May. 1, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – The Virginia Cavaliers came into Tallahassee winners of six straight including a three-game sweep of the ACC’s top team Georgia Tech. They were the hottest team in the conference with the league’s second-best pitching staff. That didn’t stop the 15th-ranked Seminoles from scoring 15 runs in their two wins though as they took the series thanks to a 7-2 victory in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday. Florida State (37-14, 12-9) used a five-run seventh to blow the game open and Kevin Lynch (7-0) picked up his team leading seventh win with three strong innings of relief.
The Cavaliers, who lost the opener 8-1, evened the series earlier in the day with a 6-2 victory but the Seminoles secured the series win thanks to Lynch’s pitching and key hits by Rye and Ryne Malone. The loss dropped the Cavaliers to 31-15 and 10-12 in the ACC.
“You have to give credit to the University of Virginia for that first game today,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “(Mike) Ballard pitched a great ball game. The second game was a total reversal. We needed that ballgame. For us to win two out of three was extremely important. This was a very, very important game for us.”
“Getting a win in a conference series is big but especially against Virginia,” said Malone. “It gives us some momentum as we head down the stretch and try to position ourselves for the ACC Tournament and Regionals.”
Lynch once again came through in a big way for Florida State. The senior, who set a new personal best with his 31st appearance, followed Michael Hyde after the freshman pitched five strong innings allowing just two runs. Lynch came in with runners on the corners and gave up a single to give UVa the lead. He then pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam with just one out to keep FSU in the game. Lynch now has 121 career appearances and has equaled his win total from his sophomore and junior seasons combined.
“I am a competitive guy and I like challenges,” said Lynch. “I guess I can’t get people out unless the bases are loaded then I am able to strike people out. We have to win every series from here on out and we should what we are made of after losing that first game today but coming back to take the series.”
Getting two strikeouts to get out of the bases loaded jam seemed to fire FSU up as the Seminoles scored six of their seven runs in the next two innings. The biggest hits came in the five-run seventh where Rye recorded two RBI’s to make it a 4-2 game and then Malone hit a three-run homer to extend the lead to 7-2.
“We did a good job that inning just in general getting guys on,” said Malone. “It is about getting good pitches to hit and then trying to drive runs in when you have the opportunity.”
“It felt good to get that hit,” said Rye. “It gave us some confidence and after Malone’s home run, it was over.”
Just like they did in game one of the doubleheader, the Cavaliers took an early lead due to the long ball. Matt Street blasted a shot off the top of the scoreboard in left field in the top of the third for a 1-0 lead.
The Seminoles didn’t even put a man on base until the fourth when Shane Robinson drew a lead-off walk and he was followed by Malone who also worked out a free pass. Gibbs Chapman sacrificed the runners into scoring position and then a second straight sac bunt from Aaron Cheesman evened the game at 1-1.
Virginia looked to take the lead back in the sixth as they put runners on the corners with nobody out. That brought Lynch into the game and the senior’s first pitch was sent into right field breaking the tie. A sac bunt moved both runners into scoring position and then Lynch went 3-0 on the next hitter before intentionally walking the bases loaded. The senior got the next batter swinging at strike three for the second out and then fanned the next hitter to end the threat.
“Kevin enjoys every opportunity that gives him a chance to pitch,” said Martin. “You can’t expect him to come in and get people out every single time. He did a very good job that inning of getting his team into the dugout with just one run scoring. If you only give up one run in the situation he inherited, you really got to be pleased.”
Robinson led off the sixth with just FSU’s second hit of the day versus Virginia starter Jeff Kamrath. He then swiped second before the hurler got the first out of the inning on a K. A balk moved Robinson to third and Chapman then drove the run home on a sac fly.
Casey Lambert (1-3) came on in relief in the seventh and walked the first batter he faced. Pinch hitter Brant Peacher then doubled down the left field line putting runners at second and third. Rye then smashed a shot to third that bounced over the fielder scoring both runners and putting the Seminoles in front for the first time on the day. After a Tony Thomas, Jr. sac, Robinson popped a ball up into shallow right that was lost in the sun putting runners on the corners. Malone then broke the game open with a towering shot over the fence in right center making it a 7-2 game.
The Seminoles then return to action Tuesday night in Gainesville for the rubber match of the three game series with the third-ranked Gators (31-12). The game is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be shown live on Sun Sports. Game Tracker will be available for all this year’s games along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.
Seminole baseball fans remember that the second Mike Martin Luncheon is scheduled for Monday, May 2 at the University Center Club. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the program begins at 12:00 p.m. Tickets are $10. Hear from the Seminole head coach as his team chases after another ACC Championship.