May 13, 2006
Clemson, SC – Things aren’t going Florida State’s way as of late and there was more proof of that Saturday in Clemson. FSU took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning before a two-out single tied the game. An unearned run on a single just off the outstretched glove of Tony Thomas, Jr. in the tenth won the game for Clemson as the Tigers walked off with a series win over Florida State. The come-from-behind 4-3 victory dropped FSU to 37-14 on the year and 14-11 in the ACC.
“That was very tough, very tough,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “We did a great job today but it is just one of those things. I don’t know what the good Lord has in store for us but I can’t wait to see.
“We did the things it takes to win today. We just happened to come up short.”
FSU came one out away from winning the game in the bottom of the ninth before a chopper up the middle off ace closer Luke Tucker (0-1) tied the game. The winning run in the tenth got on base on an errant throw from short that pulled Dennis Guinn off the bag. The runner then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before Tyler Colvin’s seeing-eye single brought in the game-winning run.
“We played our hearts out,” said right fielder Jack Rye. “I thought we showed a lot of improvement today. It just didn’t go our way. It was one of those days. We know we are a good team. We have to come out and fight every game. Later on we will realize that and it will benefit us.”
“That is one of the best teams in the country,” said Seminole starter Bryan Henry of Clemson. “We know we can hang with them. We are right there.”
The loss overshadowed a stellar outing by Henry. The junior pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowed just two runs, struck out two and allowed just five hits. The right-hander did not issue a walk throwing 110 pitches. After issuing multiple walks in six straight games, Henry was as sharp as he had been in quite some time.
“He pitched great,” said Martin. “He pitched his heart out. He pitched a great ballgame.”
“I was able to pitch off my fastball today, I was locating it pretty well,” said Henry. “I got them to chase a few curveballs. I just let my defense work for me.”
Tiger ace Josh Cribb opened the game with four straight balls putting Robinson on base. Rye, in his first game back since injuring a hamstring versus JU, singled. A Guinn sac bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Buster Posey then delivered a two-RBI single up the middle on a two strike Cribb offering staking FSU to an early 2-0 lead.
“Our approach today was if you see a strike early in the count hit it and hit it hard,” said Rye. “I think that benefited us a lot. We didn’t have too many strikeouts today and hopefully we can carry that on through the rest of the season.”
Clemson’s first hit of the game went for extra bases in the second as Travis Storrer doubled to right field off Henry. The junior went on to get the next two hitters though and put an end to the second.
Ryne Malone led off the fourth with a single up the middle. Ryan Strauss moved the runner to second and then a Cribb wild pitch put Malone on third. DH Josh Spivey brought the run in on a chopper up the middle making it a 3-0 game.
Robinson led off the fifth with his second walk of the game. That sent Cribb to the bench with his shortest start since a 2 1/3 inning stint versus Miami March 31, 2006. Robinson made it into scoring position with two away before a walk put Posey on board as well. Malone then came up and singled into right field but Robinson was gunned down at home on the play ending the top of the frame.
Clemson put its leadoff runner on for the first time in the game in the fifth when Taylor Harbin led off with an infield single, just the second hit allowed by Henry. Clemson couldn’t cash in though as the Tallahassee native continued to cruise.
A one out single and a hit by pitch put two Tigers on base in the bottom of the sixth. A ground out moved both runners into scoring position then Storrer cleared the bases with a deep triple off the fence in right field making it a 3-2 game. Rye crashed into the fence trying to make the grab but couldn’t come up with the ball.
“I was very close,” said Rye when asked about the play. “I can’t tell you if it went off my glove or not. It all happened so fast. I banged my knee against the wall. It may have hit my glove.”
FSU looked for some insurance in the eighth. Guinn led off with a double into the gap in right. Posey then sacrificed the runner to third bringing new reliever Ryan Hinson (3-0) into the game to face Malone who was 2-for-3 on the day. The junior sent a grounder to second but for the second time in the game FSU had a runner trying to score thrown out at the plate.
Herman Demmink, who was 0-for-3 on the day, opened the eighth with a double. A sac moved the potential tying run 90 feet away ending Henry’s brilliant day. Brent Marsh came on and fanned Marquez Smith for the second out and then Matt DiBlasi entered to face the left-handed hitting Colvin. DiBlasi fared just as well as Marsh fanning the clean-up hitter ending the eighth.
“Those guys did a fantastic job,” said Henry. “That is what they are put in there to do. You have to give a lot of credit to those guys for pitching their hearts out. As a team we played our hearts out.”
After FSU went quietly in the top of the ninth, Clemson put two runners on base with one away versus Tucker. The junior fanned Stan Widmann for the second out but he couldn’t get No. 9 hitter Adrian Cassanova out as the catcher chopped a single up the middle to tie the game at 3-3. It was the first hit of the day for the senior.
FSU tried to get back on top in the 10th. Robinson laced a one-out single into center field but back-to-back fly ball outs left the potential winning run standing on first.
An error on a Posey throw in the bottom of the 10th put a Tiger aboard with one away. A wild pitch moved the winning run into scoring position setting the stage for Colvin’s heroics.
Florida State concludes its conference series with Clemson Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Fan Appreciation Night at Dick Howser Stadium is Tuesday night versus South Alabama. The game will start at 6:00 p.m. and there is no admission charge for the game. Game Tracker will be available for every game this season along with a live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and free on the Internet at seminoles.com.