March 10, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – The ACC is one tough conference and you can never let your guard down. If the second-ranked Seminoles weren’t aware of that going into the series with Maryland they sure are now. After jumping out to a 9-0 lead, FSU (16-1, 1-0) had to hold off a attempted comeback by Maryland (6-8, 2-2) as the Terrapins scored seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings before closer Luke Tucker shut the door and preserved the 9-7 win. Bryan Henry picked up the win as he improved to 5-0 but saw his streak of scoreless innings come to an end at 27 1/3.
“They are a scrappy team,” said Dennis Guinn. “They came out and put the ball in play. They are a good team. They didn’t give up. Coach spoke to us wanting to make sure we didn’t relax after getting out to a lead. This is the ACC. The best conference in the nation. You give new life to a team like that and they can come back and score seven runs in two innings like they did tonight.”
The Seminoles were all over Terrapin starter Brett Tidball (1-3) who gave up seven runs in his three innings of work. Guinn was once again the offensive star as he equaled a career high for the third time this season with four RBIs.
After cruising out to the 9-0 lead, Terp reliever Kevin Biringer shut FSU down the rest of the way while Maryland got within two runs. Tucker came into the game in the ninth and threw 11 straight strikes as he closed out the game for his team leading third save.
“I didn’t realize I threw so many strikes,” said Tucker. “It felt good. I wasn’t walking people. I have been inconsistent so far. To be honest though I didn’t notice I threw that many strikes.”
Henry had one of the best outings of the season through the first six innings. At one point the junior had thrown 44 strikes in his first 60 pitches. Before giving up a career-high four runs in the seventh, Henry looked to be on his way to taking part in his fourth combined shutout of the season.
“You have to tip your cap to them,” said Henry. “They were swinging the whole game. In the seventh inning the ball found the barrel a couple of times. That is going to happen. That’s baseball. I went out there and did the same thing I always do. That’s me. I put it in play and let my defense work. They were able to find some holes.
“The streak was fun but all (good) things must come to an end and they ended it with authority.”
Despite the end of Henry’s shutout streak, Florida State kept plenty of other streaks alive with the win. Their 13 game win streak is the second-longest in the nation and their 24-game home win streak is tied for the second-longest streak in school history. It was the 25th straight win for FSU over Maryland and the team’s 26th straight win in the opening series of ACC play.
Jack Rye and Guinn kept a couple of personal streaks going. Rye reached base safely again, the 17th time this season he has done that. Guinn recorded another hit and another RBI for the 13th straight game. His RBI streak is the longest at FSU since 1999. Tony Thomas, Jr. recorded a hit to extend his hit streak to eight games, tying a personal best.
“With Shane (Robinson) and Jack (Rye) in front of me they are on base in all the games,” said Guinn of his team-leading 28 RBIs. “The guys in front of me have good speed and if I put the ball in play, into the outfield, they get in there and they score.”
Shane Robison led the game off with a single through the left side. He moved into scoring position on a ground out and then he swiped third, his 11th steal of the year. Guinn then brought the junior home with his team-leading 25th RBI of the year.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the second as they loaded the bases off Tidball. For the second straight inning Guinn delivered. This time he drove in two runs with a single. After Ryne Malone got hit by a pitch, Buster Posey knocked in two more runs with another single making the score 5-0. All five of FSU’s hits up to that point were singles. The sixth single of the game made it 7-0 as Thomas drove in two more runs.
FSU opened the fourth versus new Terp pitcher Kevin Biringer with two more singles. A misplay on a force at second allowed the eighth run of the game to come home. Guinn then brought home his fourth run of the game as the FSU lead grew to 9-0.
Henry cruised until the seventh when he saw an end to his streak of scoreless innings. With one away in the frame a Chad Durakis single drove in the first run against Henry since February 10 versus Auburn. Maryland continued to get to the rightie as the third double he surrendered on the evening plated another Terp run. A two-RBI single cut the FSU lead to 9-4 before Henry got out of the seventh.
Brent Marsh came in to relieve Henry in the eighth and was greeted by Gerry Spessard’s second double of the night and Maryland’s fourth of the game off FSU pitchers. An infield single put runners on the corners and a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position with two away then designated hitter Jon Greenwich took Marsh out of the yard to the deepest part of the park. It was the first homer for the Terp and it cut the FSU lead to 9-7 but thanks to Tucker that was as close as Maryland would get.
FSU and Maryland will continue their series Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. when Tyler Chambliss (4-0) is scheduled to face off versus Maryland’s Ben Pfinsgraff (1-2). Sunday’s finale will start at noon and be broadcast by SUN Sports, FSU’s first televised game of the year. Michael Hyde (3-0) will take the hill for FSU and will face either Mike Sufczynski (0-0) or John Dischert (1-1). 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.