May 4, 2008
Clemson, S.C. – Third-ranked Florida State (38-7, 20-5 ACC) scored all nine of its runs in the final three innings including four in the tenth to cap off a 9-8 victory over Clemson (24-21-1, 10-14-1) Saturday evening in game one of a three game set. The win snapped a four-game losing streak to the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore Field as it was the first FSU win at Clemson since May 2, 2004.
Florida State moved to 11-2 in one-run games and 4-1 in extra innings. Eleven of the 13 one-run games have occurred against ACC teams while four have resulted in walk-off victories.
“It was a great win, a great win,” said head coach Mike Martin. “D.J. Mitchell was just cruising, he pitched a great game. But we kept fighting, kept our poise and got it done. It was a good win for us.”
After being held scoreless on just four hits through the first seven innings, Florida State erupted for nine runs on 11 hits in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings. The first four Seminoles to come to the plate in the tenth recorded a hit including an RBI double off the wall to dead center by Dennis Guinn and an RBI single by Tony Delmonico. Jack Rye led off the inning singling to left center and came all the way around to score on Guinn’s 15th two-bagger of the season.
Delmonico would score the third run of the inning on a strikeout, throw out at second. A single by pinch hitter Ohmed Danesh moved Delmonico to third and after a strikeout by Mike McGee, Danesh was thrown out trying to steal second. Delmonico came charging home on the play and just slid safely ahead of the tag. With two outs, Stuart Tapley drew a four pitch walk and advanced 90 feet on a base hit by Tyler Holt. The eventual game-winning run came a play later as Jason Stidham lofted a pop up to Matt Sanders at third. The Tiger third baseman couldn’t handle the ball as it tipped off his glove allowing Tapley to score from second making the score 9-5.
Tapley finished the game reaching base on all five plate appearances. He was a perfect 2-for-2 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. He scored three times and drove in a run. Rye was 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, while Holt and Stidham each collected a pair of hits.
The Tigers would not go quietly scoring three more runs in the bottom of the tenth on a homer by Kyle Parker to make it a one-run ball game. The Seminoles went to the pen and brought on Buster Posey for his first relief appearance since April 2. The junior right hander gave up a double to Ben Paulsen but settled down getting Doug Hogan looking on strikes for out number two. After Wilson Boyd drew a walk, Posey got Stan Widmann to line out to Tapley at third for the final out and his fifth save of the season.
“That’s the great thing about this team,” said Guinn on the Seminoles registering the come-from-behind victory Saturday night. “We play to the ninth inning just like the other night against Stetson when we were down 3-1 and Mike McGee comes through with a big knock. But credit Clemson they fought all night long. D.J. Mitchell threw the ball real well and we just never gave up.”
Ryan Strauss (7-0) earned the win as the senior right hander gave up five runs on five hits with two walks. All five runs scored by the Tigers came courtesy of the long ball on a two-run shot in the ninth and a three-run homer in the tenth.
Clemson threatened in the bottom of the second after Hogan led off the inning with a walk and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Boyd. With one out, Widmann stood in the box and laced a hard hit ball to left but Mike McGee made an outstanding diving catch to save a run and keep the game scoreless.
The Tigers struck first in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by J.D. Burgess to take a 1-0 lead. FSU starter Matt Fairel was on his way for his first 1-2-3 inning of the game, but the Winter Haven, Fla., native plunked Widmann with a 2-1 offering. Clemson would register its first hit of the game off Fairel on a single to left by Sanders. One batter later, Burgess laced a single to left center scoring Widmann for the one-run lead.
Clemson pushed its lead to 2-0 on a solo home run by Boyd to leadoff the bottom of the sixth. The Tiger center fielder deposited a 1-1 offering from Fairel over the fence in right center for his eighth round tripper of the season. It was just the third home run given up by Fairel in 11 starts this year.
Clemson added to its lead in the seventh on an RBI triple by Hogan. The Tiger catcher took an inside pitch from Fairel and went opposite field hitting the ball just inside the right field foul line for his second triple of the season. Kyle Parker, who drew a walk in the inning, scored on the play to give Clemson a 3-0 lead.
The Seminoles managed just four hits off Tiger starter D.J. Mitchell through the first seven innings before finally generating some offense in the eighth. Tapley started the rally as he was hit on the arm on the first pitch he saw from the junior right hander. Holt followed with a single through the left side of the infield to extend his streak of reaching base to all 45 games. Stidham then stepped in and laced a double to left center scoring Tapley and Holt to cut the deficit to one.
Mitchell’s night would come to close after the hit by Stidham as the Tigers brought on lefty Ryan Hinson. Hinson gave up a single to center to Buster Posey as the Seminole catcher advanced to second on the play as the throw from the outfield went to the plate. After a strikeout to Rye, the Tigers went to the bullpen once again brining on closer Matt Vaughn.
With Dennis Guinn at the plate, Vaughn unleashed a wild pitch scoring Stidham to tie the game at three.
Mitchell finished the evening going seven plus innings allowing three runs on six hits. He struck out six and walked three in earning a no decision.
Fairel’s night came to a close after seven innings of work as the sophomore southpaw also gave up three runs on six hits. He struck out seven and issued a career-high five walks in the no decision.
Jimmy Marshall pitched a scoreless eighth as he registered a walk and a strikeout on 16 pitches.
FSU grabbed its first lead of the game in the ninth on a pair of RBI singles by Tapley and Stidham. As was the case against Stetson on Wednesday night, Tommy Oravetz got things started with a single up the middle. Luke Smierciak came on as a pinch runner for Oravetz and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by McGee. Tapley gave the Seminoles their first lead ripping an RBI single to center plating Smierciak. After a groundout by Holt advanced Tapley to second, the freshman third baseman scored a batter later on a sharp single to center by Stidham to give FSU a 5-3 lead.
The lead was short lived as Clemson roared back in the bottom half of the ninth to tie the game with a two-out two-run home run by Hogan. Strauss came in looking for his fifth save of the season but Hogan had other ideas blasting a pitch out of the park to left for his 11th homer of the season. It was the first blown save by the Seminole bullpen this year in 12 opportunities.
Florida State and Clemson will return to the diamond on Sunday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. Fans can watch the game live on CSS while gametracker will be available for the contest. The game can also be heard live over the radio on 100.7 FM with Tom Block providing all the play-by-play action.