May 27, 2006
Jacksonville, FL – Florida State turned an ACC Tournament record-tying, four double plays but it was the one FSU hit into that was the difference in their 8-6 loss to No. 25 NC State in the semifinals of the 2006 ACC Tournament. With FSU trailing 8-6 and with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, the Seminoles hit into their only twin killing of the night ending their best chance of pulling even with NC State (37-21) in the late part of the second semifinal match-up between the teams. FSU (42-19) would cut the lead to one-run in the ninth but eventually fell a game shy of the ACC Tournament Championship game.
“This was a great baseball game,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “NC State was a very tough team. They did everything better than we did tonight. Give them all the credit. I am just proud of the way our ball club fought and hung together. Another hit here or there, who knows? But that is what makes the game great.
“I just can’t say enough about the fight and heart and character of our baseball team.”
For the third time in program history FSU opened the ACC Tournament with a loss but came back to win three straight games. Florida State extended its streak of two-plus wins in the tournament to 15-years, twice as long as any other active streak. FSU defeated three ranked teams in their run to the semifinals and came just one run away from being the lowest-seeded team to ever reach the ACC Championship final.
“We came out here and there was one thing on our mind and that is just fight like heck,” said catcher Danny Diaz. “We gave 100% every pitch.”
“I am just very pleased with our baseball team,” said Martin. “We came down here a little shaky so to speak. We knew we needed to play well to position ourselves for a regional host. I think we played pretty well. I will be anxious to see if the committee sees it the way I do.”
Despite the loss, there was some reason for celebration. Shane Robinson swiped the 98th and 99th bases of his career to become the new stolen base king at FSU passing Jose Marzan who set the mark from 1984-1987.
The Wolfpack put together back-to-back hits on the first two pitches of the game off starter Barret Browning. Tony Thomas, Jr. came up with a big defensive play though like he has done all weekend. The second baseman made a big stop, touched second and then bounced a throw to first that beat the runner in plenty of time for the double play. Browning walked the next batter on four straight to put runners on the corners and then Ryan Pond, the pitcher in game one, delivered an RBI single putting the Pack in front.
For the seventh time in the tournament the Seminoles went yard. Dennis Guinn led off the bottom of the second with a solo shot over the fence in left to even the game. Ryan Strauss drew a walk and then after the first out of the inning a Thomas single and an error put two runners in scoring position. Diaz recorded his fourth sac of the tournament to bring Strauss in as the Seminole lead grew to 2-1. Shane Robinson drew a walk and then swiped his 30th base of the year and the 98th of his career.
Matt Camp opened the third with a double to right. He moved to third on a Ramon Corona single and then the Wolfpack tied the game on a grounder to Thomas. Pond continued to hurt FSU with his bat as he recorded his second RBI single of the game to put the Pack back in front 3-2.
After Browning kept NC State off the board in the top of the fourth, FSU went back on the attack versus reliever Kyle Rutter. Diaz was hit by a pitch and then Robinson stole second swiping the 99th base of his career. A wild pitch on ball four to Jack Rye allowed Diaz to come home and make it a 4-3 game. Rye joined Robinson in scoring position on another wild pitch and then a Buster Posey sac fly scored Robinson with FSU’s fifth run of the game.
The Wolfpack came right back thanks to a single, a two base error and a triple. The three-bagger made it a 5-4 game and then a single tied things up again. That signaled the end of Browning’s day and brought Brian Chambers into the game. He gave up a hit to the first batter he faced and then loaded the bases on a walk. Chambers got his first two outs on a double play but it did allow the Wolfpack to jump back in front 6-5.
After the fifth lead change of the game, FSU tied things up once again this time with a two-out rally. Diaz sent a shot into center field scoring Strauss who had singled earlier in the inning tying things at 6-6.
The see-saw battle continued in the sixth. Travis Burge, who took the loss and fell to 1-1, gave up a lead off single and then a nine-pitch walk put two runners on with nobody away. Burge hit the next batter to load the bases bringing Jimmy Marshall into the game to try and get out of the bases loaded jam. Marshall struck Matt Camp out on a 3-2 pitch. Then a pop up behind the pitcher mound fell in to break the tie and keep the bases loaded. The Seminoles ended the threat with their fourth double play of the night. It tied the single game ACC Tournament record and the single game high for FSU.
For the first time in five innings the Wolfpack kept FSU scoreless in the bottom of the sixth. Then they built on their lead in the seventh. A base hit and a sac bunt put a runner in scoring position. Then a ground out moved the base runner up to third and then the 15th NC State hit of the night made it a 8-6 game.
FSU tried to close the gap in the seventh. Anderson and Thomas both singled and then Diaz got an infield hit to load the bases with one out. Florida State couldn’t convert though as a double play killed the rally.
After Marshall got the first two hitters in the eighth, he walked the next two putting two on with two away. The freshmen got out of the jam though on a fly ball to right field.
Thomas drew a one out walk in the ninth as the Seminoles got the tying run to the plate. NC State pitcher Sam Walls got the next out on a stellar defensive play at third on a well hit ball by Diaz but Robinson came up and cut the lead to just one with an RBI single but that was all the damage the Seminoles could do.
Florida State will find out if it will be an NCAA Regional host site for the 10th consecutive year Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The pairings for the 2006 NCAA Baseball Championship will be announced at 12:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. If FSU is selected to host, ticket information will be available on www.seminoles.com as soon as it is available.