April 8, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – The eighth-ranked FSU baseball team hadn’t lost to Wake Forest in Tallahassee in a decade but that streak seemed to be coming to an end Friday night as the Demon Deacons sprinted out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning of the series opener. But thanks to Ryne Jernigan’s fifth inning grand slam and one of the best outings of reliever Brian Chambers’ career, FSU (31-7, 8-2) came back from the early hole and rallied to beat Wake (14-18, 7-9) 7-5. Jernigan’s third homer, and first career slam, capped off the comeback rally as the Seminoles extended their winning streak versus the Deacons to eight games.
“The attitude in the dugout when we fell behind was never give up,” said Jernigan. “Five runs in a game is nothing. It’s nothing. We did it today and now we know we can do it again if we need to.”
The fifth inning once again proved to be the big inning for FSU. In Wednesday night’s game against Jacksonville, the Seminoles hit three homers in the fifth. Friday night they entered the inning down 5-1 before cutting the WFU lead to 5-3. Then Jernigan stepped up with two outs and sent the first pitch he saw over the fence in left to give FSU their first and only lead of the game.
“I watched Tony’s (Thomas, Jr.) at bat from the on deck circle and he got three straight fast balls on the outside,” said Jernigan. “He (Eric Niesen) was leaving his pitches up a little bit. I knew he was going to throw a fastball first pitch and I just jumped on it and hit it out of the ballpark.”
“The grand slam was something certainly no one expected,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “We know Ryne is capable of that and we have seen him do it. He did a good job all night long both defensively and offensively.”
Chambers (1-0, 1-0) picked up his first win since a victory over Butler March 10, 2004. The sophomore, who was slated for a redshirt before an injury to Brian Schultz, came in to a 5-1 game in the fourth with runners on first and second and needed just one pitch to get out of the inning. He then cruised through the next four frames allowing just one hit while striking out four and issuing no walks. It was the longest outing of Chambers FSU career.
“We have a great hitting team and I knew we would get back in this game if I came in and held them with no more runs,” said Chamber. “I knew our team could get a win out of this. It feels great. It has been awhile since I have pitched like this.”
“Chambers did an outstanding job,” said Martin. “He pitched very well and (pitching coach) Jamey Shouppe has done a great job with him. I am glad we took him off the redshirt list.”
Seminole closer Tyler Chambliss picked up his conference leading ninth save of the year as he struck out the side in the ninth to close the door on the Demon Deacon’s hopes of an upset.
Wake got off to a good start off FSU starter Barret Browning in the top of the first. A leadoff walk and a two-out base hit quickly staked the Deacons to a 1-0 lead but the junior hurler limited the damage to just the one run.
Browning started the second by hitting the first batter, putting the leadoff man on for the second straight inning. After getting the first out of the inning, the junior threw away a tailor made double play ball putting runners on first and third. Wake’s next batter sent another ball right back to the mound that Browning once again threw into center field scoring the second run of the inning. Back-to-back singles put the Deacons up 4-0 with runners still on the corners and just one out. Wake added their fifth run on another misplayed DP opportunity that allowed another run to come in.
Things didn’t get any better for Browning in the third as he walked and hit the first two batters he faced. A sac bunt moved both runners up a base but the FSU hurler settled down and got out of the inning without any damage.
The Seminoles cut into the lead in the bottom of the third. Ryne Jernigan led things off by getting hit by a pitch. After a strikeout by WFU starter Josh Ellis (4-3, 3-2) Shane Robinson smashed a single to third putting runners on the corners. Ryne Malone then hit a deep fly to right sacrificing the run home. Robinson then stole his 30th and 31st bases to get to third but a ground out ended the inning.
For the fourth straight inning Wake put its leadoff runner on but for the first time in the game it came on a hit. The runner was then moved to second on a sac bunt and then a Browning walk put another Demon Deacon on and brought Chambers into the game. It ended the shortest starting stint of Browning’s FSU career. Chambers needed just one pitch as his first offering was hit to short where the Seminoles turned an inning ending double play.
A Brant Peacher single and Gibbs Chapman walk gave FSU some hope in the fourth but Ellis came back and got the second out before loading the bases on another free pass. The Seminoles could not capitalize though as a ground out ended the inning.
Ellis got off to a rocky start in the fifth. Robinson led off the inning with a rocket to short that was heading for the outfield before Wake shortstop Andy Goff barehanded the chopper as it popped over his back shoulder and threw the sophomore out. Ellis then hit the next batter before issuing his third walk of the night. An infield chopper by Jack Rye loaded the bases for the second straight inning. This time FSU cashed in as Brant Peacher singled through the left side cutting the lead to 5-3 with his two-RBI single. Another infield hit, this one by Chapman, loaded the bases again. That brought Eric Niesen out of the Wake bullpen to try and hold onto the Deacon lead. The reliever got the second out with a K but he couldn’t get out of the jam as Jernigan sent the first pitch he saw over the wall in left for his first career grand slam and his third home run of the year.
“When Brant got the base hit everyone started cheering and it gave me chill bumps,” said Jernigan. “I wanted to hear that. In my mind I told myself that I just wanted to get a hit. I just wanted to hear the crowd cheer for me one time. It felt great.”
Florida State will continue ACC play against Wake Forest (14-18, 7-9) Saturday’s at 7:00 p.m. and FSU Tennis Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist will throw out the first pitch with his 21st ranked Seminoles on hand. The series finale will start at 1:00 p.m. Sunday. Game Tracker will be available for the entire series along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.