April 20, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida State (34-5, 18-3 ACC) fell just one run short of erasing an eight run deficit on Sunday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium as the Seminoles fell to top ranked Miami (33-4, 17-2 ACC) 11-10 in a game called after seven innings due to a travel curfew. It was the first ACC series loss for FSU this season and just the second in the last 18 conference series dating back to the final series of the 2006 season.
Down 11-3 after four and a half innings, the Seminoles scored seven unanswered over the last three innings plating a run in the fifth, five in the sixth and another in the seventh. The Garnet and Gold came within 90 feet of bringing the tying run across the plate in the seventh but Miami’s Carlos Gutierrez struck out Tyler Holt on a pitch in the inside corner for the final out of the game.
“We did not come out the way we wanted to come out,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I just can not say enough about the fight and desire of our baseball team. You look at the scoreboard and we’re down eight in the middle part of the game. Our young men just kept on fighting. I’m just proud to be a part of them. We have a lot of tough ball games left and I’ll sure go any where with them. They are my kind of people.”
The rally started in the fifth when Buster Posey scored on a double play groundout by Dennis Guinn. Posey started the inning drawing a walk off reliever David Gutierrez and moved to third on a single to right by Jack Rye.
Florida State made the score 11-9 as the first four batters to come to the plate reached and scored in the sixth. Mike McGee led off the inning with a walk. Stephen Cardullo followed with his second hit of the ball game on a single to right setting a career-high for hits in a game. Both runners would advance a base as Ohmed Danesh came through with a pinch hit single ending the afternoon for Gutierrez. Kyle Bellamy was called on out of the bullpen and gave up an infield, RBI single to Holt scoring McGee. Jason Stidham made the score 11-6 lofting a sacrifice fly to right scoring Cardullo and advancing Danesh to third. The Seminoles would drawn within two on the very next play as Buster Posey drilled a 2-1 offering from Bellamy over the fence in right field. The home run was Posey’s 11th of the season.
McGee kept the Seminoles in the ball game as he held the Hurricane offense in check over the final 2.2 innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter allowing just one run on three hits in just his second relief appearance of the season. The freshman right hander retired the last six batters that he faced striking out three during that span.
In the seventh, McGee started the rally with a one-out single up the middle. He advanced to second as pinch hitter Tommy Oravetz drew a full count walk. A Danesh ground out to first, moved the runners up a base with one out. With Holt at the plate, Hurricane closer David Gutierrez unleashed a wild pitch on a 2-1 count scoring McGee and moving pinch runner Ryan Strauss to third. But Gutierrez would settle down and get the final out of the game for his ninth save of the year to preserve the one-run victory for Miami.
“That’s what you’re always looking for,” added Martin on his team’s fight from eight runs down. “We get a couple of runs and boom, boom; we are right back where we were. There was still none of this hanging the heads and feeling sorry for themselves. They kept fighting and got back into it.”
The loss was the first suffered by the Seminoles in a one-run ball game all season. Florida State was a perfect 10-0 in one-run games heading into the weekend series against Miami.
Four Seminoles registered a home run on Sunday including Posey, Stidham, Cardullo and McGee. Posey finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. McGee was equally impressive going 2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI. Cardullo and Jack Rye also collected a pair of hits. Holt’s infield single in the sixth extended his streak of reaching base safely to 39 straight games.
Florida State broke through with the first run on Sunday with a solo home run off the bat of Stidham. The sophomore second baseman took the first pitch he saw from Hurricane starter Eric Erickson (6-0) and belted it over the fence in right field for his eighth round tripper of the season and an early 1-0 Seminole advantage.
With one swing of the bat, the Hurricanes grabbed the lead in the third on a grand slam home run by Yonder Alonso. FSU starter Elih Villanueva (4-1) got into trouble right from the start as the first three Hurricane batters reached on a pair of walks and a bunt single. After falling behind 3-0 to Alonso, Villanueva worked the count full but on the eighth pitch of the at-bat the Miami first baseman connected on his tenth home run of the season over the fence in right center. The grand slam was the first of his career.
Villanueva’s afternoon would come to an end two batters later after issuing back-to-back singles to Dennis Raben and Mark Sobolewski. It was the shortest outing by Villanueva in nine starts this year as the junior right hander worked two plus innings allowing five runs on five hits.
Miami added one more run in the inning on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Dave DiNatale to increase the Hurricane lead to 5-1.
Florida State threatened in the bottom of the third loading the bases all on two outs. Buster Posey started the rally with a single to left while Jack Rye followed with a base hit to right. After a walk to Guinn loaded the bases, Erickson got out of the inning unscathed forcing a fielder’s choice groundout off the bat of Tony Delmonico to end the inning.
The Hurricanes increased their lead to 8-1 on back-to-back home runs by Jemile Weeks and Alonso. Both home runs were solo shots as it was the second time this year that the two Miami hitters went back-to-back. Following a walk to Raben, Sobolewski drilled a come backer off the leg of Bo O’Dell for an infield single. O’Dell would have to be helped off the field on the play leaving the game after 1.1 innings of work.
Ben Francis became the third Seminole pitcher of record as he unleashed a wild pitch scoring Raben from third. The sophomore right hander got a fly out and two walks before giving way to Ryan Vigue who got Jason Hagerty on a fly out to center to end the inning.
The Seminoles cut into the Miami lead with some back-to-back home run action of their own in the fourth off Erickson. Mike McGee led off the inning with a home run to right while Stephen Cardullo followed with a solo shot to left. It marked the fourth time this season that the Seminoles registered back-to-back home runs.
Erickson finished the game with a controlled start victory working four innings to run his record to 6-0 on the year. The sophomore left hander gave up three runs on five hits as he walked three and struck out three.
Miami pushed its lead to 11-3 with three more runs in the fifth. Raben knocked in Blake Tekotte with a single to center, while Ryan Jackson plated a pair with a double down the left field line.
A total of 19,062 fans packed Dick Howser Stadium this weekend setting the three-game stadium series attendance record eclipsing the old record of 18,045 set against Miami back in 2006.
Florida State will take four days off for exams before returning to the diamond for a three game set against the University of North Carolina at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. The weekend series at UNC begins a stretch of eight straight road games for the Seminoles. First pitch for Friday, April 25 is set for 7:00 p.m. Fans can catch all the action over the internet as ACC Select and gametracker will be available for all three contests. The game can also be heard live over the radio on 1270 the Team (Friday) and 100.7 FM (Saturday and Sunday) with Tom Block providing all the play-by-play action.