers closed out the game in the ninth giving up a two runs, one earned, on two hits while striking out one. Henry, the Seminoles starter in game one, pitched four innings allowing six runs on seven hits while striking out five.
The 17 runs scored by Florida State on Friday evening were the most scored in 16 career games against UNC Asheville. The Seminoles and Bulldogs return to the diamond for the second game of the series on Saturday at 1:00 pm at Dick Howser Stadium. FSU is expected to send senior right hander Michael Hyde to the mound, while the Bulldogs will throw junior righty Graham Baughn. 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.