Feb. 24, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Eighth-ranked Florida State (4-1) saw its win streak come to a halt at four as the Seminoles fell to FIU (1-3) Friday night 8-5 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
For the fifth time in as many games to start the 2012 season, the Seminoles found themselves behind after the first inning as the Panthers struck for two runs to grab the early lead. Unlike the previous four games, Florida State could never manage to get over the hump and take the lead from FIU trailing the entire game.
“You have to take your hat off to FIU,” said head coach Mike Martin. “They made four errors, but they kept scrapping and got the key hits when they needed them. We stranded too many runners tonight and could not take advantage of their mistakes. We are never satisfied when we get beat but some nights you just have to give the credit to the other club.”
The Panthers’ Pablo Bermudez and Adam Kirsch paced the offense with three hits apiece, while T.J. Shantz and Kirsch both drove in a pair of runs. Five of FIU’s eight runs came on two outs including both runs scored in the first and second innings.
R.J. Fondon threw over 100 pitches to improve his record to 1-1 on the year. The senior southpaw went 5.1 innings allowing five runs, three earned, on eight hits as he walked four and struck out two. Eddy Pidermann and Michael Gomez did a solid job in relief in game one working a combined 3.2 innings allowing no runs on just one hit. Gomez worked the final 2.1 innings to earn his first save of the season.
FSU’s Brandon Leibrandt (1-1) suffered the loss as the freshman left hander went 2.2 innings allowing four runs on five hits as he walked four and struck out four. The weather did not help matters for Leibrandt as he worked in the rain to start the game and then had to sit around during a 54-minute rain delay.
“He was making some pitches that he doesn’t ordinarily make,” added Martin. “He was ahead of a number of pitches but once again you have to give them credit as they fought back and found some pitches that he (Brandon) wishes that he could get back.”
Florida State certainly had their chances to come from behind on Friday night but could not take advantage of a season-high four errors committed by FIU en route to leaving 15 men on base including seven in the last three innings.
“Our guys fought tonight, there was never any give-up,” said Martin. “We had a couple chances. We made some mental mistakes that put us behind the eight ball. But give them credit for executing and doing the job and taking advantage of our mental mistakes.”
Sherman Johnson, Devon Travis and Jayce Boyd each registered two hits each, while Boyd led the `Noles with two RBI. Senior captain James Ramsey continues to cause havoc on the base paths reaching base on all five plate appearances Friday night. Ramsey reached on a single and an error in his first two at-bats and then drew three straight walks. Stephen McGee was also on base three times as he drew a season-high three walks.
The win for the Panthers was their first in the series since 1990 snapping FSU’s two-game win streak.
Trailing 2-0 early, the Seminoles cut into the lead with an unearned run in the first as Ramsey drove in Johnson on a single through the right side.
FIU answered with two more runs off Leibrandt in the top of second as Shantz came through with a clutch two-out double to right center to score Julius Gaines and Bermudez.
FSU drew within one of the lead at 4-3 with two runs in the third. Travis led off the inning with a double down the line in left and moved to third when Ramsey reached on a fielding error by Jabari Henry in left. Boyd brought them both home with a two-run single to left center to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. After Justin Gonzalez drew a one-out walk, Fondon got out of the jam as he got Jose Brizuela and McGee on back-to-back fly outs.
FIU upped its lead to 6-3 with two runs in the fourth off reliever Gage Smith. The Seminoles responded with two runs in the fifth to once again draw within one at 6-5.
Ramsey and Boyd set the table at the start of the inning with a walk and a single, respectively, followed by an RBI double down the line in left by John Nogowski. After a walk to Gonzalez loaded the bases, Brizuela legged out a fielder’s choice groundout to second scoring Boyd and putting runners at first and third. But Fondon threw over to first on a 3-2 count to McGee and got Brizuela in a run down. Nogowski tried to score from third but was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning. McGee then grounded out to third on the very next pitch from Fondon to end the inning.
The Panthers added a run in the sixth off Scott Sitz putting together three straight two-out singles capped off by David Vazquez’ RBI single to center.
The Seminoles put together a rally in the seventh loading the bases off Pidermann courtesy of FIU’s fourth error of the game, a walk and a hit by pitch. After a pitching change brought in Gomez, Johnson put a good swing on the first pitch from the lefty sending the ball on a line drive right to Nathan Burns in right for out number three.
Florida State put runners on in the eighth as Travis led off the inning with his second double of the game and Ramsey walked, but Gomez struck out the next three batters he faced to end the threat.
In the ninth, the Seminoles threatened once again as McGee and Johnson drew a walk. With Travis at the plate and two outs, Gomez made a nice defensive play on a sharp groundball hit back up the middle by the junior second baseman, throwing on to first for the final out of the game.
Sitz worked 3.0 innings in relief allowing a run on four hits as he walked one and struck out three. Bryant Holtmann pitched the seventh and eighth innings on Friday and gave up a run on two hits as he struck out three. Brandon Johnson worked a scoreless ninth retiring all three batters that he faced.
The Seminoles return to the diamond for game two of the series on Saturday, February 25 at 2:00 p.m. The game will air live over the internet on Seminoles All-Access, while live stats will be available via gametracker. Fans can listen to all the action locally on 100.7 FM (Saturday and Sunday) and on the internet at Seminoles.com.