March 7, 2003
Tallahassee, Fla. – The top-ranked Florida State Seminoles (18-1) extended their winning streak to 15 games with a 5-4 victory over Florida (12-2) in front of 3,652 fans at Dick Howser Stadium Friday night. Matt Lynch (4-0) picked up his 34th career win, allowing four runs in 7.1 innings of work. Daniel Hodges retired the side in order in the ninth to notch his fourth save of the season and 23rd of his career, placing him in a tie for sixth in ACC history. FSU’s victory snapped a nine-game Gator winning streak. The Seminoles have now won nine of the last 11 in the series.
FSU took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Hart and Blake Balkcom both singled to put runners on first and second and with two outs. Matt Sauls then roped a single to center to score Hart and a throwing error by center fielder Jake Riordan allowed Balkcom to score the second run.
UF tied the game up with two runs in the top of the third inning. Riordan doubled down the third base line and scored on Jonathan Tucker’s single. Brett Dowdy scored the second run of the inning from third on Ben Harrison’s bunt single to first base.
The Seminoles regained the lead with two runs on three doubles in the third. McQuade led of the inning with a double to left-center and scored on Jerrod Brown’s double down the third base line. Brown completed the scoring as he came home on Eddy Martinz-Esteve’s double off the fence in right to bring the score to 4-2.
Florida State scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Hart led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a groundout by Martinez-Esteve and scored on Balkcom’s sacrifice fly to deep center. Hart’s run gave the Tribe a 5-2 lead.
The Gators cut the Seminole lead to 5-4 in the top of the seventh with a pair of RBI-doubles from Harrison and C.J. Smith.
McQuade (2-for-4), Brown (2-for-4), Hart (2-for-4) and Balkcom (2-for-3) led the Seminoles with two hits apiece.
With his 34th career win, Lynch moved into a tie for seventh with former Seminole Jonathan Johnson on Florida State’s all-time victory list. Lynch also moved into a tie for sixth on the ACC all-time win list.
UF starter Mike Pete (1-1) took the loss, surrendering four runs (three earned) on eight hits over three innings.
FSU’s Rhett James recorded two big outs in the top of the eighth when he came in to relieve Lynch. James struck out two Gators to end the inning with a runner in scoring position.
Florida State and Florida will continue the series on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. Left-hander Trent Peterson (3-0, 142 ERA) is scheduled to face Florida right-hander Connor Falkenbach (2-0, 3.38 ERA).