March 11, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fourteenth-ranked Florida State (9-5) used a late inning rally to down High Point (4-8) 4-3 completing the mid-week series sweep Wednesday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. A bobble by High Point left fielder Pablo Rosario on a base hit by Rafael Lopez in the bottom of the eighth drove in James Ramsey from second base for the game-winning run.
The Panthers held a 3-1 lead after four and a half innings of play before the Seminoles slowly chipped away with a run in the fifth, another in the seventh and finally the go ahead run by Ramsey in the eighth.
Geoff Parker (2-1) made his first relief appearance of the season and pitched 3.2 shutout innings to pick up win number two on the year. The sophomore right hander allowed three hits and walked two, while striking out three Panther batters on 63 pitches.
“Geoff competed well,” said head coach Mike Martin. “He had a live fastball. I thought he had a great outing. I was very happy for him and glad to see him get back on track.”
Senior Jimmy Marshall pitched a perfect ninth to earn his third save of the season. Marshall is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities in 2009.
Lopez and Tommy Oravetz led the Seminoles at the plate registering two hits a piece.
“It was a ball game that just goes to show you what a great job Coach Cozart has done at High Point,” added Martin. “They are a very impressive ball club.”
High Point pushed across a run in the top of the first taking advantage of a Seminole error. Leadoff batter Jeff Cowan reached as he was hit square in the back on the second pitch of the game by FSU starter Austin Wood. Cowan would eventually reach third with two outs following a sacrifice bunt by Alfie Wheeler and a passed ball. He would score the first run of the game as Stuart Tapley had trouble fielding a groundball off the bat of Kyle Mahoney.
Florida State came right back with a run in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at one. The Seminoles registered a pair of doubles by Tyler Holt and Jason Stidham to generate their first run of the game. With runners on the corners, Stidham laced an RBI double off the glove of the diving Spencer Andrews in right scoring Holt from third.
The Panthers regained the lead in the third on an RBI single by Mahoney. Cowan reached for the second time in as many bats lacing a double down the third base line. After a sacrifice by Wheeler moved Cowan to third, FSU’s Stephen Cardullo came up with a defensive web gem to keep the game knotted at one. High Point centerfielder Bill Manion ripped what looked like a base hit to right but Cardullo made an amazing leaping grab for the second out of the inning. Cowan scored one batter later on an infield single by Mahoney. Wood jammed the High Point first baseman with an inside pitch but the ball dropped in the infield grass just beyond the reach of Wood and in front of Oravetz at second.
In the fourth, Ohmed Danesh saved a couple of runs with an outstanding catch in left. After a couple walks and a pair of sacrifice bunts put runners on at second and third with two outs for High Point, Cowan stepped in and sent a deep fly ball to left. Danesh got a great read on the ball, timed his jump perfectly and held on for the catch as he collided with the wall for the final out of the inning.
Wood’s night would come to an end after facing just one batter in the fifth. In his second start of the season, the freshman right hander finished the game throwing a career-high four innings. He was tagged with three runs, two earned, on three hits, but allowed four more base runners as he walked three and hit a batter.
High Point added to its lead in the fifth courtesy of three walks and a hit batter. After Wood issued a walk to Wheeler to lead off the inning, Hunter Scantling came on and faced three batters registering a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a hit-by-pitch. With the bases loaded, Martin went to the bullpen for the second time in the inning bringing on Parker for his first relief appearance of the season. He issued a walk to Rosario to drive in a run with the bases loaded but averted further damage by getting Eric Marion to ground back to the pitcher’s mound for an inning ending double play.
The Seminoles drew within one on a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth by Lopez. The sophomore catcher sent a 2-2 offering from High Point starter Mikel Rodenberg over the fence in right center for his second round tripper of the season.
“We’ve been working real hard in working the count,” said Lopez. “Eleven told me to work the count and look for a pitch to drive. He left a change-up up and I got a good piece of it.”
Florida State loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the sixth but came up empty handed as Panther reliever Corey Swickle got Holt to fly out to center. High Point went to the bullpen after Rodenberg hit Danesh to lead off the inning and issued a one out walk to D’Vontrey Richardson. The Panther starter went 5.1 innings giving up two runs on five hits in earning a no decision.
The Seminoles drew even with the Panthers for the second time on Wednesday tying the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh. Oravetz led off the inning with a double to the gap in right center for his first double of the season and second hit of the night. Swickle then issued back-to-back walks to Jack Posey and Jason Stidham loading the bases for Danesh. The Orlando, Fla., native came through sending a sacrifice fly to right scoring Oravetz for the third Florida State run of the game.
In the eighth, Cardullo flashed another great defensive play. With a runner on first, Wheeler sent a hard groundball in between the whole at first and second but Cardullo made another great diving stop and got to his feet in plenty of time for the final out of the inning.
“Making those great defensive plays can really spark the offense,” said Cardullo. “Coach thrives on the philosophy of pitching and defense wins games and for me to make those plays, I felt I really contributed tonight. I’m getting pretty comfortable at first. I’m getting good jumps on the ball and just trying to learn something new each day.”
Florida State capitalized on a High Point error in the eighth to grab its first lead of the game. Designated hitter James Ramsey reached on a single to right and moved to second on a wild pitch by Zach Scott (1-1). Lopez then registered a base hit through the left side where Rosario could not field it cleaning allowing Ramsey to score from second for the go ahead run.
“We got some great at-bats from Ramsey; I am very proud of the way he reacted,” said Martin. “He got on base a couple of times and had a great dirt ball read to get to second base in the eighth. He kept his head up when the left fielder bobbled the ball and it turns out to win the ball game for us.”
Florida State hits the road for a three-game set in Charlottesville as the Seminoles face undefeated Virginia beginning Friday, March 13 at 6:00 p.m. All three games will air live over the internet on ACC Select. First pitch for both games on Saturday and Sunday is set for 1:00 p.m. Fans can listen to Friday’s action on 1270 the Team while Saturday and Sunday’s games will air on 100.7 FM. Live stats will also be available via gametracker on www.seminoles.com.