Feb. 4, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State (3-0) scored 19 runs including nine in the second inning as the 13th-ranked Seminoles swept the weekend series against No. 11 Tennessee (0-3) with a 19-7 victory Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles pounded out 22 hits in game three of the series as 12 different FSU players got a hit on Sunday. Junior second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. led the way with a career-high four hits, while junior shortstop Mark Hallberg drove in a team-high three runs to pace the Seminoles at Mike Martin Field. It was the ninth straight sweep of a series to open a season for Florida State.
“It was a good day all around,” said Hallberg. “We swept them (Tennessee) and that was the important thing. We played good defense and had good pitching for most of the series. It was a lot of fun, that’s what it’s all about.”
Florida State wasted very little time to crack the scoreboard putting up a nine spot in the bottom of the second inning. Right fielder Jack Rye started the inning with a hit by pitch and moved to third on a double by Dennis Guinn. The next batter, center fielder Ruairi O’Connor, got his first of three hits with a single to left field scoring Rye for the game’s first run. Designated hitter D’Vontrey Richardson drove in Guinn lacing a single to right field. After starting third baseman Jason Stidham drew a 3-1 walk, senior Brandon Reichert got his first hit as a Seminole lining a shot to right field to drive in O’Connor. With the bases loaded, Hallberg cleared the diamond with a double to left field. Thomas then singled up the middle to drive in his first run of the afternoon. Catcher Buster Posey registered an RBI double plating Thomas from second. He would later score on a fielder’s choice groundout by Guinn to cap the nine-run second.
The Seminoles would add four in the third, four in the sixth and two more in the eighth scoring the most runs in a ball game since posting 18 against Jacksonville in game one of the NCAA Regional in Athens, Ga., last year.
Hallberg and Thomas, the top two batters in the Seminole lineup, reached base a combined nine times with each one scoring four runs. Posey finished the afternoon with three hits in four at-bats scoring twice and driving in two runs. O’Connor collected three straight singles in as many at-bats and finished 3-for-4 on the day. The redshirt-sophomore also drove in a pair of runs. Reichert, starting at first base for the third consecutive game, went 2-for-2 with two runs, a walk and one RBI.
“It’s a big start for our team,” said Thomas. “Everyone contributed in some one way or another as a whole. Not just for me, but for the team, it’s a real confidence boost beating a solid team like Tennessee. They are a magnificent team. We came in this weekend, played as hard as we could and ended up with three wins.”
Starting pitcher Ryan Strauss (1-0) got the win pitching a career-high five innings giving up four runs on six hits while striking out two Volunteer batters. The win for Strauss was his first career win as a starter. Casey Whitmer, Caleb Graham, Bo O’Dell and Travis Burge each saw an inning in relief. The bullpen worked four innings giving up just three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out three.
The Seminoles return to the diamond next weekend for a three-game set against UNC Asheville, February 9-11. Game one of the series on Friday is slated to start at 5:00 pm at Dick Howser Stadium. 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.