June 1, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State (48-11) rallied from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh to take the opening round game of the Tallahassee Regional with a 6-2 victory over Bethune-Cookman (33-26) on Friday night. The Seminoles were kept off the scoreboard through six innings before sending nine batters to the plate in a five-run seventh to take the lead for good. The win was FSU’s 15th straight to open regional play.
Mark Hallberg and Buster Posey provided a good portion of the offense on Friday night as the two combined for five hits, three RBI’s and two runs scored. Hallberg gave the Seminoles their first lead of the game as he drove home Brandon Reichert on a double to the gap in right center. Buster Posey followed with a monster, two-run homer which cleared the scoreboard in left giving the Seminoles a 5-2 advantage.
“I got a 2-0 count, I was looking for a fastball over the plate,” said Hallberg. “I got a fastball; put a good swing on it, the rest is history. It was a fun thing to be part of tonight.”
Jason Stidham also had a two-hit night as he connected on his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot over the fence in right center. The freshman third baseman has now registered multiple hits in five of his last seven games.
“It was a heck of a ballgame,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I’m very, very impressed with Rodriguez (Francisco Rodriguez). I thought he kept us off balance as well as anybody. He really was an impressive guy. Their whole team was very impressive but that is what you expect when you get to this point in the season.”
Bethune-Cookman broke through first on a solo home run by Alejandro Jimenez. With one out in the second, Jimenez took the first pitch he saw from FSU starter Michael Hyde and sent it over the fence in right center for his sixth round tripper of the season. The Wildcats then registered back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases for left fielder Neal Jones, who pushed B-CU’s lead to 2-0 on a sacrifice fly RBI to left field scoring Drew Clark.
The Seminoles threatened in the third but left a pair of runners stranded in scoring position. Reichert drew a one out walk and advanced to third on a double to right by Hallberg. But Wildcat southpaw Francisco Rodriguez got Posey to groundout to second to end the inning.
Hyde settled down after the rocky second inning and set down nine consecutive Wildcat batters before giving up a single to shortstop Chris Henault with one out in top of the sixth. That would end the evening for the senior right hander as Hyde worked 5.1 innings giving up two runs on seven hits. He
walked two and struck out five as he earned the no decision. Hyde put together another impressive postseason performance in his third career start as a Seminole as he has now allowed just four runs covering 16.1 innings.
Freshman Matt Fairel came out of the bullpen and induced a groundball double play to close out the sixth.
In the seventh the Seminoles were finally able to solve Rodriguez chasing the senior southpaw after just four batters in the inning. FSU sent nine batters to the plate as they saw three different B-CU pitchers. Florida State scored five runs on four hits highlighted by Posey’s monster two-run homer over the scoreboard. Stidham led off the inning with single to right and moved to second on a four pitch walk to D’Vontrey Richardson. Reichert followed with an RBI single to right field scoring Stidham and ending the evening for Rodriguez.
The Wildcat starter threw 6.1 innings giving up three runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked three. Rodriguez kept the Seminole offense in check for six innings as he gave up four hits and allowed just one runner to get to third before the seventh inning. Rodriguez suffered the loss dropping his record to 10-4 on the year.
Felix Machado entered out of the pen to face Thomas and gave up a sacrifice fly RBI to center scoring Richardson and trying the game at two. Hallberg would give the Seminoles the lead for good as he laced a double to right center scoring Reichert all the way from first. Posey then pushed FSU’s lead to 5-2 as he took a 1-0 offering from Machado and deposited it over the scoreboard for his third home run of the season.
“I felt pretty good,” said Posey. . “That’s what I love about this time of year, playoff baseball. You can feel it not only in the stands, but with the team as well. I was pleased to come up with the big hit.”
Stidham added an insurance run in the eighth blasting a solo home run to make the score 6-2. It was Stidham’s second hit in as many innings and his fifth round tripper of the year.
The two home runs hit by Florida State marked the fourth time this year that the Seminoles registered two home runs in the same game.
Fairel (2-0) was lights out in relief as he threw 2.2 shutout innings. The freshman left hander did not give up a hit or walk while striking out one in picking up his second win of the season.
Travis Burge closed out the game pitching the ninth and ended the game in style as he struck out pinch hitter Jorge Velez.
“A lot of things impressed me about our club. One was Michael’s (Hyde) perseverance. He just continued to battle when things weren’t going exactly right for his team offensively and he kept his team in the game and gave us a chance. Then Matt (Fairel) came in and pitched beautifully and of course we know all of the big hits in the game. Buster’s home run was huge and a lot of guys contributed greatly in the inning that we scored five,” said Martin.
Florida State will return to action on Saturday, June 2 for day two of competition at the 2007 NCAA Tallahassee Regional. The Seminoles will square-off against Mississippi State at 7:00 pm. FSU will throw right hander Bryan Henry, while the Bulldogs will counter with left hander Justin Pigott. Saturday’s game will be shown live on Sun Sports, while fans can also follow the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM.