June 4, 2006
Athens, GA – Its going to take one more day to decide which team will advance out of the NCAA Athens Regional. The eighth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (44-20) staved off elimination Sunday with a 7-1 victory over No. 18 Florida State (44-20). It was the second win of the day for UGA, who beat Jacksonville in an elimination game earlier Sunday. The teams will meet for the third time in the Regional Monday at 7:00 p.m. with the winner moving on to the NCAA Super Regionals.
The Bulldogs controlled the FSU bats for the first time in 14 games as they held the Seminoles to their fewest runs since a 9-1 loss to Clemson May 12. After three scoreless innings the Dogs broke out to an early 2-0 lead and then piled on five more runs in the final three innings to stay alive in the NCAA Tournament.
“I think it is pretty easy (to know what happened) if you saw the ball game. Georgia just beat us,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “They got it done.”
The Seminoles could not get on track versus Georgia freshman Jason Leaver (3-2). The right-hander limited the Seminoles to just one run on six hits through five innings of work. He did not strikeout a batter but he did not walk anyone either. Leaver and the Georgia pitching staff navigated their way out of numerous jams as Florida State stranded 11 runners in the game.
“Bryan (Henry) came out and pitched a heck of a game today and we couldn’t give him any run support early,” said Shane Robinson. “He came out there and did his job. We didn’t swing the bats as well as we wanted to early in the game. It was too little too late. We couldn’t get any momentum, get things going. We battled the whole night, stayed positive but like coach said Georgia came out and played a great game.”
“We had some very good at bats, we sure did,” said Martin. “I thought the Georgia pitchers made very good pitches when we had some chances. They also made some very good plays.”
Bryan Henry was saddled with the loss and dropped to 9-4 on the season. The junior pitched into the eighth inning for the fourth time in his last five starts. He gave up six runs, five of which were earned, he fanned two and walked two as well. He threw 122 pitches on the night.
“I am just so pleased with this young man to my right (Henry),” said Martin. “I thought he threw an excellent ball game. He was doing everything he could to get us through the eighth inning to keep us from going to the bullpen. After he got to 122 (pitches), we felt it was time to get him. He did a great job.”
Henry got the first batter of the game on a grounder to short but he hit hot-hitting Joey Side to put a runner on but the Seminole hurler came back and got the next two Bulldog batters in order.
Buster Posey recorded the first hit of the game. The Georgia native recorded a two-out, infield single off Leaver but he was stranded on first.
FSU put a runner into scoring position in the second. Travis Anderson reached on an error and moved to second on a wild pitch. Tony Thomas, Jr. then singled to right field but Anderson was thrown out at the plate ending the inning.
Georgia recorded its first hit of the game as Matthew Dunn singled up the middle with one out in the third. Henry walked his second batter of the game with two away but got out of the third with a foul out.
For the second straight inning Georgia put a runner in scoring position. In the fourth Bobby Felmy hit a one-out double just past a diving Jack Rye in right center. Henry got the second out on a liner to right but he couldn’t escape the inning as Matt Olson singled the run home giving Georgia its first lead over FSU in the Regional. Another single put runners on the corners and the bottom of the order continued to come through. Number nine hitter singled again, this time down the left field line making it a 2-0 Georgia lead.
Leaver retired seven straight Seminoles until Ryan Strauss’ one-out single through the left side in the fifth but FSU could not turn it into a run.
Georgia tried to add to the lead in the sixth. A one-out base hit and a two-out smash off of Henry’s leg put a couple Bulldogs on base. UGA looked like they were going to cash in but Shane Robinson’s diving grab in the gap in left ended the inning and saved a run.
Robinson followed his big play in the outfield by hitting the first pitch he saw through the infield for just the fourth hit of the day for FSU. Rye followed with a single of his own as FSU recorded back-to-back hits for the first time versus Leaver. Buster Posey loaded the bases up with the third straight FSU hit chasing Leaver from the game and bringing in Rip Warren. The senior pitched three scoreless innings versus FSU Saturday night. Dennis Guinn lined the second Warren pitch to second base. It allowed Robinson to come home but looked to be a double play but the UGA second baseman was called off the bag keeping two on with just one out. Warren got Ryne Malone to ground out to second putting runners on the corners with two down but FSU could not get another run across as Warren fanned Anderson for the third out.
“We did have a good opportunity there, we sure did,” said Martin. “(Ryan) Peisel (Georgia’s third baseman) made a nice play on that ball. He was positioned perfectly. Dennis hit that ball if I am not mistaken. He was guarding the line. Had he been somewhere else it could have been a bases clearing double. It was a nice play that Peisel made.”
The Dogs opened the seventh with a Jonathan Wyatt single to left. It was the first hit by any of the top four hitters in the Georgia batting order. FSU’s first error of the game put two on and then Josh Morris cleared the bases. The junior hit his 23rd homer of the season putting the Bulldogs in a commanding 5-1 lead.
“The count being 3-1, we wanted to make him put it into play,” said Henry of the pitch Morris hit out. “The ball was where it was supposed to be, outside. He is just a big, strong guy and was able to pull it over the fence. You didn’t want to load the bases with there being just one out. I wanted to go after him and he got the best of me.”
Strauss started the bottom of the seventh with his second straight hit. It was just the second hit of the Regional for FSU off of Warren. The Georgia hurler fanned the next two batters before walking Robinson on a 3-2 pitch. Once again the Seminoles couldn’t find the big hit they needed as Warren got a fly ball out to end the inning.
The Bulldogs led off the eighth with a bunt base hit ending Henry’s day and bringing Jimmy Marshall into the game. The first pitch of Marshall’s NCAA Tournament career was sent through the right side on a hit and run. With runners on the corners and nobody out Georgia hit and run again and it worked again. A single chopped over the head of first baseman Dennis Guinn plated another UGA run as the lead grew to 6-1. Controversy reigned on the next play as Wyatt hit a sharp grounder to first. Guinn touched the bag and then came home with the throw. The base runner was obstructed by the ump but tagged out. The home plate ump called the runner safe before the umps met as a group and overturned the call giving the Seminoles a double play. During the play Matthew Dunn moved all the way to third. That was as far as he would get though as a fly ball out ended the inning.
Ace closer Josh Fields took the hill for UGA in the eighth. He walked Guinn and then gave up a two-out single to Anderson. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch and then another walk loaded the bases. The Seminoles could not plat a run though as a ground out left the bases full as FSU’s runners left on base count grew to 10.
An error, base hit and wild pitch put two Bulldogs in scoring position in the top of the ninth with just one away. A walk loaded the bases and then a sac fly increased the lead to 7-1.
Florida State and Georgia will face off for the right to play in the Super Regional Monday at 7:00 p.m. If the Seminoles win, they will advance to their eighth straight Super Regional. The game will be carried live on SUN Sports, FSN South and Turner South. Please check your local listings for the channel in your area that will carry the game. Steve Melewski will also bring the game to you live on 1270 WFLA in Tallahassee and over the Internet at Seminoles.com. Game Tracker will also be available for the winner’s bracket game.
NOTES: Danny Diaz threw out his 13th runner attempting to steal in 49 opportunities…Bryan Henry has pitched seven or more innings in four of his last five starts…Freshman shortstop Buster Posey recorded his 27th multi-hit game of the season. He now has a hit in 50 games with 54% of those being multiple hit outings…FSU is now 5-8 this season in televised games.