May 9, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a back and forth game that featured three ties and five lead changes, Florida State (36-13, 19-8 ACC) rallied from a run down scoring three times in the ninth to defeat Georgia Tech (32-12-1, 15-8-1) 8-6 Saturday afternoon inside Russ Chandler Stadium. The win keeps the Seminoles at the top of the league standings with just one conference game remaining.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I’m very happy. I’m very happy because we now legitimately have a chance to play for it (the number one seed in the ACC Tournament). We are right where we want to be with an opportunity and we’ve got that opportunity now. Today was a big win for us.”
Down a run to start the ninth, Florida State quickly put the pressure on Georgia Tech loading the bases with no outs. After Yellow Jacket reliever Mark Pope recorded a strikeout, pinch hitter James Ramsey brought home Mike McGee for the tying run as he drew a walk. Sean Gilmartin followed with a pinch hit bloop single to left scoring Jason Stidham for the eventual game-winning run. The Seminoles pushed their lead to two as Rafael Lopez sent a sac-fly to center to bring home Stuart Tapley.
“It’s just something that we work on everyday with coach Martin, being real selective,” said Ramsey. “I was just glad to get the opportunity, help out and tie the game up. It was fun being back home; being in Atlanta and helping my team win a game.”
Georgia Tech would not go quietly in the ninth loading the bases with two outs. Closer Jimmy Marshall preserved the win as he got pinch hitter Jason Garofalo to hit into a fielder’s choice groundout at second for the final out of the inning. The save for Marshall was his ninth as he remained perfect on the year in save opportunities.
Tommy Oravetz tied a career-high with four RBI in Saturday’s victory as he was responsible for the first four Seminoles runs. Tyler Holt went 3-for-4 with a run and a stolen base. He reached base on his first five plate appearances collecting three singles in his first three at-bats, while walking twice. Stephen Cardullo also registered multiple hits going 2-for-5 with a run.
“Those runs early were very important,” said Oravetz. “We have to come up with those clutch hits, those two out hits are so important especially as we head into postseason play. I really like what this team is doing right now. We are playing good baseball. We had a couple rough spots today, but we battled through them and got the win.”
John Gast (4-3) threw three innings in game two marking his longest relief appearance of the season. The sophomore southpaw entered in the sixth and after giving up a one-out single to center to Derek Dietrich, Gast retired seven straight before giving up a solo shot to Jeff Rowland with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Gast finished the game tying a season-high with three strikeouts.
“I felt pretty good,” said Gast. “My last outing I threw real well threw one inning and struck out three. Basically, I’ve been feeling really good out there. I’ve been able to throw pretty much all my pitches for strikes and get ahead of hitters which really helped today. The one pitch, I missed my location and he (Rowland) hit it out, it got away from me. I got a few swings and misses on my curveball today which was a big confidence booster for me.”
For the second straight game, the Seminoles broke out in front early scoring twice in the top of the first. Oravetz connected on a two-out, two-run single back up the middle off Georgia Tech starter Brandon Cumpton to give FSU a 2-0 lead. Florida State loaded the bases after singles by Holt and Cardullo and a walk to Stidham before Oravetz came through with the clutch two-out hit.
The lead was short lived as Georgia Tech answered with four runs in the bottom half of the first to take a 4-2 advantage. Six straight Jackets reached to start the inning as Rowland led off the bottom of the first with a triple down the right field line. It marked the first triple allowed by the Seminole pitching staff this season. Rowland scored a batter later as Derek Dietrich reached on a fielding error at second. Georgia Tech added to its lead on an RBI single by Jason Haniger, a walk to Matt Skole with the bases loaded and a sac-fly to right by Chris House. FSU starter Brian Busch finally got out of the inning inducing a groundball double play off the bat of Evan Martin.
The Yellow Jackets squandered a golden opportunity to add to their lead in the second loading the bases again off Busch with one out. But the freshman southpaw got a nice defensive play on a leaping catch by Stidham at second and then a fielder’s choice groundout at second to keep the Georgia Tech lead at 4-2.
The Seminoles drew even in the third on another two-run hit by Oravetz. A pair of Seminoles reached in front of the senior designated hitter as Stidham was awarded first as he was hit on the foot by a Cumpton offering and then moved to third on a two-base fielding error on a groundball hit by Stuart Tapley. With runners at second and third, Oravetz worked the count full and then laced a two-run double to the gap in left center for his third and fourth RBI of the game.
Georgia Tech went out in front for the second time on Saturday afternoon scoring an unearned run in the fifth. Tony Plagman led off the inning drawing a walk from Busch and scored on an errant throw from Stidham at second as the Seminoles tried to turn an inning ending double play. That would be the final batter that Busch would face as Martin went to the pen and called on Geoff Parker. Parker issued a walk to Martin and fell behind 3-0 to Cole Leonida before bouncing back to get the Yellow Jacket catcher swinging on strikes to end the inning.
The Seminoles answered right back with a run in the sixth to tie the game at 5-5. Jack Posey started inning with a walk off Yellow Jacket reliever Kevin Jacob and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rafael Lopez. With Holt at the plate, Jacob unleashed on consecutive wild pitches bringing home Posey for the tying run.
Busch worked 4.2 innings allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits as he walked three and struck out two in earning the no decision.
Florida State and Georgia Tech will square-off in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday, May 10 with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Sunday’s game will broadcast live on SportsSouth as fans are encouraged to check their local listings. Fans can also listen to the action locally on 100.7 FM and over the internet on www.seminoles.com. Live stats will also be available via gametracker.