June 3, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State (49-12) advanced to the championship round of the Tallahassee Regional with a 17-1 victory over Stetson Sunday afternoon in Game Five of the 2007 NCAA Division I Baseball Tallahassee Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. With the loss, the Hatters concluded their season 42-21. The game saw an 11-run inning for the Seminoles and a 52-minute rain delay in the middle of the eighth inning.
By pushing through the losers’ bracket, the Seminoles will now face unbeaten Mississippi State Sunday at 7:00 p.m. in the first of two possible championship games. The Seminoles will need to defeat Mississippi State Sunday night to force the “if necessary” game, which would be played Monday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs, the only remaining undefeated team in the regional, need only one win to advance to next week’s Super Regional round.
Florida State starting pitcher junior Ryan Strauss put forth a solid performance as he pitched seven complete innings while allowing zero runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked only one in earning his 10th victory (10-3) of the season. Strauss faced only five batters over the minimum as he pitched in his first career NCAA Tournament elimination game.
Freshman Jason Stidham allowed the Seminoles to strike first with a home run to right centerfield with one out in the second inning off of Hatters’ starter Jake Hitchcock. It was Stidham’s sixth home run of the season and second of the regional. He also hit a solo shot in Florida State’s 6-2 victory over Bethune-Cookman in Game One Friday night.
Florida State’s defense got Strauss out of trouble in the third inning with a non-traditional double play to end the Hatters’ first scoring threat of the game. Stetson’s Josh Clendenin reached second on a throwing error by Stidham and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Johnson. Shane Jordan followed with a ground ball to the Seminoles’ first baseman Brandon Reichert, who fired the ball to catcher Buster Posey. A run-down ensued and Clendenin was tagged out by Stidham who then threw to second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr, to cut down Jordan who was attempting to take second on the play to end the inning.
The Seminoles manufactured the game’s second run in the fourth. Posey led off the inning with his 21st double of the season and reached third on a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Jack Rye. He then scored on a wild pitch by Hitchcock.
Florida State scored three runs in the fifth inning. Their first of the inning came on a run-scoring double to right by centerfielder Mark Gildea which scored Ohmed Danesh. Danesh led off the inning with a single to center. After reaching base on a fielder’s choice, Reichert scored on a single by shortstop Mark Hallberg to make the score 4-0. Thomas scored Florida State’s fifth run of the game on a wild pitch by Stetson reliever Justin Dechert. He had reached base on a single – his first hit in 10 at bats in the regional for the National Player of the Year.
Hitchcock was pulled from the game after allowing five runs in 4.1 innings of work. He allowed seven hits in losing his first decision since Feb. 24 against Louisville. His finished his season with a 5-2 record.
The Hatters threatened to score again in the bottom of the sixth. A double by third baseman Braedyn Pruitt and a single by right fielder Adam Tindle put runners on first and third with one out. Strauss then forced designated hitter Brian Pruitt to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Seminoles really opened things up with an 11-run seventh inning. Gildea began the onslaught as he earned a walk, stole second and was driven home on a single by Reichert to make the score 6-0. Consecutive singles by Thomas and Hallberg loaded the bases. Posey drew a bases-loaded walk to drive home Reichert for Florida State’s seventh run. Thomas scored next to make it 8-0 on a sacrifice fly by Rye. Designated hitter Dennis Guinn cleared the bases and upped Florida State’s lead to 11-0 with a three-run homer that hit halfway up the leftfield scoreboard. It was Guinn’s first home run since April 10 and his first RBI since April 15. Guinn has had just 15 at bats since injuring his right knee against Virginia Tech on April 15. Reichert, in his second at bat of the inning, upped the score to 13-0 with an RBI double to score D’Vontrey Richardson and Stidham. Posey added his second RBI of the inning when he drove home Reichert with a single to right, increasing the lead to 14-0. The Seminoles added their 15th run when pinch hitter Tommy Oravetz was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and their 16th run when Guinn drew a bases-loaded walk for his fourth RBI of the inning.
Following a 52-minute rain delay in the middle of the eighth inning and an FSU pitching change, as Brian Chambers replaced Strauss, the Hatters’ put a run on the scoreboard. Stetson’s Shane Jordan led off the inning with a home run to right field, just his second of the season. With one out, Braedyn Pruitt singled to left field but was later called out on a double play. Stetson went three up and three down in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.