April 21, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – Florida State hasn’t had much luck facing Georgia Tech lately and that did not change Friday night in the series opener. The eighth-ranked Yellow Jackets (30-9, 11-8) came back from an early 6-0 deficit to down the Seminoles 15-8. Tech used an eight-run fifth inning to storm back into the lead and then scored seven unanswered runs after FSU (33-8, 13-6) tied the game at 8-8. It is the sixth straight win for the Yellow Jackets in the series and the seventh straight regular season win for Tech versus Florida State.
“It was unfortunate the way things worked out tonight,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “Certainly no Seminole is happy tonight, certainly not me. You have to be able to understand the game. There are going to be problems some nights. This one just happened to get ugly.
“(Georgia Tech) does a very good job. They are a very good baseball team. It is obviously concerning for us not being able to hold them down. For a team to come in and score 15 runs against us in our own backyard, that isn’t any fun. You also have to tip your hat to the other club some nights. We had that bad inning. We just couldn’t get out of it.”
After FSU scored in each of the first four innings to get out to a 6-0 lead, the Yellow Jackets scored the most runs in an inning allowed by FSU since the teams last met in the 2005 ACC Tournament when Georgia Tech scored seven runs in two frames. The big shot was a grand slam by Danny Payne. It was the second straight game in which FSU ace starter Bryan Henry has given up a bases loaded homerun. He also walked two batters and hit another in the inning. The two walks in one frame were equal to or more than the number of walks Henry had allowed in eight of his 12 starts.
“In the game of baseball the hitters at this level are so good, you just can’t make any mistakes,” said Henry. “They will take advantage of free passes. That is the biggest thing. I am a control guy. I can’t go out there and put three guys on with walks and hit by pitches. That is inexcusable. That is something I have to work on.”
“(Bryan Henry) was struggling getting his curveball over,” said Martin. “He hit two guys with his breaking ball. That may go unnoticed in the box score but he had to confine himself to one pitch, the fastball. You are not going to beat Georgia Tech throwing fastballs only. You have to be able to change speeds. He just wasn’t able to do that.”
Neither starter figured in the decisions as Tech reliever Brad Rulon (3-0) picked up the win while Brian Chamber (0-2) was addled with the loss. Dennis Guinn led FSU with three RBIs and Shane Robinson, Jack Rye and Josh Spivey had multiple hit nights. Robinson also swiped two bases moving him into a tie for third all-time with 91 in his career.
The Seminoles looked to get off to a good start versus Tech and Robinson did just that. The junior singled off Tech starter Blake Wood and then swiped his 90th career base, tying him for fourth all-time. A perfect bunt by Rye put runners on the corners and then an error scored Robinson and kept the Seminoles in position to add to the lead with Rye on third and Guinn on first. Guinn was thrown out trying to take second but Rye was able to come home on the throw down making it a 2-0 game.
Henry put his first two runners of the game on board in the second via a walk and a hit by pitch but the Seminoles got out of the jam on a double play to end the top of the second.
FSU looked to add to the lead in the second as Tony Thomas, Jr. led off with a single and Spivey followed with a double down the left field line. The third run of the game came in on a Wood wild pitch.
The Seminoles staged a two-out rally in the third that began with back-to-back walks. Spivey and Mark Gildea both followed with base hits to extend the FSU lead to 5-0. Another Wood walk loaded the bases but FSU was unable to cash in as the game moved into the fourth.
Rye opened the fourth with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Guinn then drove the run in on a sac fly.
The Yellow Jackets put a couple runners on in the fifth with nobody away when Henry walked the bases loaded. The junior hit the next batter to force in the first Georgia Tech run of the night. Tech then got right back in the game with one swing of the bat as Payne hit his 11th homerun, a grand slam, making it a 6-5 game.
“It was just a fastball I had to get over in that situation. I didn’t want to fall behind 3-1,” said Henry of the pitch to Payne. “It was inner third where it was supposed to be. It was up and he deposited it.”
That brought Barret Browning in to relieve Henry and the junior was able to get two outs but loaded the bases once again in the process. Browning walked in the tying run and once again got one strike away from ending the inning before a single plated two more runs as Tech completed its comeback from a 6-0 deficit to go in front for the first time 8-6. Travis Burge came in and got the Seminoles out of the top of the fifth.
In the top of the sixth the Jackets looked to build on their lead with a single and a double putting two in scoring position with just one out. Burge got the next batter looking at strike three and then Chambers came in and finished off the inning.
Robinson opened the bottom half of the sixth with a single up the middle. Rye then drew a walk off reliever Tim Gustafson to put two on with nobody out. A double steal moved both runners into scoring position. Guinn then came through with a single to right plating the seventh FSU run. New pitcher Rulon hit Ryne Malone to load the bases as Tech still looked for the first out. The Yellow Jackets got the first two outs on a double play but the tying run did come home on the grounder.
A leadoff walk and a bad hop single, sandwiched around an out, put a Georgia Tech runner back in scoring position. Chambers then fanned the next batter giving way to Matt DiBlasi who loaded the bases on a hit by pitch. The senior got one strike away from ending the inning before Steven Blackwood hit a double into the gap in left making it an 11-8 game.
Tommy Oravetz led off the seventh with a walk, his seventh of the season. After back-to-back K’s, Robinson drew another walk to put two on but Tech reliever Lee Hyde ended the inning with three straight strikes as FSU K’ed for the ninth time.
Georgia Tech increased its lead in the eighth. A two-out base hit by Michael Fisher plated Whit Robbins as the 12th Jacket run came around to score. Payne singled in another run as the two-outs runs continued to pile up for Tech.
Two more runs scored with two outs in the ninth for the Yellow Jackets as two Seminole errors allowed Georgia Tech to go in front 15-8.
The Seminoles continue their series with Georgia Tech Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be shown live on SUN Sports. 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.