April 2, 2008
Jacksonville, Fla. – In a tale of two games, Wednesday night’s contest featuring Florida State (25-3) and Jacksonville (16-11) went from a pitcher’s duel to a scoring outburst in the final three innings with the Seminoles hanging on for a 7-5 victory over the Dolphins. Jason Stidham drove in pinch runner Luke Smierciak with the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly RBI in the eighth while Tommy Oravetz connected on a ninth inning home run to hand the Seminoles their ninth win in the last 10 games at Alexander Brest Field.
The Garnet and Gold registered a season-high nine stolen bases on Wednesday with Tyler Holt, Stidham, Smierciak and Jack Rye each registering a pair. Holt stole home in the top of the seventh leading to a three-run inning which gave the Seminoles the lead for good. It was the most stolen bases in a game for Florida State since swiping eight against West Virginia back on March 6, 2004.
Oravetz led the Seminole offense in the win going 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Tony Delmonico and Ohmed Danesh also registered two hits, while Holt reached base on a single and a hit by pitch as the freshman center fielder has now reached base safely in all 28 games this year.
Mike McGee went 6.2 innings to run his record to 4-1 on the year. The freshman right hander gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits. He struck out four and walked a season-low one batter.
Both pitchers set the tone early as the game remained scoreless through the first three innings. McGee retired the first eight batters that he faced to start the game before JU collected back-to-back singles with two outs in the bottom of the third. The Seminole starter would not be fazed by the hits as he induced a fielder’s choice groundout to end the inning.
Dolphin starter Sean Green cruised through the first three innings allowing just two hits in his fourth career start. The freshman right hander got out of trouble in the third after the Seminoles put runners on following a hit batter and a walk with two outs. But a fly out to right kept the game scoreless.
Florida State cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth with pair of runs to take an early 2-0 lead. Rye reached base for the second time in as many at-bats leading off the inning with walk. After swiping second for his third stolen base of the season, the senior right hander would come around to score on a single through the right side of the infield by Delmonico. After a pickoff at first base retired Delmonico for the second out of the inning, Oravetz followed with a bunt single down the third base foul line to keep the inning alive. Danesh drove in the second run of the game as he smashed an RBI double to the gap in left center just beyond the out stretched glove of Jacksonville left fielder Kyle Fleming.
The lead was short lived as Jacksonville answered with two runs in its half of the fourth on a pair of sacrifice flies to tie the game at two apiece. JU started the inning with a single by Jeremy Gillian and a double to right by Brad Simmons to put runners at second and third and nobody out. Glen Johnson cut the Seminole lead in half with a sac-fly to center to plate the first Dolphin run of the game. After a failed pickoff throw by catcher Buster Posey at second moved Simmons over to third, Matt Lopez sent a second sac-fly to center to knot the game at 2-2.
Both pitchers once again settled in keeping the opposition off the scoreboard in the fifth and sixth. Green earned his third no decision in four starts as he fired a career-high six innings allowing two runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out four in giving the Dolphins a quality start.
JU went to the bullpen to start the seventh brining on Carson Andrew (3-2). The Seminoles took advantage of the call scoring three runs on just one hit. Holt registered the lone hit of the inning chopping an infield single to second with one out. Following a walk to Stidham, the runners advanced a base on a groundout by Buster Posey. With two outs and first base open, the Dolphins intentionally walked Rye to load the bases for Dennis Guinn. The Seminoles put the wheels in motion with Guinn at the plate as Holt took off for home on Andrew’s delivery to the plate. Guinn showing bunt pulled back as Holt easily stole home. On the play, the ball bounced short and trickled all the way to the back stop allowing Stidham to score from second. Rye wound up on third on the play and after a walk to Guinn, Rye scored on Andrew’s second wild pitch of the inning to push the Florida State lead to 5-2.
Jacksonville once again answered the call in the bottom of the seventh scoring a pair of runs with two outs to cut the Seminole advantage to 5-4. McGee got the first two outs to start the seventh, but his night would come to an end after issuing a walk to Thomas Myers and a single back up the middle by Chuck Opachich. Bo O’Dell came on and gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Kevin Ferreira and Kyle Fleming to make it a one-run ball game before getting Gillian to fly out to Holt in center to end the inning.
Florida State added one more run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly RBI by Stidham. Danesh led off the inning with an infield single to third. Smierciak came on to pinch run for Danesh at first and moved up a base as pinch hitter Stuart Tapley drew a four pitch walk. Holt advanced the runners to second and third on a well executed sacrifice bunt up the first base line. JU went to the bullpen for the fourth time on Wednesday night bringing on Matt Tomshaw to face Stidham. The sophomore second base took the first pitch he saw Tomshaw and lofted it deep enough to center scoring Smierciak to push the Seminole lead back to two at 6-4.
The Dolphins, undeterred by the top hitting team in the ACC, piled on one more run to close the gap at 6-5. Simmons drilled a double to right, his second of the game, and came around to score on a bases loaded walk. O’Dell started the bottom of the eighth but left after loading the bases with two outs on consecutive walks. Martin went to the bullpen and called on Jimmy Marshall. The junior right hander fell behind 3-1 to Dolphin pinch hitter Matt Dobbins before Dobbins fouled off back-to-back pitches leading to a bases loaded walk to drive in a run. Marshall bounced back and got Ferreira swinging on strikes to keep the bases loaded and the JU tying run at third.
The Seminoles added an insurance run in the top of ninth with a two-out solo home run off the bat of Oravetz. The junior from Tallahassee, Fla., connected on a 1-2 offering from Tomshaw depositing the ball over the fence in right center for his second round tripper of the season.
Buster Posey entered in the bottom of the ninth and closed the door on the Dolphins to earn his fourth save of the season. The junior right hander allowed a hit, just the second given up in five appearances, while striking out a batter. The Seminoles are 6-for-6 in save opportunities this season.
Florida State returns to action this weekend as they host Virginia for a three-game ACC series at Dick Howser Stadium. It’s the first regular season meeting between the two schools since 2005. First pitch for Friday’s game is set for 7:00 pm. The game will be broadcast live over the web on ACC Select while gametracker will also be available for the contest. Fans can always listen to the action on 1270 the Team with Tom Block providing all the play-by-play action.