April 17, 2005 - by
No. 9 FSU Baseball Drops Series Finale To No. 4 Georgia Tech 9-4

April 17, 2005

Box Score

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    Atlanta, GA – The last time Florida State was swept in a three-game ACC series came at Dick Howser Stadium versus Georgia Tech. That was until this weekend. The fourth-ranked Yellow Jackets (29-7, 16-2) tightened their grip on first place in the ACC by completing a sweep over No. 9 FSU (33-11, 9-5) with a 9-4 win Sunday. It was the sixth straight regular season victory for Tech over FSU marking the first time that has happened since Florida State joined the ACC in 1992. Hunter Jones took the loss (4-2, 0-1) while Tech’s Blake Wood improved to 7-0 and 4-0 in the ACC.

    “I just told the team Georgia Tech got the job done, plain and simple,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “It wasn’t like we gave runs away or we gave them a game. They beat us. They deserved to win all three ball games. It wasn’t anything but them going out and beating us.”

    The Seminoles stranded 10 more runners Sunday raising their total to 30 runners left on base in the three games. For the second straight day, FSU either out hit or had as many hits as the top hitting team in the ACC and one the top 15 teams in the nation as far as batting averages go. Despite ending the series with just one hit less than Tech (27-26), FSU fell by a combined score of 25-16 in the three-game set.

    “I wouldn’t have thought we would lose all three games when we had just one less hit in the series and committed only one error,” said Martin. “Especially when we out hit them yesterday and scored eight runs. We kept swinging at pitchers’ pitches. We swing in situations where we know we aren’t going to get a hittable fastball. We swung at the pitches they wanted us to swing at.”

    The loss dropped FSU into fifth place in the conference behind Georgia Tech, Clemson, Miami, and North Carolina. FSU still has series with two of the three teams ahead of them. FSU also took two of three from a Clemson squad that still has to play NC State, Georgia Tech and Miami among others.

    “I told our team that I was proud of some of what I saw today,” said Martin. “I told them about a shortstop (Ryne Jernigan) that ran head on into a left fielder (Gibbs Chapman) and got up and finished the game. I told them about Hunter Jones who had a pretty good day today. Georgia Tech just does a good job.

    “There is still too much left to think about how this game effects the postseason. We are going to keep fighting and that will start Tuesday night against a very good Florida ball club.”

    Jernigan and Chapman, who had a violent collision in shallow left field in the third inning, continued to carry the Seminole offense Sunday afternoon as Chapman went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a homer and Jernigan went 1-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch. Jernigan finished the series going 5-for-11 while Chapman led the team with three RBIs.

    After not homering in yesterday’s game, Tech got the long ball out of the way early on as they touched up Jones in the bottom of the first. After Danny Payne led off the first with a single, Jones got the next batter before surrendering a two run homer to Steven Blackwood on the 12th pitch of the at bat. The shot bounced off the speaker tower just to the right of center field. It marked the 13th time in the last 14 games FSU has trailed early on.

    As they have done all series and all year long, FSU answered back in their next at bat. After a fly ball out, Jernigan was hit and Danny Wardell followed with a single to put two runners on versus Wood. The sophomore hurler got the next out on a called third strike but he hit his second batter of the frame, Tony Thomas, Jr., to load the bases. Shane Robinson came through with a two-run single tying the game an ending a 0-for-7 streak for the All-American candidate.

    Georgia Tech came right back and grabbed the lead again. A lead off walk came back to hurt Jones who gave up an RBI double to number nine hitter Mike Trapani to put Tech up 3-2. Trapani took third on an error on the throw to the plate trying to cut down Andy Hawranick and then came home on the next play as a sac fly to center field plated the fourth run for the Jackets.

    Florida State tried to answer back with another two-out rally in the third as both Jack Rye and Jernigan singled. It was the fifth hit in 10 at bats for Jernigan in the series. It looked like the Seminoles would cash in but Wardell’s shot down the left field line went right to third baseman Wes Hodges who was in perfect position but bobbled the ball before recovering and getting the force at third.

    After retiring eight straight Yellow Jacket batters, Jones opened the bottom of the fifth by hitting the lead off batter who was moved into scoring position on a sac bunt. Jones then walked his second batter of the game. The junior pitcher got the second out on a superb play by Jernigan, who made a diving stop on a ball going up the middle to get a force out at second but FSU couldn’t escape the inning. Hodges came up and singled home Tech’s fifth run of the day.

    Trailing 5-2, Florida State tried to stage another two-out rally. Thomas’ double with Brant Peacher on first put two runners in scoring position with two away. The Seminoles couldn’t cash in though as a ground out to third ended the threat.

    Matt DiBlasi opened the bottom half of the sixth on the mound for FSU and the Jackets got to the junior leftie who has been almost untouchable as of late. The Yellow Jackets used two doubles to boost their lead to 6-2. Then DiBlasi, who had allowed two doubles all season, gave up his fourth of the series and third of the inning putting runners on second and third and making it a 7-2 Tech lead. DiBlasi’s fourth double surrendered in the inning broke the game wide open as the Jackets moved in front 9-2.

    Florida State responded to Tech’s four-run sixth. Ryne Malone opened the seventh with a triple and was followed by Chapman who homered down the right field line. It was his team-leading fifth homer of the season and it ended Wood’s day on the hill.

    The Seminoles make their only appearance at Dick Howser until April 29 when they host No. 5 Florida Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. The game will be carried live on Sun Sports. Game Tracker will be available for all FSU’s 2005 games along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.

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