June 3, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – Army sophomore Nick Hill pitched a two-hit gem in the second game of the 2005 NCAA Tallahassee Regional but three Black Knight errors were the difference as No. 10 Florida State came from behind on two occasions to defeat the Black Knights 3-2 on Friday (June 3) at Florida State’s Dick Howser Stadium in front of 6,025 fans.
“First, I’d like to compliment Florida State,” said Army Head Coach Joe Sottolano. “They took advantage of every mistake we made. One of the things we pride ourselves in is good defense and if you look at our stats and what we’ve done – we have a .966 fielding percentage – it’s been there. Whenever we made a mistake, they took advantage of it. They’re a well-coached team. They played a good ball game.”
“I’m not pleased with it (his pitching performance),” said Army’s Hick Hill. “We didn’t come out on top. One of our goals coming in was to keep them off base. Walking five or six people is not what I wanted to do but I mean give them the credit. They made something of it. If I was able to come through on a couple more pitches maybe the outcome would have come out a little bit different.”
The victory improved Florida State’s record to 51-18 on the year, while Army dropped to 38-13. Up next for the Seminoles is a 7 p.m. contest on Saturday against Auburn, who beat South Alabama 13-5 in the first game of the regional. The game will be broadcast by Sun Sports. Army and South Alabama will meet at 1 p.m. in an elimination contest.
“We were very fortunate to win that one,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “Certainly a lot of credit goes to Army for the way they played. It was a game where we scratched and clawed. We played very well defensively and what can you say about the job (Michael) Hyde, (Kevin) Lynch and (Tyler) Chambliss did. They gave us a big lift.”
Florida State reliever Kevin Lynch improved his record to a perfect 11-0 as he tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Seminole starter Michael Hyde. FSU closer Tyler Chambliss moved into a tie for the national lead as he pitched a spotless ninth inning to pick up his 15th save. Hill’s ledger fell to 10-2 in eight innings of work, as he gave up just three runs, two earned, on two hits.
The Black Knights got out to an early lead in the top of the first against Hyde. Nate Stone sent a two-out single through the right side of the infield scoring Tampa, FL native Milan Dinga who reached on an infield single. Hyde went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits.
Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year Shane Robinson started the bottom of the first by drawing a walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. He then went to third on a fly out and scored on a passed ball making it a 1-1 game.
Army came right back and took the lead in the second thanks to Cole White’s 10th home run of the year. Once again the lead didn’t last long as the Seminoles evened the game in the bottom of the inning. Danny Wardell drew a walk, was sacrificed to second and then scored on FSU’s first hit of the game as Brant Peacher singled past first base scoring Wardell.
Hill responded by retiring the next 12 FSU batters in a row before Ryne Malone singled in the bottom of the sixth as neither team was able to score for four straight frames after posting runs in each half of the first two innings.
The Seminoles broke the tie by scoring without the benefit of a hit for the second time in the game. Hill’s fourth lead-off walk came back to haunt him in the seventh. A sacrifice and back-to-back throwing errors to second and third base allowed senior captain Aaron Cheesman to trot home with the winning run.
“Cheesman is quick. He is not a guy that is going to run a leg in the Olympics but he’s quick,” said Martin. “He is not going to get off the bag quick and I am sure they were looking for a quick way to get out of the inning.”
“I don’t know if we call it a force (the throw to third),” said Army catcher Schuyler Williamson. “We do that (play) a lot actually. I don’t feel like we’re forcing it when we do that. We’ll do it every pitch if he’s going too far. It’s not a big deal. He didn’t slide. I can’t account for that when I’m throwing it down there. He didn’t slide and it hit him in the back. If he had slid, he would have been out. There’s nothing I can do about it. I felt like I threw it well. It was the right call at the right time. It just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
A lead-off double and a walk put the Black Knights back in business in the top of the eighth off Lynch, but the right-hander managed to get out of the jam. On a sacrifice bunt attempt by Stone, Lynch came off the mound to throw Williamson – who doubled to start the frame – out at third. He then struck out Jeremy Stache and Chris Simmons to end the threat.
“I was hoping that he would bunt the ball to that side because I was busting off of the mound to get that out,” said Lynch. “Then I was working for a ground ball to get the double play and once I struck that guy out I had a lot of motivation to get that third guy. Coach (Jamey) Shouppe called great pitches and I just threw them where we called them and the outcome was positive.”
The Knights had one last opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. A walk and a wild pitch put a runner in scoring position but a sensational play deep in the hole at short by Ryne Jernigan ended the threat.
“I have to be honest with everybody here, the first thing I thought was `get it Jerney (Jernigan) and don’t let it get out’,” said Martin. “Then I looked up and the ball was on its way to first. It was a big time play. I was not thinking about him throwing the guy out as much as I was not letting it get through the infield.”