April 13, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a game that featured a bizarre turn of events even before the first pitch was thrown, sixth-ranked Florida State (26-7) did not allow a power outage to get the best of them on Tuesday night defeating seventh-ranked Florida (23-9) 3-2 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
“To say that is a happy clubhouse is an understatement,” said head coach Mike Martin. “There are a lot of baseball games played in this yard and that one was about as well played by both teams. You saw outstanding pitching on both sides.”
In front of a packed crowd of 6,526, the largest crowd of the season and eighth largest crowd all-time, the Seminoles scored early and received an outstanding pitching performance from freshman Scott Sitz to notch their third victory over the Gators this year, while clinching the regular season series taking three out of four from UF.
“We are obviously elated,” said Martin on winning the season series from the Gators. “They are an outstanding club. They have been in the top 10 all year. It was a great four-game series. There was a lot of attention, excitement and it was good for the game of baseball and for the great state of Florida. But tonight it was just electric; it was totally electric.”
The start of the game on Tuesday night was delayed 16 minutes due to a power outage at the stadium. After a brief meeting by the coaches and umpires, the two teams proceeded to start the game in hopes the power to the stadium would come back on before the sun set behind Dick Howser Stadium.
Sitz (3-0), who was making his second career start on Tuesday, tied a career-high working 6.0 innings allowing just two runs, one earned, on four hits. He walked two and tied a career-high with four strikeouts. The Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native was cruising through the first three innings as he allowed just one runner to reach second in the 11 that he faced.
“Mr. Scott Sitz, a freshman, goes out there and really pitched with tremendous poise,” added Martin. “I think I got a new nickname for that guy because if that’s not `bulldog’ then I don’t know what is. He really got after it tonight.”
After giving up two runs in the fourth and the power restored at Howser, Sitz settled down and was the beneficiary of two outstanding defensive plays over the next two innings. The first came on an outstanding turn of an ending inning double play by Devon Travis and Stephen Cardullo. Travis made a great play on a short hop groundball off the bat of Preston Tucker, flipping on to Cardullo at second for the second out, who threw on to Jayce Boyd at first for out number three.
Sherman Johnson then showed a little glove in the top of the sixth making a great diving stop on a ball headed down the third base line saving what would have been extra bases for Florida catcher Mike Zunino. With two Gators aboard and two outs, Johnson quickly got to his feet and tagged third with his glove just in front of a sliding Tyler Thompson to end the inning and keep the Seminole lead intact at 3-2.
“We had a full pen that was ready to go,” said Martin. “Geoff did an outstanding job, Daniel did an outstanding job and of course Michael came in and did another great job. I am just very excited, very proud of the way we played tonight.”
Offensively, the Noles finished the evening out hitting the Gators 11-5. Tyler Holt, Cardullo, James Ramsey and Johnson led the Seminoles with two hits each. Cardullo’s two-run double in the second proved to be the game-winner, while Ramsey registered the other RBI singling home Holt in the first. All three runs by the Seminoles on Tuesday night came on two outs.
Florida State plated the first run of the ball game on an RBI single by Ramsey in the first. Holt led off the game with a single thought the right side, advanced to second on his seventh stolen base of the season and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Cardullo. Two batters later, Ramsey drove in Holt for a 1-0 FSU lead.
The Seminoles put together a two-out rally in the second to push their lead to 3-0. Parker Brunelle got things started with a single through the left side and moved to second on Holt’s single to right. Cardullo brought them both home on a two-run double down the line in left.
FSU put runners at the corners with one only in the third but could not add to its lead as Gator reliever Nick Maronde got Johnson to pop up to short and Travis to fly out to right for the final two outs of the inning.
Florida scored a pair of runs off Sitz in the fourth to cut the deficit to 3-2. Tucker led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a double to right off the bat of Austin Maddox. Josh Adams drove in the first Gator run of the game on a groundout to third. A Seminole throwing error by Cardullo on a groundball off the bat of Jonathan Pigott at short extended the inning for the Gators. With runners at the corners, Zunino dropped in a bloop single scoring Maddox from third. Sitz got out of the inning without further damage getting Jerico Weitzel swinging on strikes.
After Maronde registered two quick outs to start the bottom of the fourth, the Seminoles loaded the bases on a double by Cardullo, a walk to McGee and a hit-by-pitch to Ramsey. Boyd followed with a tough two hopper that Gator shortstop Nolan Fontana had trouble handling at first, but recovered in time to throw out Boyd at first for the third out of the inning.
The Noles looked to add to their lead in the eighth as the first two batters reached on singles by Johnson and Travis. The Gators went to the bullpen and brought on Kevin Chapman. After a sacrifice by Brunelle moved the runners 90 feet, the junior southpaw got Holt swinging on strikes and Cardullo to fly out to center to end the threat.
Florida’s Greg Larson (1-1) was charged with the loss as he gave up all three runs on seven hits in 2.0 plus innings of work.
Florida State will return to the diamond on Wednesday, April 14 as the Seminoles host Jacksonville at 6:00 p.m. on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team and 94.3 FM and on the web at Seminoles.com.