March 2, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State (7-0) kept its undefeated season intact on Sunday afternoon with a 10-1 victory over Auburn (4-4) to sweep the four-game series from the Tigers. Freshman Mike McGee threw seven shutout innings to earn his second win in as many starts, while the Seminole hitters pounded out double-digit hits for the seventh straight game.
“Obviously, I am trying to hide my excitement, but when you play as well as we did the last four games, it is extremely exciting,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I am very happy for our university and certainly our baseball program. We played solid baseball and it’s very gratifying to see a club with as many new players as we have go out there and perform the way they did in front of tremendous crowds this weekend. It is just very exciting to be a Florida State Seminole.”
McGee took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and had retired eight straight Tiger batters before giving up a walk to Kevin Patterson and then a single to Brian Fletcher in the top of the fifth. He would escape the inning unscathed inducing a pair of groundouts and a line out to keep Auburn off the scoreboard.
Auburn threatened an inning later as the first two Tiger batters reached on a single and double, respectively, to put runners at second and third with no body out. But the freshman right hander once again showed tremendous poise getting a pair of fly outs sandwiched between a great defensive play by McGee. Third baseman Joseph Sanders hit a sharp grounder back up the middle but McGee made a leaping grab to hold the runner at third and get the out at first.
The Port St. Lucie, Fla., native finished the game throwing a career-high seven innings. He gave up just three hits and did not allow run to cross the plate. McGee struck out five and walked three while throwing 105 pitches.
“Michael pitched very well today,” explained Martin. “I was very, very pleased with the way he pitched.”
“Just like last week, I was focused on going out there hitting my spots with my fastball and throwing my curveball and breaking balls for strikes,” added McGee. “The main thing is hitting my fastball on the outside corner. I was hitting it all day today which really helped. It is also awesome to have a defense like that, the one we have behind you. When you get behind in the count, you’re not worried about throwing your fastball because you know that if they put it in play our team has a good chance of getting an out. It’s awesome when you have a defense you can trust like that.”
The Seminoles gave McGee an early cushion scoring three runs on three straight RBI singles in the bottom of the first to take a 3-0 lead. Center fielder Tyler Holt led off the game with a double to right center and scored two batters later on a single to right by Buster Posey. Jack Rye picked up his first RBI of the season driving home Jason Stidham who walked on five pitches. Shortstop Tony Delmonico finished off the scoring for Florida State in the first as he found the whole through the left side of the infield to plate Posey from second.
Florida State added to its lead in the fourth on back-to-back to hits by Holt and Stidham. Holt once again led off the inning with a hit singling to left. He would score all the way from first on Stidham’s double down the right field line to give the Garnet and Gold a four-run advantage.
A three-run fifth broke the game open as the Seminoles increased their lead to 7-0. Dennis Guinn led off the fifth with a single to left and raced around to third on McGee’s double to right. It was the fourth time in five innings that the Seminole leadoff batter had reached. Tapley would score Guinn on a sacrifice fly to center. Holt then ripped his second double and third hit of the game to right center driving in McGee. He would score a batter later on a Stidham single to left. Holt finished the game 3-for-3 with three runs scored and a walk. It was his first three-hit game of his career.
In the sixth, Guinn registered his team leading fourth home run of the season. With two outs, the senior first baseman drilled a shot to left on a 2-2 offering off Tiger reliever Evan Crawford. It was his third home run of the series and 21st of his career.
Guinn had an outstanding series in FSU’s sweep of Auburn as he batted .563 (9-for-16) with three home runs, a double, six RBIs and six runs scored. He slugged 1.188 and posted an on-base percentage of .588. Guinn was also perfect from the field on 38 total chances registering 34 putouts and four assists.
“You definitely don’t expect to hit like I did against a team like Auburn,” said Guinn. “It definitely gives me some momentum going into ACC play next weekend and going into UNC Asheville this week. I’m just going to try and keep doing the same thing come Tuesday.”
“Dennis played well,” added Martin. “He had some big hits this week and really came through in all four games for us.”
Ben Francis came out of the pen and pitched two effective innings in relief. The sophomore right hander allowed one run on four hits while striking out one. He induced a pair of groundball double plays including one in the top of the eighth with the bases loaded and one out.
“One of the most exciting things today was Ben Francis,” said Martin. “Jamey Shouppe deserves a lot of credit. He (Jamey) has done a great job of working him (Francis) through some problems and I am very proud of the way Ben performed today.”
Florida State pushed across the final two runs of the game on a two-out, bases loaded double by freshman Luke Smierciak scoring Delmonico and Ruairi O’Connor. Smierciak picked up his first collegiate hit an inning earlier on a bloop single to center. He finished the game 2-for-2.
The Seminoles will return to the diamond for a two-game mid-week series against UNC Asheville on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. Game one is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4 with first pitch at 6:00 pm. Gametracker and ACC Select will be available for the game, while Eric Luallen will broadcast the game live over the radio on 1270 the Team FM.