March 8, 2005
Hilo, HI – Although you may not be able to tell from the final score, the third-ranked Seminole baseball team had to comeback from a 5-0 deficit to get past Hawaii-Hilo and improve to 20-1 on the season with an 11-5 victory Monday. Florida State pounded out 16 hits and got solid relief from Stephen Ochs, game winner Kevin Lynch (4-0) and Matt DiBlasi dropping the Vulcans to 1-27 on the year. Shane Robinson recorded three hits to up his hitting streak to 26 games. The win was the 12th straight for FSU.
Jack Rye and Aaron Cheesman each led the team with three RBIs and both tied team season highs with four hits in the game while Robinson went a perfect 3-for-3 and is now hitting .512 on the year. The five-run comeback was the largest come-from-behind win of the season for FSU, which is now off to the third-best start in school history.
Ryan Strauss started for FSU but only lasted 1 1/3 before giving way to Ochs who kept FSU in the game throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He was followed by Lynch who is now tied for the team lead with four wins after throwing two perfect innings of relief. Matt DiBlasi closed out the win.
Hilo opened the second with a walk and then an error put runners on first and second with nobody out. A sac bunt loaded the bases when Ryne Malone looked to cut down the lead runner at third but his throw was not in time. The FSU pitching staff was holding opposing teams to a .143 average with the bases full but the Vulcans didn’t need a hit to take the lead as a Strauss walk broke the scoreless tie. UHH, who had yet to record a hit, got its first with an infield single to third extending the lead to 2-0. Hilo scored another run on a ground out to second but the Vulcans still had runners on the corners with just one out and the second hit of the inning plated yet another UHH run. The Seminoles’ second error allowed the fifth run to score as new pitcher Stephen Ochs seemed to have FSU out of the jam on a grounder to third before the botched play at second. Ochs did get FSU out of the inning and hold UHH without any more runs through his 3 2/3 innings of work.
Robinson recorded his second hit of the game in the third and then swiped his 20th base of the season. The 20 steals are a new season high for the sophomore and the 20th swipe proved to be a big one as he came home on Cheesman’s single to right field.
Florida State looked to cut further into the lead in the fourth when Jack Rye led off the inning with a hit and a walk off starter Kyle Neuberger (0-2). The UHH starter didn’t allow either runner to move off their base though as FSU couldn’t get a sac bunt down and Neuberger then proceeded to strike out the next three batters raising his K total to seven on the day with four coming on Seminole batters watching a called third strike.
The FSU bats came to life in the top of the fifth as the Seminoles continued to whittle away at the Hilo lead. Robinson’s third hit of the day, a one-out single that tied his game-high for hits, started the rally. Gibbs Chapman then got on base when he was hit by a Neuberger offering. A double steal moved both runners up and then Cheesman drove two runs in with his sixth and seventh RBIs of the trip, which leads the team. Rye followed with a single of his own chasing Neuberger from the game. Despite the new pitcher, the result was the same as Josh Spivey recorded FSU’s third straight hit and cut the UHH lead to 5-4.
With a 6:00 p.m. travel deadline looming, UHH looked to solidify their lead on a error, wild pitch and a fielder’s choice where nobody was retired on the play. With nobody out and runners on first and second, Kevin Lynch was brought into the game to try and quiet the threat. The senior did just that keeping FSU in the game at 5-4 with a couple fielder’s choices and a K to end the sixth.
Cheesman led off the seventh with his third hit of the day. Rye followed by slamming a double just inside the first base bag putting two runners in scoring position with nobody away in what was possibly FSU’s last at bat of the game. Spivey sent a hot shot right back to Eddie Gutierrez (1-2) who held the runners at bay while recording the first out. The Seminoles tied the game on a Malone sac fly and then took the lead on a hard hit shot by Bryan Henry to second that was mishandled and called an error.
The eighth inning got underway just 15 minutes before the deadline and Manasa took advantage of the extra at bats with a triple to right field. Following Robinson getting hit by a pitch, Chapman singled in FSU’s seventh run of the game. Cheesman loaded the bases with his fourth hit of the day, which is a new team high in 2005 and tied his personal best. Rye, not to be outdone, recorded his fourth hit of the game, an RBI single boosting the FSU lead to 8-5. Josh Spivey then doubled over the head of the left fielder to knock in two more runs and make it a 10-5 game. Malone’s sac fly scored another FSU run putting FSU up 11-5.
The Seminoles get their first and only day off Tuesday as the team will visit Pearl Harbor. The Seminoles return to action Wednesday March 9 at 7:00 p.m. Hawaii time and 12:00 a.m. in Tallahassee versus Hawaii Pacific. Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.
Due to the time difference, seminoles.com will be the best place to find game stories from the Hawaii trip as soon as the action ends on top of photo galleries both on and off the field. There is only one place to follow the Seminoles as they trek through Hawaii and that is the official website of the Florida State Department of Athletics.