June 11, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – A momentum-changing four-run inning in the seventh by Texas A&M lifted it past Florida State for a 6-2 victory in the first game of the NCAA Super Regional on Saturday afternoon in front of 4,602 in Tallahassee at Dick Howser Stadium.
The Aggies (46-19) began their big frame when their first two batters reached base, setting up a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Gonzalez to put two runners in scoring position with one out. The game-breaking at-bat occurred when Brandon Wood lined a leading-changing two-run single through the left side, pushing Texas A&M ahead 3-2. Kenny Jackson added an insurance run with an RBI double to right center, and Tyler Naquin added an important run-scoring single with two outs to cap the scoring in the inning.
Texas A&M added a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Jacob House.
Aside from one big inning by the opposition, junior left-hander Sean Gilmartin (12-2) had been effective through most of the contest. The Moorpark, Calif., native threw seven innings and allowed five runs on six hits with eight strikeouts. Gilmartin moved past former Seminole Jon McDonald (1998-00) for seventh place on the school’s career strikeouts list with 321. His seven innings thrown also marks the 13th time in 17 starts that he has lasted at least seven innings, and he has pitched at least six innings in every start this season.
The scoring in the seventh by Texas A&M came in response to Jayce Boyd’s solo home run down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the sixth that gave FSU a 2-1 advantage. It was Boyd’s seventh home run of the season and his second in as many games, looking to possibly being the game-winning shot in a game that had started as a pitcher’s duel through six frames.
Junior right-hander Ross Stripling (14-2) earned the win after keeping the Seminole offense in check through most of the game. Stripling tossed seven frames and allowed two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts.
Junior James Ramsey and senior Rafael Lopez led FSU with three hits apiece, marking Ramsey’s 25th multiple-hit game this season as well as his 10th three-hit performance. Lopez also picked up his 18th multiple-hit game and his sixth three-hit performance of the year.
Altogether, FSU outhit Texas A&M, 9-7, but could not capitalize with runners in scoring position (1-for-8). FSU is now 32-8 this season when it outhits the opposition.
Texas A&M took an early 1-0 lead in the opening inning when Matt Juengel took a first-pitch offering from Gilmartin over the left field wall for his seventh home run of the season. It was just the sixth home run hit off Gilmartin this season, including his first since allowing two against Clemson on May 19.
The Aggies’ lead did not last for long, as Mike McGee’s long sacrifice fly to the warning track in right center brought home Devon Travis in the first inning. Travis led off the game with a lining double to right center and advanced to third base on a single by Lopez that deflected off Stripling. Ramsey followed McGee’s at-bat with a single off the right field wall, but a groundout and flyout by Boyd and Sherman Johnson, respectively, ended the FSU threat.
Ramsey’s first-inning single extended his streak of reaching base safely to 52 games, and stretched his current hitting streak to nine games.
In the bottom of the third, FSU made a threat to score with two outs. With Travis on first base after drawing a walk, Ramsey recorded his second single in as many at-bats, hitting a one-bagger up the middle to advance Travis to third base. Boyd, however, grounded out to third baseman Adam Smith on a slow chopper to end the frame and keep the game tied at 1-1.
Another opportunity was spoiled in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Lopez singled through the right side, and the inning was kept alive when a routine fly ball hit by McGee was dropped by Aggies right fielder Tyler Naquin to put runners on the corners. Ramsey, who already recorded multiple hits in today’s contest, struck out swinging to preserve the tie.
The Seminoles (45-18) look to keep their season alive with a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Aggies at 4 p.m. that will once again be televised on ESPNU. FSU will send McGee (4-3, 4.02 ERA) to the hill, while Texas A&M is expected to throw sophomore right-hander Michael Wacha (8-3, 2.10 ERA).