April 16, 2005
“That is just so disappointing,” said Martin as he looked for the right words to describe the defeat. “It was a tough loss. One of the toughest I’ve had and I have had a bunch of them. We showed we can play with anybody in the country today and when you come on the road you have to prove it. We did that today and it was just unfortunate that it turned out the way that it did.”
Chambliss took the loss as he blew just his third save of the season. The closer came into the game second in the nation in saves with 10 and looked like he was going to move into a tie for first as he struck out the side in the eight. The Live Oak, FL native got into trouble with walks in the ninth inning though. He retired the first batter of the final frame on his fourth straight K but a single and three walks cut the lead to 8-7. Then Payne sent his 1-2 offering into center field for a two-RBI single.
“Tyler struggled a little bit with his control,” said Martin. “He made quality pitches but they were just out of the strike zone.”
The walk off win put an end to one of the most hard-fought performances of the year for Florida State. It was the second game in the series where FSU did not commit an error and the staff struck out 17 Tech batters, the most by a Yellow Jacket opponent all season. FSU held Tech without a homer and limited Georgia Tech’s 2-3-4 hitters to a 2-for-13 day.
The loss also spoiled one of the best outings of sophomore Bryan Henry’s FSU career. After relieving Stephen Ochs, who came in for starter Michael Hyde, Henry pitched three innings and allowed just one hit. He struck out a season-high six batters and did not issue a walk. He also was the only Seminole player to drive in two runs in the game and recorded his 11th double of the season.
“I came in and just tried to give the team a lift,” said Henry. “It was an opportunity for me to face one of the best hitting teams in the country. I took it as a challenge. I just gave it my best and had fun with the challenge.
“It was a good feeling to be able to contribute offensively as well. We came up one run short and if I would have gotten a hit it would have been another run (in the fifth inning). I am just trying to do whatever I can to help this team in any way possible.”
Offensively, FSU scored its first five runs of the game without the benefit of a hit. Three came on walks; one came on a wild pitch and another on a ground out. Ryne Malone, Gibbs Chapman, Jack Rye, Ryne Jernigan and Tony Thomas, Jr. each recorded an RBI in the game. Jernigan and Chapman were the only two Seminoles with multiple hits as four Tech pitchers held the FSU offense to seven hits on the day.
Georgia Tech got out to an early lead in the second as Hyde put the lead runner on with his second walk of the game. Matt Wieters moved to second on a ground out and then came home on a Whit Robbins single to left center as FSU sell behind for the 12th time in the last 13 games.
For the second straight inning Georgia Tech starter Jason Neighborgall hit the first Seminole putting Tony Thomas, Jr. on to lead off the third. The Georgia Tech hurler struck out his fourth batter for the first out and then Shane Robinson blasted a line drive at the second baseman who was unable to handle the shot putting runners on first and third on the error. A four pitch walk to Ryne Malone loaded the bases but another K got Tech one step closer to getting out of the jam. Neighborgall then uncorked a wild pitch allowing the runners to move up and tying the game at 1-1.
The Seminoles, who kept Tech shortstop Tyler Greene in check Friday (0-for-4 with three K’s), gave up a ground rule leadoff double down the right field line to start the bottom of the third. Hyde then walked Steven Blackwood before getting the first out via his fourth strikeout of the game. Hyde issued another walk to load the bases for Wieters. The Seminole hurler got the freshman to fly out to shallow right keeping the runner on third and recording the second out. Hyde started the next batter off with three straight balls before working the count full but his pay off pitch missed high walking in the second run of the game for Tech. Robbins then came up and hurt FSU again with a single into right center plating two more runs and extending the lead to 4-1. Number nine hitter Michael Fisher then added to the lead with an RBI single through the right side ending Hyde’s day. It was the first time in his FSU career that Hyde didn’t last at least five innings in any appearance. That brought Stephen Ochs into the game and he struck out the first batter he faced to end Tech’s big inning.
Florida State answered in the fourth as Jack Rye drew a lead off walk and Ryne Jernigan, who collected his third hit in the series, singled through the right side breaking up the no-hit bid. Thomas followed by getting plunked on a 3-0 pitch to load the bases. Neighborgall then went 3-0 on Bryan Henry before walking in a run on a 3-1 pitch making it a 5-2 game. The Tech pitcher then needed just three pitches to get the second out as he got Robinson swinging and missing at each of his first three offerings. Ryne Malone then stepped in and watched four straight balls driving in another run and leaving the bases loaded in a 5-3 game. Chapman then tried to catch the Tech D off guard as he bunted down towards first but Neighborgall jumped off the mound and easily tossed the left fielder out.
Henry opened the bottom of the fourth on the hill and proceeded to get the first two batters he faced watching strike three. He then ended the fourth striking out his third straight batter.
Cheesman got hit by Neighborgall for the second time in the game to start off the top of the fifth. Jack Rye then reached on a fielder’s choice before a walk to Danny Wardell put two on for the Seminoles. Neighborgall’s fifth walk ended his day and brought right-hander Jordan Crews into the game. An error on a soft chopper to third allowed Jernigan to reach loading the bases for the second straight inning and the third time in the game. Crews then walked in yet another FSU run as the Seminoles closed to within a run on the third FSU run to score on a walk. Henry then grounded out to second driving in another run and evening the game at 5-5. It was the fifth run scored by FSU without the benefit of a hit.
After retiring his fourth straight batter with a K, Henry hit Wieters with a 3-2 pitch putting a runner on in the bottom of the fifth. After a long drive to left that Gibbs Chapman hauled in while crashing into the wall, Henry hit another batter before ending the threat with his fifth K in two innings of work.
Tech’s seventh walk of the game put Malone on leading off the top of the sixth. Chapman then recorded just the second hit of the game for Florida State as his single into shallow left center put runners on the corners. Crews recorded his first K of the game for the first out of the sixth then a perfectly executed hit and run scored Malone on a single through the left side by Rye. It gave FSU its first lead of the weekend at 6-5 and it was the first run FSU scored in the game on a base hit. A pop up to first got Crews his second out of the inning but he couldn’t get Jernigan who chopped a single over the head of third baseman Mike Trapani making it a 7-5 game.
After a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth, Henry easily got out of the inning on two infield pop ups and his sixth K of the game. His six strikeouts equaled a season high set in a relief appearance against Duke March 26.
After surrendering a leadoff double, Henry started the seventh with a double of his own as he laced a ball just inside third base and down the left field line. After a ground out, Malone singled to right putting runners on the corners with one away as FSU looked for some insurance by building on the two-run lead. Chapman got FSU some breathing room with his second straight single boosting the lead to 8-5.
After a brilliant relief performance, Henry moved back to third in the seventh as Matt DiBlasi came into the game. DiBlasi’s first pitch was sent into right field and the second batter he faced doubled putting two runners in scoring position. A walk loaded the bases for Tech bringing Robbins to the plate who was already 2-for-2 on the day with three RBIs. DiBlasi then got two big outs on a double play ball allowing Tech to cut the lead to 8-6. The earned run was the first one allowed by DiBlasi in 15 1/3 innings. Kevin Lynch then came into the game for the 117th time in his career, second all-time for appearances by an FSU pitcher. He proceeded to strike out Trapani ending the seventh.
FSU’s ace closer Tyler Chambliss came into the game in the bottom of the eighth in hopes of wrapping up his 11th save of the season. He took a big step to moving into a tie for the NCAA lead in saves by striking out the side. He then opened the bottom of the ninth with his fourth straight K before giving up a single through the right side. A walk put the tying run on first and brought the potential winning run to the plate but Chambliss lost Jeff Kindle loading the bases and moving the tying run into scoring position. That brought up Robbins who already had three RBIs on the day. The sophomore took a 3-2 pitch and drew a walk driving in his fourth run and cutting the lead to 8-7. Chambliss came back and got his fifth K as Trapani watched strike three setting the stage for Payne’s heroics.
The Seminoles conclude their series with No. 4 Georgia Tech Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be carried live on Sun Sports. Game Tracker will be available for all FSU’s 2005 games along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.