March 14, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a game that featured six lead changes and three ties, third-ranked Florida State (13-2, 1-2 ACC) held the advantage when the final out was recorded in the ninth to claim its first ACC victory of the season with a 9-8 win over top-ranked Virginia (12-3, 2-1 ACC) Sunday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Tyler Holt’s two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth proved to be the difference, while Mike McGee (2-0) slammed the door shut on the Cavaliers recording the final five outs of the game to earn the win in relief.
“This was a big win, there are no two ways about it,” said head coach Mike Martin. “We fall behind going into the eighth inning, we got a lot at stake and Tyler Holt does a great job of getting the big hit, no doubt it. But it still boils down to the man on that bunk. I thought others did a good job as a lot of people were used. We were doing everything we could to keep the game close. I was very pleased with the way everyone pitched today. It was a great win for us, no doubt about it.”
“It was a true team effort today,” said Holt. “It feels good to finally get the monkey off our back; to get that first ACC win today was big for us.”
With the Seminoles trailing by one in the bottom of the eighth, Parker Brunelle drew a key one out walk on four pitches from Virginia reliever Tyler Wilson (2-1) which led to the game-winning hit by Holt. On a 2-2 offering, the junior centerfielder hit a fly ball out to left center that carried just beyond the wall and over the glove of UVa leftfielder David Coleman for Holt’s second home run of the season and a 9-8 Seminole lead.
McGee, who came in and got the final two outs in the eighth, retired the Cavaliers in order in the ninth to seal the come-from-behind victory for FSU. McGee has been nearly untouchable in two appearances this season as he has yet to allow a hit in 7.2 innings of work. The junior right hander has recorded 10 strikeouts so far this season.
“That was a big win for our program,” Martin said. “We talked earlier today, Jamie (Shouppe) and I did about the possibility of moving Michael (McGee) to the closing role. It was Jamie’s idea, and I liked it so we said if the opportunity presents itself, we will do it. I was very, very proud of the way he pitched. I’ll just tell you right now, Mike McGee is now our closer. We will use him in the eighth and ninth similar to the way that (Mariano) Rivera is used. We will use him in the eighth and ninth, if we have to go get him in the seventh with two outs, we’ll do it.”
“To be able to come in and close it today was a lot of fun for me,” said McGee. “As far as hitting, I got lucky on a couple of those. On my first at-bat, I got a good swing for the home run.”
McGee also had a fine afternoon at the plate going 3-for-4 with a home run and two singles. He finished with two RBI and two runs scored. Jayce Boyd also contributed with three hits including his first collegiate triple in the fifth, while Holt finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBI. Stuart Tapley went 2-for-4 in the victory connecting on a solo home run in the second and an RBI double in the fifth.
The win snapped FSU’s five game losing streak to Virginia as it was the Seminoles first win in the series since a 3-2 victory in 10 innings back on April 6, 2008 in Tallahassee.
“This win feels good,” said Tapley. “Virginia is a great team, they have a great club. But you know we have a great club ourselves. We are not going to go down without a fight.”
Dan Grovatt gave the Cavaliers the early lead taking a 0-1 pitch from Parker over the fence in right center for his third home run of the season and third of the series.
UVa added to its lead in the second with another run to take a 2-0 advantage. The Cavaliers loaded the bases as the first three batters to face FSU starter Geoff Parker reached on an infield base hit, a single to center and a hit-by-pitch. Parker limited Virginia to just one run as he got Franco Valdes to ground into a double play at second base plating Jarrett Parker from third. Geoff Parker closed the door on the Cavaliers in the second as he got Reed Gragnani looking on strikes for the final out of the inning.
Florida State got right back in the game courtesy of back-to-back home runs off the bat of McGee and Tapley in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 2-2. Both home runs came on 3-2 counts from Virginia starter Cody Winiarski as McGee’s shot went out to left center, while Tapley went opposite field over the fence in right.
Virginia wasted little time retaking the lead with two runs in the top of the third for a 4-2 advantage. Phil Gosselin took the first pitch of the inning from Parker out of the park to left center for his third home run of the season. The Cavaliers then put together a little two out rally as Steven Proscia singled to right and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Geoff Parker got Jarrett Parker swinging on strikes for what would have been the third out of the inning, but the ball skipped in the dirt and got away from Brunelle before the junior catcher could recover in time to throw down to first for the out. That play would come back to haunt the Noles as UVa successfully converted a double steal with Jarrett Parker taking second and Proscia stealing home for the fourth Virginia run of the game.
The Seminoles once again chipped away at the lead scoring once in the third and one more time in the fourth to bring the game even for the second time on Sunday. James Ramsey registered a triple down the line in right and scored on a two out base hit to left off the bat of McGee. Gosselin almost came through with an amazing diving catch in left to keep the run from scoring, but the ball hit the top of his glove and fell in for the base hit.
FSU put together a little two out rally of their own in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at four. Boyd started the rally lacing a base hit through the right side and moved to second as Brunelle drew a walk. Holt stepped in and brought home Boyd on an RBI double down the line in left. The hit would be the final pitch for Winiarski as the junior right hander lasted just 3.2 innings.
With runners at second and third, Neal Davis came in and got Ramsey to ground back toward the pitcher’s mound for the final out of the inning.
Virginia went back on top for the third time on Sunday with consecutive two out hits. Grovatt laced a base hit to center, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double down the line in left off the bat of Proscia. After a walk to Jarrett Parker, Geoff Parker got Tyler Cannon looking on a called third strike to end the inning.
In the fifth, the Seminoles took their first lead of the afternoon scoring three runs for a 7-5 advantage. McGee picked up his third hit in as many at-bats with a single up the middle and scored all the way from first as Tapley drilled a Davis pitch off the wall in right center for his team leading fifth double of the season. With the score tied at 5-5, Justin Gonzalez gave the Seminoles their first lead of the afternoon hitting a bloop, two-out single to right center to plate Tapley. Boyd followed with his first collegiate triple taking a 3-2 offering off the fence in right scoring Gonzalez for a two-run Seminole lead.
The Cavaliers cut the deficit to one with another two-out hit in the sixth. With runners at first and second, Martin called on Tye Buckley out of the bullpen for the lefty, lefty match-up. Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor countered with pinch hitting right hander Stephen Bruno and the move paid dividends for the Cavaliers as Bruno registered an RBI single to center scoring Gragnani. Buckley was able to maintain the one-run lead for the Seminoles as he got Grovatt to pop up to Gonzalez at second for the third out of the inning.
Virginia pushed across a run for the third straight inning to bring the game even for the fourth time on Sunday. The Cavaliers took advantage of two walks and a pair of Seminole errors to tie the game at seven in the seventh. With runners at first and second and one out, Brian Busch got Tyler Cannon to hit a groundball to short. Cardullo flipped on to Gonzalez at second for the second out but the relay throw to first by Gonzalez went air born allowing Jarrett Parker to score the game-tying run.
UVa went back on top in the eighth as Proscia sent a sac-fly to left with the bases loaded scoring Gragnani from third to give the Cavaliers their final lead of the ball game at 8-7.
The Seminoles hit the road to face Florida in Gainesville on Tuesday, March 16. The game will air live on FS Florida, while fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team and 94.3 FM and on the web at Seminoles.com. Tuesday’s game marks the second of four meetings between these intra-state rivals as FSU defeated UF 10-5 in the first game down in Tampa, Fla., as part of the inaugural Florida Four played on Steinbrenner Field.