March 27, 2004
Chapel Hill, N.C. – No. 12 Florida State (21-6, 4-1 ACC) used seven runs in the first three innings to hand No. 16 North Carolina (19-6, 3-2 ACC) just its second home loss of the season by a final of 10-6 on Saturday afternoon. The Tar Heels rallied late with five runs in the seventh, but a strong relief appearance from Rhett James sealed the win for the Seminoles. Eddie Cannon (7-1) earned the win after allowing four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work. Cannon struck out three and walked just one. Danny Wardell homered twice while Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Ryne Malone also had home runs in the win.
“I am proud of how the young guys such as Ryne Malone, Shane Robinson and the hitting Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Danny Wardell showed today,” said head coach Mike Martin. “It was very encouraging to see our guys bounce back today after being humiliated last night. Eddy (Martinez-Esteve) and (Danny) Wardell provide huge lifts for our ball club today. I can’t say enough for the character this team showed today.”
The Seminoles took their first lead of the series with one run in the top of the first. Martinez-Esteve hit his ninth home run of the season; a two-out shot to right that gave FSU a 1-0 lead.
FSU pushed its lead to 4-0 with three more runs in the second. Malone singled to right center and scored on Wardell’s two-run home run to left. Matt Sauls and Bryan Zech both drew walks to put runners on first and second with one out. Sauls later scored from second for the innings’ third run as Tar Heel catcher Chris Iannetta’s throw to first sailed high and into right field on an attempt to turn a double-play.
Marshall Hubbard’s solo home run to straight-away center cut the Seminole lead to 4-1 in the second inning.
Florida State continued its scoring with three more runs in the third. Martinez-Esteve and Aaron Cheesman both singled and Malone’s RBI-single down the right line plated Martinez-Esteve from second and put Cheesman on third. With runners on the corners, Shane Robinson belted a two-run double into left center that scored both runners to make the score 7-1.
In the seventh inning, Malone continued his tear with a two-run blast over the wall in right in the seventh inning to extend the Seminoles lead to 9-1. Louis Rojas pinch-hit single put a runner on for Malone’s home run, his fourth of the season.
North Carolina made things interesting with a five-run seventh inning. The Tar Heels used RBI from Jay Cox, Hubbard and Bryan Steed that cut FSU’s lead to 9-6. Iannetta and Cox scored the last two runs of the inning as Dennis Anderson misplayed a Sammy Hewitt grounder with the bases loaded.
Wardell smashed his second home run of the game in the top of the ninth to give FSU an insurance run for the final score of 10-6.
UNC starter Garry Bakker (2-2) took the loss after giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight in 2.2 innings. Bakker recorded two strikeouts with three walks.
James earned his second save of the season after shutting down Carolina in the final 2.1 innings. He only allowed one hit and struck out two in relief.
Malone and Martinez-Esteve both went 4-for-5 on the day. Malone had three runs and three RBI with a double and a home run while Martinez-Esteve also added a home run and a double with an RBI and two runs scored.
Florida State and North Carolina will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Mark Sauls (2-1, 3.06 ERA) will take the mound for the Seminoles and face Tar Heel left-hander Andrew Miller (2-2, 2.33 ERA).