May 24, 2008
Jacksonville, Fla. – In a game with possible national seeding implications for the NCAA Tournament which begins next week, fourth-ranked Florida State (48-10) scored six runs in the top of the ninth to rally past top-ranked North Carolina (46-12) 9-6 Saturday evening at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Seminoles erased a pair of two-run deficits in the final game of the ACC Baseball Championship finishing the tournament with a 2-1 record.
Trailing by two entering the top of the ninth, Florida State got a one out, two-run single by pinch hitter Buster Posey to tie the game at five. Stuart Tapley followed with a base hit through the left side on a hit and run before play was halted for 64 minutes due to severe weather in the area. When play resumed Jack Rye gave the Seminoles the lead for good with a base hit through the right side scoring pinch runner Ruairi O’Connor from second. Dennis Guinn added to the lead with an RBI single to right while Tony Delmonico registered a sacrifice fly to right scoring Rye. Tommy Oravetz capped off the scoring in the inning with a base hit to center bringing home Guinn for the sixth run of the inning.
Six straight Seminoles reached base including five consecutive singles during the ninth inning rally. The six runs were the most scored in the ninth since the Seminoles posted five in a come-from-behind victory over Stetson in DeLand back on April 30.
UNC would make it interesting in the ninth plating a run to cut the deficit to three, but Jimmy Marshall got pinch hitter Brett Thomas looking on strikes with the bases loaded to close out the game. Marshall got the win as he moved to 6-2 on the year.
Making just his fifth start of the season behind the plate, Parker Brunelle went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Stuart Tapley and Jack Rye each registered three hits on Saturday to pace the Seminole offense. All three of Tapley’s hits came in his final three at-bats, while Rye recorded a pair of doubles and single. Buster Posey reached the 100 hit plateau with his pinch hit single in the ninth. Stephen Cardullo also picked up a pinch hit single in the ninth inning rally and scored the tying run on Posey’s base hit.
North Carolina struck early with a run in the first on a sacrifice fly RBI off the bat of Chad Flack. The Tar Heels wasted little time loading the bases off FSU starter Elih Villanueva with back-to-back singles on just two pitches by Dustin Ackley and Kyle Shelton followed by a walk to Tim Fedroff. Flack provided the first run of the game on his sixth sac-fly of the year. Villanueva escaped further damage by getting Kyle Seager to ground into an inning ending double play.
The Tar Heels got a two-out run in the second to increase their lead to 2-0. Seth Williams began the two-out rally as he was hit by a pitch on the first offering from Villanueva, his team leading 11th of the season. Williams advanced to second on a single up the middle by Garrett Gore and scored one batter later on an RBI single to right center by Ackley.
Florida State tied the game in the fifth with a two-out, two run single by Brunelle. The freshman catcher, who was making his fifth start of the season behind the plate, laced the first pitch he saw from Tar Heel starter Adam Warren to the gap in right center scoring Delmonico and Ohmed Danesh. Delmonico got things started with a single to right center and then successfully advanced to second on his 12th stolen base of the year. Danesh drew a two-out walk.
UNC answered right back in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single up the middle by Fedroff to retake the lead at 3-2. Shelton, who was plunked by Villanueva, stolen second and came around to score on Fedroff’s first base hit of the game.
Villanueva’s afternoon would come to a close after five innings as the junior right hander gave up three runs on six hits as he walked two and struck out a pair. It was the most runs given up by Villanueva since allowing five against Miami back on April 20, a span covering his last five starts.
The Tar Heels increased their lead to 4-2 as Shelton collected an RBI on a bases loaded walk. FSU reliever Geoff Parker issued three walks in the inning including an intentional pass to Ackley. Federowicz led off the sixth with a free pass and scored to give the Heels a two-run advantage.
Delmonico drew the Seminoles within one of the Tar Heel lead in the eighth as he collected an RBI on a bases loaded walk. Florida State put together some noise with two outs beginning with a bunt single by Stuart Tapley. Jack Rye followed with a double down the right field line as the ball glanced off the glove of the diving Ackley at first. After Guinn was hit by a pitch, Delmonico stepped in against Rob Wooten and drew a five pitch walk scoring Tapley to cut the lead to 4-3.
UNC once again answered the call with a run in the eighth to increase its lead back to two at 5-3. A leadoff walk would once again come back to haunt the Seminoles as Mark Fleury drew a walk off reliever John Gast to begin the inning. Consecutive singles by Williams and Ryan Graepal loaded the bases with no one out. Ackley came through with his second RBI of the game as he ripped a liner back towards the pitchers mound. Gast deflected the ball on the play and Delmonico was there to fire on to first for the out. Fleury scored on the play. The Tar Heels looked as though they would add to their lead on a fly ball out to right by Shelton but Jack Rye threw a strike to Brunelle at the plate to get Williams coming home from third for the final out of the inning.
Florida State will now await its fate as the NCAA will announce its field of 64 teams on Monday, May 26 at 12:30 pm on ESPN. The NCAA will also announce the 16 host sites for next weekend’s regional on Sunday, May 25 at 7:00 pm on ESPN2.
Junior catcher Buster Posey was not in the starting line-up on Saturday, May 24 ending a streak of 184 consecutive games. He was held out of Saturday’s game against North Carolina due to rest. Posey had started every game in a Seminole uniform since arriving on campus in 2006.