April 16, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – Florida State once again showed its `never give up’ attitude Sunday afternoon but a ninth inning rally came up just short in a 7-5 loss to the fourteenth-ranked Hurricanes (26-13, 11-7). The second-ranked Seminoles (33-6, 13-5) trailed by four runs heading into the bottom of the ninth and cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 7-5 before moving two more runners into scoring position. Miami ace closer Chris Perez got the final out of the game on the Hurricanes’ 13th strikeout of the afternoon ending the Seminoles comeback bid.
“This is very disappointing,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “You have to give Miami a lot of credit. (Miami starter Scott) Maine pitched very well today. He was running his fastball off the plate and we kept swinging at it. The guy really was a big lift to them. Having Perez back (from an illness) was crucial.
“I am very pleased with our fight. Let’s not overlook that.”
The story of the day was the Miami pitching staff. After Maine (6-2) struggled in the first inning, he held the Seminoles off the scoreboard for five straight innings before being charged with a run in the eighth inning. Maine struck out eight batters and walked just two. Overall UM pitchers combined to fan 13 FSU batters. It was the fourth time in the last 10 games the Seminoles have fanned 10 or more times in a game and FSU has now fanned 86 times in the last three ACC series.
“The strikeouts are something we have to cut down on,” said Martin. “You have to put the ball in play. I don’t know how many pitches we swung at out of the zone but I know of a couple called strike threes. We just have to cut down on those strikeouts.”
“All of us chased a lot of pitches today,” said Jack Rye. “Maine did really well today but we have to get good AB’s if we want to reach our goal of the College World Series.”
Shane Robinson had another multi-hit game Sunday as he upped his hit streak to 26 games making the junior the first Seminole to ever record two hit streaks of 26 or more games. Rye was the bright spot of the day for FSU at the plate. The sophomore went 4-for-5 with a double, a homerun and four RBIs.
“I had a good day at the plate but I don’t really look at those things,” said Rye. “It would have been a lot better if we came out with a win.”
Barret Browning got the start for the Seminoles (6-1) but had his shortest outing of the season lasting just three innings. The senior gave up five runs and walked a batter while striking out three. Jimmy Marshall relieved Browning and had the longest stint of his FSU career going four innings and allowing just two runs as he kept FSU in the game setting the stage for the ninth inning comeback attempt.
“Don’t overlook the great job freshman Jimmy Marshall did today,” said Martin. “He went out there in really the first opportunity he had to show what he could do in a game of this magnitude and pitched very well. He kept everything under control and enabled us to get back into it.”
Miami got off to a fast start versus Browning with a double and a bunt single putting runners on the corners. Danny Valencia then scorched a double down the right field line scoring the first run of the game. With runners on second and third, a sac fly drove in the second run before Browning issued his first walk of the game. A hit by pitch loaded the bases up with just one out but back-to-back strikeouts got the FSU starter out of the jam.
Robinson opened the home half of the first with his 12th double of the year and then Rye followed with a double of his own cutting the UM lead to 2-1. Guinn tied the game singling in his 48th run of the year versus Maine (6-2) but the Seminoles couldn’t put another run across leaving two of their seven runners stranded in the game.
Blake Tekotte opened the second with a solo shot over the right field fence putting UM back in the lead 3-2. Then another solo homer in the third by Richard O’Brien extended the Canes’ lead to 4-2.
Miami continued to get on base versus Browning as Walter Diaz opened the fourth with a double. A bunt base hit and an error allowed Miami to plate its fifth run. That ended Browning’s day and brought Marshall into the game who ended the inning.
FSU tried to stage a two out rally in the fifth with back-to-back singles by Robinson and Rye. Florida State was unable to capitalize though as the game moved to the sixth with FSU still trailing 5-2.
The Hurricanes hit their third solo homer of the game in the sixth as Tekotte went yard for the second time in the game.
FSU continued to struggle in keeping Miami off the scoreboard as UM scored another run in the seventh on a two-out RBI single by O’Brien increasing the lead to 7-2.
For the first time since the opening inning of the game the Seminoles got back on the board in the eighth. Rye led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot over the fence in right cutting the lead to 7-3 and bringing reliever Danny Gil into the game. The Hurricane reliever preserved the lead for Maine going into the ninth.
Gil started the final inning off by walking Tony Thomas, Jr. After recording the first out, Thomas swiped second and Josh Spivey was walked putting the potential tying run in the on deck circle. Gil struck out the 12th Seminole of the game for the second out but then plunked Robinson loading the bases for the Seminoles hottest hitter of the day in Rye. The sophomore singled up the middle scoring two runs as FSU cut the lead to 7-5 sending Gil to the dugout.
“I got two strikes on me and I was down in the count,” said Rye of his ninth inning at bat. “All I told myself was `put the ball in play and see what happens’. I definitely didn’t want to strike out. I was able to get the ball in play and it turned out pretty good.”
Ace reliever Chris Perez came into the game and moved the tying runs into scoring position on a wild pitch. After going 2-2 on FSU’s leading homerun hitter and RBI producer in Dennis Guinn, Perez got the sophomore swinging at strike three to end the game.
The Seminoles continue their 11-game home stand versus rival Florida (22-18) Wednesday night at 7:00p.m. The showdown between the Seminoles and Gators will be shown live on SUN Sports on Comcast Cable channel 28 locally. Every Seminole baseball game will be carried live on WFLA and on Seminoles.com where broadcasts are free of charge. Game Tracker will also be available for every FSU game in 2006.