March 19, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Heartbreak followed Florida State to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Steven Proscia’s 11th-inning walk-off single delivered fifth-ranked Virginia a 4-3 victory over the fourth-ranked Seminoles Friday night at Davenport Field. It was the second consecutive extra inning loss for the Seminoles (15-3, 3-1 ACC), who fell at No. 1 Florida 5-4 in 10 innings Tuesday night.
“We played well, didn’t make an error, got more hits than the other club and lose it 4-3,” said FSU coach Mike Martin. “How do you explain it? It’s just baseball.”
A crowd of 4,268 turned out to see the marquee pitching match between FSU’s Sean Gilmartin and Virginia’s Danny Hultzen. The two left-handers didn’t disappoint, though neither was around for the finish.
Gilmartin allowed five hits and three earned runs over 7.1 innings, striking out five. Hultzen struck out 12, but yielded six hits and three runs, but departed after seven innings. Their performances certainly lived up to its pre-game billing.
“Yes it did,” said Martin. “I can’t say enough about how pleased I am for the way that Gilly pitched. Daniel Bennett pitched beautifully. It’s just a tough loss.”
Bennett (1-1) was saddled with the loss when the Cavaliers came through in the bottom of the 11th with a two-out rally. John Hicks doubled to left and the Seminoles intentionally walked Hultzen to set up a force. Proscia followed with a line drive that sailed over left fielder Seth Miller’s head as Hicks was mobbed at home after scoring the winning run.
The Cavaliers (18-1, 4-0) recorded their 12th consecutive victory, but it didn’t come up easy.
The Seminoles were more than up for the challenge of facing Hultzen. They scored more runs and collected more hits than he had allowed in his four previous starts.
“We were definitely happy with the way we started off,” said FSU senior Mike McGee. “We were swinging at pitches we should have been swinging at and not swinging at pitches we shouldn’t. We were making him work for everything he was getting and I was proud of the way we played today.
“It’s just one of those things that didn’t work out.”
It didn’t look that way when McGee homered to lead off the sixth against Hultzen – the first of the season off the UVa star – to provide the Seminoles with a 3-1 cushion. McGee’s blast, his fourth of the season, sailed over the trees beyond the left field grandstands.
Virginia tied the game with two in the seventh off Gilmartin, who had allowed just two hits through six innings before Hicks led off with a single. Proscia followed with a one-out RBI double to draw the Cavaliers within 3-2 and Reed Gragnani’s single through the middle tied it.
Hultzen entered the game having allowed just two runs in four previous starts. It took the Seminoles exactly two innings to equal that total.
FSU struck for a run in the top of the first when Devon Travis legged out an infield single, moved to second on a passed ball and stopped at third after McGee singled to left. James Ramsey followed with a soft liner in front of Cavaliers’ second baseman Keith Werman, who lost his balance fielding the short-hopper then dropped the ball. That allowed Travis to scamper home for a 1-0 Seminole lead.
Virginia tied the game in the home first when John Barr tripled to deep left-center and scored on Hicks’ sacrifice fly to center.
Justin Thompson (1-0) earned the win in relief, yielding just one hit over the final 3.2 innings.
The Seminoles out-hit the Cavaliers 8-7 as Devon Travis and McGee led the way with two hits each.
“It was a well-fought game on both sides,” said McGee. “We just happened to get on the wrong end of the victory. It’s tough when you’re on the road to win games like that, that keep going against a good club. They did their job and got it done.”
The Seminoles will send Scott Sitz (2-0, 2.35) against Virginia’s Tyler Wilson (3-0, 1.82) in an effort to even the weekend series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.