Feb. 15, 2004
Jacksonville, Fla. – In the earliest meeting of the series between the Seminoles and Dolphins, No. 24 Florida State (3-3) held off a late Jacksonville (2-1) rally for a 14-9 victory at Alexander Brest Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles and Dolphins combined for eight home runs, while Aaron Cheesman and Derrick Smith each recorded career-high’s with four-RBI in the win. Sophomore left-hander Hunter Jones (1-0) earned his first win of the season as he allowed five runs on seven hits and struck out six JU batters in five innings of work. Rhett James picked up the save after pitching the final 1.1 innings.
FSU scored two quick runs in the top of the first to take an early 2-0 lead. Robinson and Drew recorded back-to-back hits to lead off the game and both moved up a base on Eddy Martinez-Esteve’s fielder’s choice groundout to third. Gibbs Chapman plated Robinson on a groundout to short and Drew would score on an errant throw by Jacksonville second baseman Sean McHugh as he tried to turn the double play.
The Seminoles broke the game wide open as they added five unearned runs in the second inning to make the lead 7-0. Highlighting the inning was Derrick Smith’s two-out grand slam to right center, his third home run of the season. The grand slam was the first of the season for Florida State and the first since Tony McQuade crushed one at Duke on May 16, 2003. FSU went on to win that game 11-6.
Jacksonville got on the board with one-run in the bottom of the second behind a lead off home run from Orlando Diaz. The home run marked Seminole starter Hunter Jones’ first earned run of the season. Jones had gone 12 innings without an earned run to start the 2004 season.
Aaron Cheesman recorded his second-career home run, a two-run blast to left field. The round-tripper gave the Seminoles a 9-1 lead in the top of the third inning.
The Dolphins cut the lead to four at 9-5 with a combined three home runs in the fourth and fifth innings. First baseman Gordie Gronkowski hit a two-run homer to left center in the fourth while Clint Hart and McHugh smacked back-to-back home runs in the fifth for the four runs. The back-to-back home runs were the first for an FSU opponent since Colt Morton and Tim Coffield hit two consecutive for NC State on March 22, 2003.
FSU added three more runs in the seventh and eighth innings to double-up the Dolphins at 12-6. Danny Wardell hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot to left field in the seventh and Cheesman’s two-out two-RBI single up the middle in the eighth gave the Seminoles the six-run lead. JU had cut into the lead with one run in the seventh.
Jacksonville tried to make things interesting with three runs on one hit in the eighth. Florida State would hold on for a 14-9 win after adding two runs in the top of the ninth including freshman Dennis Anderson’s first career home run. Rhett James helped seal the deal as he recorded his first save of the season as he shut down the Dolphins in the final 1.1 innings.
Dennis Robinson (0-1) took his first loss of the season for JU as he allowed nine runs (three earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts in three innings of work.
Florida State will host Jacksonville on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. The game is being made up as Saturday’s game was postponed due to rain. Senior RHP Eddie Cannon (1-0, 2.57 ERA) will take the hill for the Seminoles and will face JU right-hander Brett Nagy (0-0, 9.64 ERA).