March 28, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – The top-ranked FSU baseball team was well aware of what they were going to see from UNF Tuesday night. Although it is just the program’s first year in Division I, the Osprey already had a road win at No. 16 LSU and a series sweep of UCF in Orlando. The 2005 Division II National Champion runners-up gave FSU (26-2) all they could handle Tuesday evening but once again clutch pitching out of the bullpen and homeruns from four different players were the difference as the Seminoles downed UNF (15-13) 14-8 to win their 31st straight home game.
“UNF were in the National Championship game last year regardless of what division it is,” said first baseman Dennis Guinn. “That’s a big accomplishment. (Coach Martin) stressed to us that this was going to be a good team and that they were going to battle. They did.”
The Ospreys didn’t just battle they recorded the most hits and tied the most runs scored versus FSU this season. Most of the damage was done in the top of the second. After FSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead, North Florida scored six runs to take the largest lead a Seminole opponent has enjoyed since February 26 when Minnesota jumped in front of FSU 3-0 in the second inning.
“It was the same,” said Guinn of the attitude in the dugout after the Seminoles fell behind. “We don’t like to put pressure on ourselves whether we are down or we’re up. We stay the same. In the long run that is going to be big.”
“There was a lot of calm,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “We knew what we had to do. Our guys had some quality at bats. Danny Diaz’s at bat followed by Shane Robinson’s homerun was a big lift for us.”
Diaz and Robinson got FSU back on top in the bottom of the second. After Diaz drew a walk to start the inning, Robinson and Buster Posey each hit two run bombs and FSU never trailed again. UNF cut the lead to one run at 9-8 before the Seminoles went on to score six unanswered runs.
“With three in the first we tried to take control of the game but in the second inning they come out and score six,” said Guinn. “They stayed like that throughout the game. We just kept swinging the bats.”
Guinn and the rest of his teammates did keep swinging as they scored runs in seven of their eight at bats. Guinn, Posey, Robinson and Ryan Strauss each hit a homer but once again Guinn led the way. The sophomore hit his ninth HR of the season and is now just one away from equaling the team-leader from the entire 2005 campaign. He also drove in a career high five runs. Robinson, Ryne Malone and Posey each had multiple RBIs as well.
Barret Browning started for the Seminoles and was the victim of a botched double play ball that opened the flood gates for the Ospreys in the second. Travis Burge (1-0) came in to relieve the senior and pitched a career high 3 2/3 innings and struck out a career high five batters. He did not issue a walk in picking up his first victory.
“(UNF) was hitting the ball well so it definitely got my nerves going plus the adrenaline,” said Burge. “It was nerve-racking. I didn’t expect to throw 3 1/3. I thought I would get an inning to get ready for this weekend. Actually I didn’t even know I got the win until I got in the locker room. It feels good to come in and help the team to a victory.”
Robinson led off the first by singling to the left side of the infield and then UNF starter Jeremy Papelbon walked Rye to put two on with nobody out. Guinn then came through once again as he doubled in Robinson. It was the ninth double and 42nd RBI of the year for Guinn. Malone drove in the next run on a sac fly and Posey followed with a chopper past short to make it a 3-0 game.
The Osprey answered back in a big way in the top of the second. UNF scored six runs on six hits with the aid of two Seminole errors. All six hits were singles as UNF tied the season high for runs scored in an inning by an FSU opponent.
“It is amazing what happens when you put the ball in play,” said Martin. “They did a very good job of that. Barret made outstanding pitches. We made a mistake, gave them an extra out and things just kind of mushroomed on us.”
The Osprey’s big inning seemed to get the Seminoles attention. Robinson and Posey both hit two-run homers to vault FSU back into the lead at 7-6 in the bottom half of the frame.
FSU went back to the long ball in the fourth after the first scoreless inning of the night. Guinn hammered his ninth homer of the year over the wall in left plating Rye who was hit by a pitch. The two-run shot was the third two-run homer of the game for FSU and upped Guinn’s RBI total to 44.
“I didn’t think that was going to carry,” said Guinn. “It just kept on going. It felt really good.”
Homerun fever reached the visitors dugout in the fifth. A double and a homer brought UNF right back as the Osprey cut the FSU lead to 9-8 as Browning surrendered his first homer of the year. After Browning got the first out of the fifth, Burge came in to relive the senior and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
The homerun barrage continued in the bottom of the fifth. This one was sent off the top of the scoreboard and was a solo shot by Strauss. It was the third homer of the year for the right fielder and the fourth of the evening for FSU. It was the fifth time this season the Seminoles have hit three or more homers in a game.
“I am just glad we are scoring runs with one swing of the bat,” said Martin. “It is something we haven’t done in a couple of years. We haven’t hit a lot of homeruns. It was just tremendous the way we kept going.”
Rye opened the sixth by lacing a double down the left field line. Malone then came through with an RBI double high off the screen in right field making it an 11-8 ball game.
Strauss and Gildea opened the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles off UNF reliever Josh Papelbon, brother of tonight’s starting pitcher for the Osprey. An error loaded the bases and Guinn delivered once again as he drove in two more runs. They were his fourth and fifth RBIs of the night as the sophomore established a new career high for RBIs in a game.
The Seminoles tagged on another run in the eighth on an Osprey miscue. A wild pitch brought the 14th run of the game home.
The top-ranked Seminoles travel to Chapel Hill for a showdown with No. 6 North Carolina this weekend. Saturday’s 1:00 p.m. game will be broadcast live on FSN. Game Tracker will be available for every game this season along with live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and free on the Internet at seminoles.com.