March 15, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – It wasn’t the start to the weekend that No. 5 Florida State (16-1, 3-1 ACC) was looking for as the Seminoles fell to Maryland (12-5, 2-2 ACC), 5-3, Friday night inside Turtle Smith Stadium. The loss was the first of the season for the Seminoles snapping their 16-game win streak to open the 2013 campaign.
Florida State led 2-1 until the sixth when the Terrapins scored twice to take their first lead of the game. The Seminoles tied the game at three in the eighth only to see Maryland responded with two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead for good at 5-3.
Maryland rode the arm of starter Jimmy Reed (3-1), who worked 8.0 strong innings allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits as he walked three, hit three batters and struck out one. Reed finished the game throwing 117 pitches as he kept the Terps undefeated at home this year running their record to 10-0.
“I thought Reed did a very good job,” said head coach Mike Martin. “He really controlled the game. Maryland put a lot of pressure on us all night long. I thought that we battled very well when we were behind. You just have to move to tomorrow.”
Stephen McGee registered three of FSU’s season-low five hits on the evening as the junior catcher went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, a single, one run and an RBI. Josh Delph was 1-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, while Jose Brizuela picked up an RBI single and drew a walk.
Maryland’s Jordan Hagel led the Terps with three hits and three runs scored, while Kyle Convissar drove in three runs.
FSU starter Brandon Leibrandt did not factor into the decision Friday night as the sophomore southpaw allowed three runs on five hits in 5.1 innings as he walked two and struck out a pair.
Brandon Johnson (1-1) suffered the loss as the junior left hander gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth. Johnson threw just five pitches and faced two batters in 0.1 inning of work.
For the second straight game, McGee gave the Seminoles the lead in the first inning as he roped a two-out, RBI double down the line in left to score Delph from second and give FSU an early 1-0 lead. Two pitches into the game, Delph reached as he was hit on the leg by Reed. After a groundout by Marcus Davis moved Delph to second, McGee came through with FSU’s first hit of the game connecting on his sixth double of the season.
The lead was short lived as Maryland answered with a run in the bottom of the first to tie the game one. Hagel laced a one-out double to right, stole third and scored two batters later on a groundout to third by Convissar.
The Noles regained the lead in the top of the third taking advantage of a Maryland error to move back ahead at 2-1. John Sansone led off the inning reaching on a throwing error at third and moved to second on an infield single by Delph. Brett Knief moved both runners 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt and after a 10 pitch at-bat by Davis, the junior designated hitter brought home Sansone on a sac-fly to right center. With runners at the corners and two outs, DJ Stewart looked to add to the Florida State lead, but Maryland shortstop Blake Schmit made an outstanding play on a groundball up the middle to throw out Stewart at first to retire the side.
Maryland took its first lead of the evening in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run single by Convissar. The Terps put two runners on off Leibrandt following a single by Hagel and a walk to KJ Hockaday leading to a Seminole pitching change. Gage Smith entered and on the second pitch of the at-bat the Terps successfully pulled off a double steal. In a battle at the plate with Convissar and the infield drawn in, the Terrapin second baseman lofted a base hit to center to score two and give Maryland a 3-2 advantage.
Florida State tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the eighth on a two-out, RBI single by Brizuela. McGee got things going in the inning with his third hit of the game on a single to left and then moved to second when Stewart was hit by a pitch. After Reed got John Nogowski to pop up to short, Brizuela followed with a single through the right side on the very next pitch to bring home McGee for the tying run.
“That’s what was so encouraging,” added Martin on his team battling back to tie the game late. “The way we continued to fight when things were not going our way. But yet we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We kept fighting and had a chance to do something more in the eighth but of course you have to credit the Terrapins. They did a good job of getting it done.”
But the Terrapins responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead for good. Hagel led off the inning with a triple down the line in right off Johnson. A pitching change brought in Robby Coles and after walking the first batter that he faced on four pitches, the junior right hander responded with a big strikeout of Convissar for the first out of the inning. Two pitches later, Coles unleashed a wild pitch to allow Hagel to score the go-ahead run. LaMonte Wade then stepped in and laced an RBI double off the wall in right to give Maryland a 5-3 lead.
Billy Strode entered to get the final two outs in the eighth to retire the side.
Kevin Mooney came in to pitch the ninth and retired the side in order to earn his first save of the season.
Florida State and Maryland will return to the diamond for game two of the series on Saturday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m. Fans can listen to the game live on the All-Access player. Locally, fans can listen to the game on 100.7 FM. As always, Seminole fans can follow the Noles on twitter @FSU_Baseball and remember to like the Seminoles on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FSUBaseball). Live stats for all three games will be available via gametracker.