March 9, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State kept its perfect season intact Sunday afternoon with a 9-8 victory over Maryland. Freshman Stuart Tapley delivered a walk-off bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Seminoles (12-0, 3-0) a three-game sweep over the Terrapins (5-7, 0-3). FSU extended its win streak to 32 straight games over the Terps with the win on Sunday.
For the second consecutive year and for only the third time in the Mike Martin era, the Seminoles start a season at 12-0. Last year, Florida State set the school record for the best start in school history winning its first 23 games to start 23-0. The only other time FSU started 12-0 was in 1985.
“That was a very big win for our baseball team,” said head coach Mike Martin. “It was one that we kept our poise on a lot of things that Maryland was doing. But we hung in there and got it done in the end. I am very proud of our baseball team.”
The series finale featured a great deal of action with seven lead changes and two ties. Buster Posey and Ohmed Danesh each registered three hits on Sunday, while Posey and Danesh joined Tony Delmonico and Stuart Tapley with two RBIs a piece. Jimmy Marshall pitched two scoreless innings in relief to pick up his first win of the season.
“That was a lot of fun, no doubt about it,” said Marshall. “It was a great win for us. It felt good to come out and sweep our first conference series of the year. Hopefully we can carry it through for next weekend’s series against Georgia Tech.”
Maryland got on the board first in the top of the first with a solo home run off the bat of catcher Chad Durakis. Durakis took a 1-2 offering from Seminole starting pitcher Ryan Strauss and deposited the ball over the fence in left center for his third home run of the season. The run was the first given up by Strauss as a starter in 14.2 innings.
Florida State answered right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on a two-run double by Delmonico. The junior shortstop stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and drilled his third two bagger of the season to right center scoring Tommy Oravetz and Posey.
The Terrapins came right back to take a one-run lead in the second thanks to another home run, this time off the bat of AJ Casario. Maryland once again put together a two-out rally as Dan Benick kept the inning alive with a single to center leading to Casario’s two-run blast over the fence in right for his second home run of the season.
The lead was short lived once again as the Seminoles recorded back-to-back doubles by Tapley and Danesh to start their half of the second. Danesh scored on Tapley’s double down the left field line to tie the game at three. The freshman third baseman moved to third on a wild pitch by Maryland starter Jensen Pupa and following a walk to Tyler Holt would score on a double play groundout by Oravetz to give the Seminoles a one-run advantage.
Maryland would counter with its third home run off Strauss in the third to take a 5-4 lead. Pupa helped his own cause as he belted a two-run homer to right to recapture the lead for the Terrapins. The home run was the first of the season for Pupa. The last time a Seminole pitcher gave up three home runs in one game was April 27, 2007 as Bryan Henry gave up three at Miami in a 7-6 come-from-behind victory in the ninth inning by the Garnet and Gold.
In the fifth, the Terps added to their lead as Durakis recorded his third RBI of the day on a sharp single up the middle. Oravetz got to the ball on the edge of the grass but did not have a play as Steve Braun crossed the plate for a 6-4 Maryland advantage.
Florida State answered with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-6 lead. Oravetz led off the inning on double that dropped in down the left field line between the shortstop and left fielder. Three pitches later the game was tied as Buster Posey unloaded on his third home run of the season taking Pupa’s offering off the scoreboard in left. After a walk to Jack Rye, Pupa’s afternoon would come to an end as he last just four plus innings.
Ian Schwalenberg entered and issued a base-on-ball to Delmonico on eight pitches. Dennis Guinn laid down one of his two sacrifice bunts on the afternoon to advance both Rye and Delmonico up a base. After a strike out to Mike McGee, Schwalenberg looked as though he would get out of the inning with the game tied, but Danesh stayed a live fouling off a couple pitches on a 2-2 count before hitting a single up the middle. Rye and Delmonico scored on the play giving the Seminoles an 8-6 lead.
The Terps took advantage of a pair of Seminole miscues in the top of the seventh to tie the game for just the second time all day. Braun got things started with a one out single to left and would advance to second on a throwing error by Danesh in left. After getting Pupa to pop out to second, Ben Francis would get the call out of the bullpen replacing Strauss who worked 6.2 innings. Francis gave up an RBI single to Durakis for his third hit and third RBI of the game. The next batter Gerry Spessard reached on a fielding error by Tapley at third scoring Durakis on the play to tie the game at 8-8.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Maryland threatened to recapture the lead in the top of the ninth off Marshall putting runners at first and third with one out. But the junior right hander got Spessard to hit a groundball right back to him at the mound to start the 1-6-3 inning ending double play.
“You can’t panic,” added Marshall on the first and third, one-out situation in the top of the ninth. “That is the one thing you can’t do. We all have confidence in one another to get the job done. Luckily we got the groundball and Tony (Delmonico) made a great turn.”
Delmonico got things started in the bottom of the ninth as he led off the inning with his second hit of the afternoon singling to right on a 3-2 offering from Brad Taylor (0-1). Guinn put down his second sacrifice bunt of the game moving Delmonico into scoring position at second base. Jason Stidham would come to the plate pinch-hitting for McGee but was issued an intentional walk to put runners at first and second with only one out. Danesh then loaded the bases on a four pitch walk setting up the game ending heroics for Tapley. On a 0-1 pitch, Tapley laced a single back up the middle scoring Delmonico for the game-winner to give the Seminoles the sweep and to keep FSU undefeated on the year.
“There was one out with the bases loaded,” explained Tapley. “I was just trying to reach the outfield some how. I got a pitch that I could drive and hit it right back up the middle. With one out and the bases loaded, you want to try and hit something to the outfield. Obviously, a pop fly deep enough will score the runner from third. I got a ball up in the zone, got on top of it and just hit a solid line drive.”
The walk-off victory was the first since March 16, 2007 when Jack Rye hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th to defeat Wake Forest 7-6.
The win also moved head coach Mike Martin within four games of career win number 1,500. In his 29th season, the legendary ball coach has amassed a career record of 1,496-506-4
Florida State will return to the diamond to face Georgia for a pair of mid-week games beginning Tuesday, March 11 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Game time on Tuesday is scheduled for 6:00 pm. The game will be broadcast live on Sun Sports, while fans can also catch the action on gametracker and over the radio on 1270 the Team with Tom Block providing play-by-play action.