May 21, 2009
DURHAM, N.C. – A four-run first was all Florida State (42-14) needed in holding on for a 4-2 victory over Miami (36-19) Thursday afternoon on the second day of the ACC Baseball Championship inside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Tampa Bay Rays Triple A affiliate the Durham Bulls. The Seminoles held the Hurricanes to just two runs on four hits in evening the season series at two games a piece.
With the win, Florida State moved to 2-0 in Division A and clinched a spot in Sunday’s championship game. The Seminoles will play for the conference title for the eighth time in school history and for the first time since defeating Georgia Tech for the league crown in Salem, Va., in 2004. In the four years that Durham has hosted the ACC Championship, the Seminoles have found their way in the championship game three times.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak to Miami on neutral soil, while it was the first victory over their intra-state rival in the ACC Tournament.
“That’s a game that is the most unpredictable game that there is because of how the game started off,” said head coach Mike Martin. “You have to credit (Chris) Hernandez for keeping his poise and for keeping his team in the game. Certainly, the first inning we had a lot of big hits, and none bigger than Tommy’s home run. It boils down to Brian Busch taking advantage of the four runs his team got for him and pitching an outstanding six innings of baseball.”
Tommy Oravetz led the Seminole offense on Thursday going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Tyler Holt, Stephen Cardullo, Mike McGee and Stuart Tapley each registered a hit, while Cardullo and McGee each drove in a run.
Freshman Brian Busch moved to 6-2 on the year as he silenced the Hurricane bats over six innings. Busch did not allow a runner past second until the fourth, while retiring the Canes in order in the first and fifth innings.
“The key for me was basically just working ahead and not walk guys,” said Busch. “Other than that I just wanted them to put the ball in play which they did and my defense helped me out a lot.”
Florida State wasted very little time in grabbing the early lead on Thursday afternoon scoring four runs on four hits in the top of the first. The Seminoles registered three hits off Miami starter Chris Hernandez (7-4) including two shots off the blue monster from their first three batters.
Holt led off the game with a single to right center and scored a batter later as Cardullo crushed a Hernandez offering off the wall in deep center for his 16th double of the season. Two pitches later McGee also found the 32 foot wall in left for his 14th double of the season to plate Cardullo. After McGee took third on a stolen base, he would score on a two out, two-run shot off the bat of Oravetz. The Seminole designated deposited a 1-0 pitch from Hernandez into the bleacher seats in right for his seventh home run in 2009.
“I’m just making good contact (at the plate) and seeing the ball real well,” added Oravetz.
Florida State put runners at second and third with one out in the fourth following a successful double steal by Tapley and Oravetz. But the Seminoles could not add to their lead as Hernandez recorded back-to-back strikeouts to put an end to the threat.
Miami plated its first run of the game in the fourth on a sac-fly to left by Harold Martinez. Yasmani Grandal started the bottom of the inning with a single to left, moved to second on a groundout to first and then advanced to third as Busch unleashed a wild pitch.
The Hurricanes cut the deficit in half on a monster home run off the bat of Grandal in the sixth. The Miami catcher hit a towering shot out of the park to left for his 16th round tripper of the season. The damage could have been worse for the Seminoles if it wasn’t for an outstanding defensive play in left by McGee. The Port St. Lucie, Fla., native made a nice play on a ball hit off the wall by Ryan Jackson. Jackson tried to stretch his single into a double but McGee threw a strike to Stidham at second for the first out of the inning.
Both starting pitchers turned it over to their respective bullpens after the sixth inning. Busch gave up two runs on four hits as he walked two and struck out two, while Hernandez allowed four runs on five hits with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts.
The Seminoles put together a little two-out rally in the seventh as Holt and Cardullo drew consecutive walks off Miami reliever Michael Rudman. Miami was able to escape the inning as McGee sent a deep fly ball to the warning track in center for the final out of the inning.
Miami made things interesting in the bottom half of the inning loading the bases off Geoff Parker on three walks. With Jackson at the plate, the first pitch from Parker went into the dirt and trickled away from Rafael Lopez. The Hurricanes’ Dave DiNatale broke for home on the play but was thrown out at the plate on a nice combination play from Lopez to Parker to end the inning.
“That was an outstanding play, not only by Rafael but by Geoff Parker,” said Martin. “That is a difficult play when you got people bearing down on you. Rafie did a great job of getting to it quickly and of course Geoff did a great job of getting there to apply the tag.”
Parker walked Jackson to start the eighth and got behind 2-1 to Jason Hagerty before Martin went to the bullpen and called on John Gast. Gast got Hagerty on the first pitch as the Hurricane first baseman grounded out to short. The sophomore southpaw then retired the next to Miami batters on a groundout and a fly out to maintain FSU’s two-run advantage.
Jimmy Marshall worked the ninth to pick up his 10th save of the year. After allowing two Hurricanes batters to reach on a hit by pitch and a walk, Marshall bounced back to strikeout pinch hitter Iden Nazario and then got Scott Lawson to pop out to Stidham at second for the final out of the game.
“This is the first time I have thrown in a while,” said Marshall. “I wanted to throw strikes and I wanted to get ahead of hitters. I struggled with control early on but my confidence got going with some adrenalin to make some good pitches at the end.”
The save for Marshall moved him into seventh all-time at FSU for saves in a single-season.
“No question it was a big win,” added Martin. “Leadership, like we have, certainly can play a big role when things don’t exactly go the way you want them to. Our guys kept their poise and certainly got it done.”
Florida State will return to the diamond for its third game of the ACC Baseball Championship on Saturday, May 23 at 12:00 p.m. against fourth-seeded Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets took 2-of-3 from the Seminoles back in Atlanta just two weeks ago. Georgia Tech is 0-2 in the ACC Tournament after suffering losses to both Miami and Boston College.
Fans can listen to Thursday’s action locally on 100.7 FM and over the internet on www.seminoles.com. The game will also be shown live on television as fans are encouraged to check their local listings for broadcast listing. Live stats will also be available through gametracker.