April 16, 2003
Tallahassee, Fla. – No. 2 Florida State (34-6) scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to narrowly defeat Jacksonville (17-20) by a final of 5-4 in front of 2,059 fans at Dick Howser Stadium Wednesday night. Junior center fielder Matt Sauls had a two-run single in the seventh and scored the game-winning run later in the same inning on a wild pitch. Hunter Jones (2-0) picked up the win in relief and Daniel Hodges worked a scoreless ninth to earn his eighth save of the year.
The Seminoles scored first with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Jerrod Brown drew a walk and Balkcom doubled to left to plate Brown for FSU’s first run of the game. Balkcom advanced to third on a wild pitch and Chris Hart walked to put runners on the corners. Hart stole second and Balkcom scored when JU catcher Jon Galui overthrew third baseman Larry Best-Berfet on a failed pick-off, bringing home Balkcom for the second run of the inning.
Jacksonville took a 3-2 lead with one run in the third and two in the fourth. Best-Berfet scored the Dolphins first run on Clint Hart’s RBI single off the glove of Brown. JU got their first lead in the fourth inning with the help of two Seminole errors. Galui singled to shortstop, moved to third when Best-Berfet reached on a fielding error by Stephen Drew and scored on a failed pickoff attempt at first by Mark Sauls. Rob Hudson’s RBI single to center scored Best-Berfet to give JU a 3-2 lead.
The Dolphins added another run in the sixth to increase their lead to 4-2. Orlando Diaz was hit by pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on Galui’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Robby Cichra’s RBI-single down the left line.
FSU finally got things going and took the lead, 5-4, with three runs in the seventh. Balkcom walked and Hart was hit by pitch to put runners on first and second. Both runners moved up a base on a balk by Brett Nagy. Sauls tied the game with a two-run single to center, scoring Balkcom and Hart. Drew drew a walk and both runners moved up on a wild pitch, while Tony McQuade was hit by pitch to load the bases. With the bases loaded and two outs, James Murdock’s wild pitch sailed into the backstop allowing Sauls to come home for the winning run.
Florida State travels to Miami this weekend, April 18-20, for a three-game series with the Hurricanes. Game times are set for Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. FSU LHP Trent Peterson (6-1, 2.35 ERA) is scheduled to take the hill Friday night for the Seminoles.