May 14, 2006
Clemson, SC – Florida State’s struggles in the ACC continued Sunday as seventh-ranked Clemson (39-13, 21-6) completed its first sweep of FSU since 2000 with an 11-2 victory. With the loss FSU (37-15, 14-12) has now been swept twice in an ACC season for the first time in school history and the Seminoles have lost four ACC series, another program high. Clemson used three homeruns, the first hit by either team in the series, to score double digit runs against the Seminoles for just the fifth time in the last 57 meetings.
“That was just total domination,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “I can’t believe they hit three homeruns into the wind. That was probably the biggest surprise of this ballgame. For somebody to be able to hit one out of this park with the wind blowing the way it was.”
The Seminoles are now 5-11 in their last 16 games and have fallen into eighth place in the ACC overall standings. Florida State has not won an ACC series since the beginning of April versus Boston College and the Seminoles are in the midst of the toughest stretch of Martin’s career. In 2004 Martin’s Seminoles went 6-10 at one point toward the end of the regular season but ended up playing in Super Regionals that year.
“I can’t put a finger on (FSU’s play as of late),” said Martin. “But we are going to keep on working at it. We have to go home and re-group and start believing in ourselves again.”
“We got beat three good and it hurts,” said junior captain Ryne Malone. “We are just going to have to stay strong mentally as a team. This bunch needs to stay together through this.”
Despite sitting in the eighth spot for the ACC tournament, FSU can drastically improve its position with a strong showing this weekend at home versus NC State. Wake Forest entered the day just a game ahead of FSU and they have to travel to Clemson for a three-game set next weekend. NC State entered the day just a half a game ahead of the Seminoles and still have a trip to Dick Howser Stadium awaiting them.
“We just have to keep going,” said Malone. “We got it handed to us this weekend but it isn’t over. This isn’t postseason. Our season isn’t over. We have four games left and two games guaranteed to us in the ACC Tournament. We have six guaranteed games left and we have to give 110 percent to get where we want to be.”
Things didn’t get off to an ideal start for FSU. A hit batter sandwiched by two Mark Sauls (1-1) walks put the Tigers in business in the second with the bases loaded and nobody out. A ground out drove one run home but a double play ended the threat as FSU escaped what could have been an early deficit.
FSU came right back and tied the game in the top of the third. A Tony Thomas, Jr. base hit combined with a Danny Diaz sac bunt and a wild pitch put the runner on third. Shane Robinson then popped a ball up to shallow right field allowing the run to some in on the sac. A walk and a base hit put runners on the corners with two away versus Jason Berken (8-3) and Buster Posey came up and gave the Seminoles the lead. The freshman sent a Berken offering back up the middle for his team-leading third RBI of the weekend. FSU tried to add to the lead on a Malone single but for the third time in three games FSU had a runner gunned down at the plate.
In the bottom of the third the Tigers stormed right back. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with nobody out and Marquez Smith tied the game up with an RBI single. That ended Sauls’ day and brought Barret Browning into the game. The senior got a fly ball but Robinson and Ryan Strauss could not settle on who should take the fly and it fell in to load the bases on the error. The Tigers jumped in front on a double play ball but that was all Clemson could get.
The Tigers added to their lead in the fourth. A two-out, two-strike RBI single by Herman Demmink made it a 4-2 Clemson advantage. The lead grew once again with one swing of the bat just moments later. Smith, who was a thorn in FSU’s side all weekend, hit the first HR of the series, a three-run shot, making the Tiger lead 7-2. Tyler Colvin followed with a triple as Browning’s struggles continued.
The second homerun of the game once again came off the bat of a Tiger. Taylor Harbin sent the first offering of the game from Travis Burge out of the stadium. One pitch later it was Andy D’Alessio’s turn as he went out over the right field fence as the lead ballooned to 9-2.
Clemson put double digit runs up in the sixth when a two-out double plated the tenth run. The lead grew to 11-2 on another base hit.
Florida State returns home for the last four games of the regular season this week. Fan Appreciation Night at Dick Howser Stadium is Tuesday night versus South Alabama. The game will start at 6:00 p.m. and there is no admission charge. NC State comes to town for the final regular season series starting Thursday at 7:00 p.m. 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.