April 4, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It was a battle for 27 outs but in the end fourth-ranked Florida State (21-6, 7-5 ACC) held on for the 9-6 victory over Virginia Tech (20-10, 6-6 ACC) Sunday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles scored seven runs over their final two at-bats to cap the come-from-behind victory and to give Hall of Fame head coach Mike Martin career win No. 1,600.
Martin becomes just the fourth coach all-time to achieve 1,600 career victories and just the third at the Division I level. The Seminole ball coach now joins an elusive Division I group that includes Texas’ Augie Garrido and Wichita State’s Gene Stephenson.
“Well I have to admit, I’m glad it’s finally over with,” said head coach Mike Martin on achieving career win No. 1,600. “I think the guys were anxious to get a win whether it was Friday, Saturday or today. They are a bunch of outstanding competitors and now we move on and continue to play some baseball.”
“It was great, especially on a day like Easter when you want to do something special,” said James Ramsey on the team getting Coach Martin win No. 1,600. “I am just glad we got Coach Martin that win, he is a great man of his faith and he leads us in the right direction.”
With the win, the Seminoles also avoided their first ACC series sweep at home since 2006.
“It was a great win for us today,” added Martin. “Brian Busch pitched extremely well today, I just can’t say enough about him. Daniel Bennett did a good job when he came in there and of course Michael comes in and gets another save.”
“We needed this; we needed this for our season, for post season, everything,” said catcher Parker Brunelle. “Every game is a big game, but this being a conference game, our backs against the wall, to see our team come out fighting and pull out a win like that is big time.”
Florida State never led on Sunday until a pair of two-run home runs in the seventh off the bat of Parker Brunelle and James Ramsey gave the Seminoles their first lead of the game and just their second lead all weekend against the Hokies.
Trailing 4-2 in the seventh, the Seminoles drew even courtesy of Brunelle’s two-run shot. Following a walk to Jayce Boyd to start the bottom half of the inning, Brunelle took the first pitch from Virginia Tech starter Jesse Hahn over the fence in right for his second home run of the season.
“It was a first pitch fastball,” added Brunelle. “I went up there with the mindset of looking for a fastball. He was throwing really well; he was bringing it pretty hard. I knew he was confident with his pitches…I went up there looking for a fastball and I was just trying to make solid contact. He ended up putting one where I liked it and I was able to turn on it, make contact and put it out.”
FSU then went on top when Ramsey unloaded on a two-run shot to right off Hokie reliever Manny Martir (2-2). After a two-out infield single by Mike McGee, Ramsey connected on a 2-0 pitch from Martir for his fourth home run of the season.
“I was leaning in on a 2-0 fastball,” said Ramsey. “The guy gave me a good pitch to hit, so I wanted to do the most I could with it.”
The lead was short lived as with one swing of the bat the Hokies’ Steve Domecus tied the game at 6-6. Tony Balisteri started the top of the eighth drawing a four pitch walk from Brian Busch, ending the afternoon for the sophomore southpaw. Daniel Bennett entered and on the second pitch, Domecus got just enough to clear the wall in left and just beyond the outstretched glove of McGee for his team leading seventh home run of the season.
“It was a day in which we fell behind, we tie it up, we go ahead, their guy hits the ball out of the ball park. It was a very usual display of home run ability off of a guy like Daniel Bennett, but it goes to show you how good Virginia Tech is, they are a very good looking ball club,” said Martin.
The Seminoles responded with three runs in the eighth for the winning margin at 9-6. Boyd drew a walk to start the bottom of the eighth and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Brunelle. A sharp single to short by Florida State’s Tyler Holt but runners at the corners and one out. With Sherman Johnson at the plate, Martir unleashed a wild pitch scoring Boyd from third to give FSU the lead at 7-6. Following a walk to Sherman Johnson and another wild pitch, Martir intentionally walked McGee loading the bases for Ramsey. The sophomore right fielder came through in the clutch finding the whole in short center for a two-run single to give FSU a three-run lead.
Mike McGee pitched the ninth to earn his fourth save in as many chances. As was the case all weekend long, the Hokies would not go down without a fight as Anthony Sosnoskie led off the inning with a walk. After a fly out to right, McGee gave up a single through the right side off the bat of pinch hitter Matt Blow. But the junior right hander would settle down getting Balisteri swinging on strikes and Domecus to fly out to center for the final out of the game.
“We earned everything we got today,” added Martin. “There were no gifts. We got exceptional clutch hitting from James Ramsey, a guy that is the son of a person that was on the first team that I coached back in 1980, Craig Ramsey. The Ramsey family is very dear to all of us and it meant a lot that Ramsey would have four big RBI in this ball game to get us the win.”
Ramsey tied a career-high with four RBI on Sunday, while he and Stuart Tapley led the Seminole offense with two hits a piece. Brunelle finished the afternoon 1-for-3 with three RBI. Sherman Johnson registered a base hit in the first inning to extend his current hit streak to a career-best 10 games.
Bennett (1-0) picked up his first collegiate win as the Tallahassee, Fla., native worked an inning giving up a run on two hits as he struck out one. Despite giving up a career-high five walks, Busch was once again effective out of the bullpen limiting the Hokies to just one run on two hits. He finished the afternoon with four strikeouts.
Virginia Tech went on top early on Sunday thanks to a two-run home run off the bat of Tim Smalling in the top of the first. Geoff Parker set down the first two Hokie batters that he faced until issuing a walk to Austin Wates. He then fell behind in the count to Smalling and on a 3-1 pitch the Hokie shortstop sent a blast out of the park to left for his fourth home run of the season.
The Seminoles avoided further damage following a defensive miscue in the top of the second. With runners at first and second and two outs, Domecus hit a groundball to short. Stephen Cardullo was set to go to second for the final out but no one was covering the bag. The split decision resulted in enough time for Domecus to reach safely at first. The play did not faze Parker as he got Buddy Sosnoskie to ground out to second for the final out of the inning.
FSU tied the game at two scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Tapley started things with a single back up the middle. He moved to second on a groundout to second by Cardullo and advanced to third on a play reminiscent of what happened to the Seminole defense in the top of the inning. Hokie third baseman Tony Balisteri tried to tag Tapley coming to third, but was unsuccessful. The indecisiveness resulted in Devon Travis reaching first safely. Boyd stepped in and brought home the first Seminole run of the game doubling down the line in left scoring Tapley. Brunelle tied the game with an RBI groundout to second.
The tie did not last long as the Hokies responded with a pair of runs to push their lead back to two. Austin Wates led off the third inning with a solo shot out to right center, his fourth home run of the season. Ronnie Shaban followed two batters later with a double to left and scored on a fielding error by Ramsey in right. Michael Seaborn sent a single to right but Ramsey could not field the ball cleanly resulting in Shaban crossing the plate for the fourth Hokie run of the game.
Parker went just three innings as he was charged with four runs, three earned, on six hits as the junior right hander walked one and struck out three.
Busch started the fourth and escaped a bases loaded, one out jam getting Smalling looking on a called third strike and Shaban to groundout to first.
The bottom of the fourth started well for the Seminoles as Cardullo led off with a walk and moved to third on a single to left center by Travis. But Hahn then registered a key double play as he got Boyd swinging on strikes, while Travis was gunned down at second on an attempted stolen base. The Hokie right hander kept their lead at two as he got Brunelle to ground out to short for the final out of the inning.
For the second inning in a row, the Hokies loaded the bases off Busch with the Seminole southpaw getting out of the jam unscathed. After walking the bases loaded, Busch got Domecus to fly out to short right and then Buddy Sosnoskie to ground back toward the pitcher’s mound for out number three.
“They are a very good team, one of the best in the ACC,” added Ramsey. “Virginia Tech came out this weekend, they fought and swung the bats real well and played solid defense. We knew we had to play our best and if we do that we can play with any one in the country.”
Florida State is back in action with a pair of mid-week contests against North Florida. The Seminoles and Ospreys will split a home-in-home series beginning Tuesday, April 6 at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville before returning to Tallahassee on Wednesday, April 7. Both games are set for a 6:00 p.m. first pitch. Fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team and 94.3 FM and on the web at Seminoles.com.