Feb. 20, 2004
Tallahassee, Fla. – No. 24 Florida State (5-3) used a five-run eighth inning to defeat Oral Roberts (3-1) by a final score of 8-3 in front of 2,219 fans at Dick Howser Stadium on Friday afternoon. The Seminole pitching staff combined for 12 strikeouts as senior right-hander Rhett James picked up his first win of the season. James allowed two runs on two hits with a season-high four strikeouts in three innings of relief.
Starter Hunter Jones pitched five strong innings and only allowed one run on five hits while striking out seven ORU batters. Derrick Smith led Florida State offensively, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. Along with Smith, four other Seminoles recorded multi-hit games (Stephen Drew 2-for-4, Eddy Martinez-Esteve 2-for-4, Gibbs Chapman 2-for-3 and Matt Sauls 2-for-3)
The Seminoles took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Derrick Smith led off the inning with a single to left and scored when Gibbs Chapman roped his second home run of the season over the left field wall.
Oral Roberts finally got on the board with one run in the top of the fourth inning. Josh Lex’s two-out solo home run, his third of the season, cut FSU’s lead to 2-1.
Florida State extended its lead to 3-1 as Stephen Drew belted a leadoff home run to right center in the sixth. Drew’s homer was his third of the season and the second of the day for the Seminoles.
The Golden Eagles rallied to tie the game at three apiece with two runs in the top of the eighth. Jeff Tuttle walked and Lex hit his second home run of the game, a two-out, two-run blast to left.
FSU answered in a big way with five runs in the eighth inning. Drew singled to right to lead off the inning and Martinez-Esteve followed with a single to left to put runners on first and second. Smith then ripped an RBI-single to center to plate Drew from second in what proved to be the game-winner. Dennis Anderson’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base and Aaron Cheesman’s two-run single to center put the Seminoles up 6-3. Florida State added two more runs for the final of 8-3 as Sauls drew a bases loaded walk to plate Smith and Bryan Zech came home to score when reliever Justin Ramsey was sighted for a balk.
Connor Tinkler took the loss in relief for Oral Roberts after allowing three runs on three hits to start the eighth inning. Golden Eagle starter Dennis Bigley worked 7.0 innings and allowed three runs on nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Florida State and Oral Roberts will take the field again on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. Senior RHP Eddie Cannon (1-0, 1.38 ERA) will take the hill for the Seminoles and will face ORU left-hander Taylor McIntyre (1-0, 0.00 ERA). The series will conclude Sunday at 1:00 p.m.