Feb. 2, 2007
Box Score in PDF Format
Tallahassee, Fla. – For the ninth straight year, the 13th-ranked Florida State Seminoles (1-0) started the season in the win column posting a 9-2 victory over No. 11 Tennessee (0-1) on opening day in front of 4,988 fans at Dick Howser Stadium. Senior right hander Bryan Henry threw six strong innings with 11 strikeouts, one shy of his career-high set last year against Duke. On the offensive side, second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. led FSU with three hits, while junior right fielder Jack Rye belted his first home run of the season over the fence in right field.
Henry got the Seminoles off to a fabulous start striking out eight of the first 10 Volunteer batters, striking out the side in the first and third innings. The Tallahassee native gave up no runs on just four hits in six innings of work. Henry did not allow a hit until two outs in the fourth as UT designated hitter Shawn Griffin hit a bloop double down the line in left. The 11 strikeouts by the right hander were the most by a Seminole pitcher since Henry posted 12 against the Duke Blue Devils back on March 24 of last year.
“We played pretty well defensively,” said Coach Mike Martin. “Bryan (Henry) took some plays out of people’s hands by striking folks out, which has way of relaxing the infielders. And I thought we played a pretty solid baseball game. It was nice to get a lot of folks in. I was very pleased we were able to do that. I was surprised that we were able to do that. Tennessee is an outstanding baseball team.”
Florida State threatened in the first off Tennessee starting pitcher Craig Cobb as Jason Stidham got his first collegiate base hit, a double to the wall in right. Sophomore catcher Buster Posey laid down a perfect bunt along the third base line reaching first with a single, while advancing Stidham to third. But Cobb would work out of the jam.
The Seminoles would threaten again an inning later as designated hitter Tommy Oravetz got hit by a pitch followed by a single to right field by Ruairi O’Connor. Cobb would settled down once again as he got Tennessee out of the inning with a pair of fly outs and a strikeout.
After Henry retired the first two Volunteer batters in the top of the fourth, Tennessee collected its first hit of the season on a bloop double down the left field line by Griffin. Third baseman Cody Brown followed with a sharp single up the middle but Mark Hallberg, making his first career start at shortstop for the Seminoles, made a diving stop holding Griffin at third. Thomas prevented any Tennessee runs from scoring as closed out the inning with a leaping grab over his head in shallow right center.
Florida State would strike first as they put together a four-run fifth. Thomas led off the inning with the first of his three hits, lining a double to left. Thomas would then advance to third off a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Brandon Reichert. Hallberg would earn his first RBI as a Seminole hitting a slow grounder to third, scoring Thomas for a 1-0 Seminole advantage. After back-to-back singles by Stidham and Posey, Rye hit a three-run shot over the fence in right giving FSU a 4-0 lead.
That would be all the support Henry would need as he went back out on the mound in the sixth striking out the last two batters to pick up winner number one in 2007.
“I felt alright tonight,” said Henry. “My defense did a great job behind me and that’s all you can ask for. I was able to pound the strike zone and got Tony Thomas making some great plays and Dennis throwing guys out, it makes pitching a lot easier when you know you can just go up there and throw strikes.
“It was fun. It is always good to go out and set the tone for what’s going to happen. UT is a great ball club and they are going to come out tomorrow, more fired up then they were today. They want to win too. We have to keep a level head on our shoulders and just try to take things from this game and get better and work hard each day.”
FSU added a pair in the sixth as O’Connor walked with one out in the inning. Mark Gildea would enter the game as pinch run for O’Connor and come around to score on a Reichert RBI groundout to short. Thomas registered his second double of the game in the sixth and scored on a RBI triple by Hallberg.
With a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, Florida State would tack on three more runs with two outs in the inning. In between outs, Rye collected his second hit of the ballgame, a double off the right field fence. D’Vontrey Richardson, pinch hitting for Oravetz, got his first collegiate hit hitting a sharp grounder to deep short advancing Rye to third. Gildea then stepped in for his second at-bat of the evening lining a double off the wall in right driving in his first two runs of the season. Thomas would conclude his evening with his third hit of the ballgame, a single up the middle scoring Gildea from second.
Tennessee would put together a bit of a run in the top of the eighth after the Seminoles got the first two outs of the inning. Relief pitcher Matt Fairel issued a pair of walks and then a single to Griffin before giving way to Seminole right hander Danny Rosen. The Vols’ Brown connected on a single to right center off Rosen driving in the first two runs of the game for Tennessee. The threat would quickly come to an end as Rosen got UT right fielder Ryan Jones to pop up to Posey in fair territory to end the threat.
The win for Florida State was the first against Tennessee since 1966, while evening up the series at 4-4. The Seminoles and Volunteers return to the hill for game-two of the series on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm at Dick Howser Stadium. FSU will send senior right hander Michael Hyde to the mound, while the Vols will throw junior southpaw James Adkins. Fan can follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of WFLA-1270 the FAN as well as live web casting from ACC Select.