April 6, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – It was déjà vu at the ballpark on Sunday as Florida State (28-3, 13-1) duplicated a 3-2, 10 inning victory in game one with a 3-2, 10 inning victory in game two to sweep the three-game series against Virginia (24-9, 8-7). Freshman Tyler Holt drove home high school teammate Luke Smierciak on an infield chopper to third for the winning run in the bottom of the tenth.
The bottom of the tenth began the same way as it did in game one as Smierciak was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Mike McGee. After Virginia reliever Michael Schwimer (1-1) got behind 3-0 to Stephen Cardullo, the Cavaliers decided to put Cardullo aboard with an intentional walk. On ball four, Schwimer unleashed a wild pitch throwing to the back stop and moving Smierciak to third. With Holt at the plate, the freshman center fielder worked the count full after falling behind 1-2 and on the eighth pitch of the at-bat sent a high chopper to Tyler Cannon at third. Smierciak running on contact, easily beat Cannon’s throw at the plate to give the Seminoles the three-game sweep.
The Seminoles once again received another outstanding performance by their pitching staff as starter Elih Villanueva went 7.2 innings, tying a career-high with nine strikeouts. The junior right hander allowed two runs, one earned, on eight hits. He settled down after a shaky start and retired nine straight Cavalier batters at one point while facing no more than four batters in each inning from the third through the seventh.
Jimmy Marshall (3-0) came on to get the final out of the eighth with runners on at first and second to keep the game tied at two. He pitched a perfect ninth and tenth inning setting down the Cavaliers in order. Marshall struck out two and did not allow a hit in 2.1 innings of work to pick up his third win of the season.
“Elih Villanueva had a great outing and Jimmy Marshall came in and provided a great relief performance,” said head coach Mike Martin. “That’s what you got to have to be successful, is solid pitching.”
“Virginia has got a good club and they are going to be right in the middle of this (race) before it’s over,” added Martin. “Virginia’s pitching was very good this weekend. Carraway surprised us being a third starter; we had no idea that he would be that effective. He just dominated us; we only had six hits on him all game.”
Buster Posey continued to swing a hot bat as the junior catcher went 3-for-4 at the plate in game two with a run scored. Jack Rye collected a pair of hits while Dennis Guinn, Tony Delmonico and Holt each recorded a hit and an RBI. Holt extended his streak of reaching base in all 31 games this season with a single to right in the third.
“Virginia has a great pitching staff,” said Rye. “We just battled all day and found a way to get it done.”
Virginia once again struck first scoring a run in the top of the first to take an early 1-0 lead. David Adams drove home Greg Miclat, who doubled to right center to start the game, on an RBI double off the wall in right. The Cavaliers put runners at first and third with just one out, but Villanueva got a strikeout and a fly out to keep the Seminole deficit at one.
The Cavaliers looked to build to their lead in the second loading the bases with a pair of hits and a walk with one out. But Villanueva kept UVa at bay getting Cannon looking at strike three while inducing an inning ending groundout by Adams at short.
It took until the fourth inning for the Seminoles to get a good read on Virginia starter Andrew Carraway, who was cruising through the first three innings striking out five of the first 11 batters that he faced. Buster Posey led off the inning with his second double in as many at-bats and moved to third on a bunt single by Rye. Delmonico tied the game at one as he avoided a possible inning ending double play legging out a fielder’s choice groundout at first. Posey crossed the plate for the first Seminole run of the ball game.
In the seventh, Guinn gave FSU a 2-1 lead on his team leading 11th home run of the season. The senior first baseman found a good time for his first hit of the series as he took a 3-2 offering from Carraway and hit it just inside the left field foul pole to give the Seminoles a one-run lead. The hit ended the afternoon for Carraway who pitched six plus innings allowing two runs on six hits. He set a career-high with 10 strikeouts while he did not issue a walk.
The lead did not last long as Virginia capitalized on the only Seminole error of the game to tie the game at two. Adams reached on a fielding error by Cardullo at third and moved into scoring position a batter later on a groundout to second by Dan Grovatt. After a line out to second by Jeremy Farrell, David Coleman was intentionally walked bringing on pinch hitter Tyler Biddix. Biddix delivered lacing a single back up the middle to score Adams from second. Marshall would replace Villanueva after the RBI single and get designated hitter Patrick Wingfield to line out to Guinn at first.
The Seminoles made a pair of outstanding defensive plays in the final two innings as Cardullo robbed Cannon of a base hit in the ninth making a diving stop on a ground ball to his left. The sophomore third baseman got to his feet and threw a bullet over to first in time for the final out of the inning. Delmonico followed with a diamond gem of his own in the tenth snaring a groundball up the middle by Adams. The junior shortstop spun around and threw on to Guinn at first for the first out of the inning.
“Anytime you win two one-run games in the tenth inning, it’s always a credit to the pitching (staff),” explained Martin. “In the second game, those freshmen got up there and did a great job of getting at-bats. Luke Smierciak leading off with a hit by pitch, Mike McGee laid down a sacrifice bunt, Cardullo walks and we get lucky on a wild pitch and then Holt drives him in. What a great day!”
Florida State will head out on the road for a weekend series in Chestnut Hill, Mass., as the Seminoles travel to face the Boston College Eagles. Game one on Friday, April 11 is schedule for 2:30 p.m. Fans can catch all the action over the internet as gametracker and ACC Select will be available for the contest. The game can also be heard live over the radio on 1270 the Team (Friday) and 100.7 FM (Saturday and Sunday) with Tom Block providing all the play-by-play action.