April 14, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sixth-ranked Florida State (26-8) fell to Jacksonville (18-17) 10-8 as the Dolphins evened the season series at a game apiece Wednesday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Jacksonville scored eight of its 10 runs in the final two innings defeating the Seminoles in Tallahassee for the second time in the last three years.
With the Seminoles capitalizing on a Jacksonville error in the seventh to take a 4-2 lead, the Dolphins erupted for five runs in the eighth and three in the ninth to snap FSU’s five-game winning streak.
“What a difference a day makes,” said head coach Mike Martin. “There is no such thing as excuses with Florida State baseball. There never will be as long as we are here. You have to give credit to Jacksonville for scoring eight runs in the eighth and ninth innings. We didn’t do some things that we usually do. You take your hat off and tip it to them.”
The Noles would not go down without a fight scoring one in the eighth before staging a ninth inning rally that saw FSU score three more times, while putting the tying run at second base with two outs.
Sean Gilmartin led off the bottom of the ninth lacing a sharp single to right off Matt Loosen. Ohmed Danesh followed with a walk and both Seminoles would come around to score as Tyler Holt doubled down the line in left. After a groundout and a two-out walk to Mike McGee, James Ramsey doubled down the right field line scoring Holt to make the score 10-8. But Loosen would shut the door on the Garnet and Gold getting Justin Gonzalez swinging on strikes for the final out of the game to pick up his first save of the season.
“We didn’t sell anybody short tonight,” added Martin. “How many clubs would have fought like we did there in the ninth inning to have the winning run at the plate? It was quite a display of courage and I am very proud of the way we fought.”
The 10 runs for Jacksonville on Wednesday night were the most the Dolphins have scored in the series since a 13-4 victory over FSU in Jacksonville back on February 24, 2002.
The loss by the Seminoles over shadowed an excellent start by sophomore right hander Hunter Scantling, who worked 7.0 innings on Wednesday night, the longest outing in seven career starts. The Jacksonville, Fla., native allowed only two runs on four hits as he walked one and struck out a career-high six batters. After issuing a one out walk in the fourth, Scantling retired 11 of the last 12 batters that he faced.
“Hunter pitched very well,” added Martin. “He sure did. He sat for a long time in the bottom of the seventh and we decided to go get him. With a two-run lead and six outs to get you feel pretty good. Unfortunately, the wheels came off tonight.”
For the second straight game, Holt finished with two hits as he scored twice and drove in a pair of runs. Ramsey and Jayce Boyd also registered two hits each.
It took the first pitch of the game for the Dolphins to match their hit total from the first meeting back on March 8 in Jacksonville as Jonathan Murphy laced his fifth double of the season to the gap in left center. Danesh, who got the start in left field, made a diving attempt on the fly ball but could not hang on to the ball upon impact with the ground. An infield single by Esterlin Perozo put runners at the corners for the Dolphins and Jamaal Hawkins gave JU the early 1-0 lead bringing home Murphy on a sac-fly to right.
The Noles came back with two runs in the second to take their first lead of the evening. Ramsey drew a walk off JU starter Chris Kaminski to lead off the inning and scored all the way from first on an RBI double down the line in left off the bat of Boyd. After a walk to Sherman Johnson, both Boyd and Johnson successfully converted a double steal to move up 90 feet. Two batters later, Boyd scored on an RBI groundout to second by Danesh.
The lead was short lived as the Dolphins tied the game at two on a two-out bloop single by Hawkins in the third. Murphy reached for the second consecutive at-bat recording his second double of the game and scored his second run of the evening on the base hit from Hawkins.
Kaminski would face the minimum over the next four innings before giving way to lefty reliever Brian Gilroy. The JU right hander went 6.0 innings yielding just two runs on two hits as he walked three and struck out five in earning the no decision.
A throwing error by Jacksonville’s Chuck Opachich paved the way for two Seminole runs in the seventh. With Johnson and Devon Travis aboard following a pair of walks, JU reliever Kentrail Pierce (3-1) got Danesh to hit a groundball to second. With Danesh racing down the baseline, Opachich took his time on the throw and threw wildly over to first as Alex Martinez could not keep his foot on the bag. Both Johnson and Travis scored on the play to give the Seminoles a 4-2 advantage.
Robert Benincasa entered to start the eighth and allowed the first two batters that he faced to reach on a single by Murphy and a walk to Perozo. Martin went to the bullpen and brought on Daniel Bennett who got Hawkins swinging on strikes for the first out of the inning. Martinez brought the Dolphins within one as he scored Murphy on a base hit back up the middle. After Dan Gulbransen reached on an infield single to load the bases, Adam Brett Walker gave the lead back to the Dolphins with a two-run double off the wall in right center. Opachich atoned for his error in the seventh driving in two more runs on a double down the line in left to give JU a 7-4 lead.
Robby Scott became the third pitcher of the inning and got the Seminoles out of further damage recording consecutive strikeouts to retire the side.
FSU cut the deficit to 7-5 on a two-out single by Ramsey in the eighth scoring Holt from second. Holt led off the inning with a walk and swiped second for his eighth stolen base of the season. Boyd kept the inning alive with a bloop single to right, but JU reliever Matt Loosen got Johnson looking at a called third strike to end the inning.
Jacksonville would add some much needed insurance with three runs in the ninth as all three runs were charged to Scott.
Florida State hits the road for the second straight weekend returning to the Carolinas to face Duke in Cary at the USA Baseball Training Complex. First pitch for Friday’s contest is 6:00 p.m. Fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team, 94.3 FM (Friday), 100.7 FM (Saturday and Sunday) and on the web at Seminoles.com.