April 25, 2008
Cary, N.C. – One inning was all it took as third-ranked North Carolina (37-7, 17-4 ACC) scored 11 runs in the bottom of the eighth en route to an 11-4 victory over second-ranked Florida State (34-6, 18-4 ACC) on Friday night at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The Seminoles were held to a season-low four hits in game one as it was the first time this season that the Seminoles have suffered back-to-back losses.
The Tar Heels were held scoreless through the first seven innings before erupting for 11 runs on seven hits as 15 batters came to the plate in the eighth. A fielding error led to the big inning as 10 of the 11 runs came on two outs following the Seminole miscue. Ten straight UNC batters reached all on two outs as UNC faced six Seminole pitchers in the inning. Tyler Everett finally closed the door in the eighth as he got Tim Federowicz to ground back to the mound for the final out of the inning.
“That was a total nightmare,” said head coach Mike Martin. “You have to give those guys (North Carolina) a lot of credit. They are the ones that kept pecking, that kept getting it done. You have to credit them.”
It marks the second time in a week that an opponent has reached double-digit runs in an inning against the Seminoles. Last Friday, Miami scored 10 runs in the sixth as the Hurricanes went on to an 11-4 victory in Tallahassee.
Florida State scored the first run of the game courtesy of two Tar Heel errors in the fourth. Tyler Holt led off the inning reaching on a two base throwing error by UNC shortstop Garrett Gore. The freshman centerfielder then moved to third on the second error of the inning as pitcher Alex White muffed a sacrifice bunt attempt by Jason Stidham. A batter later Buster Posey sent a fly ball to left to score Holt for a 1-0 Seminole advantage. In the inning, Holt extended his streak of reaching base to all 40 games this season.
The Seminoles increased their lead to 3-0 without registering a base hit in the sixth on a pair of sacrifice flies. FSU loaded the bases with three straight walks on White before Posey ended the evening for the Tar Heel starter on his second sac fly of the game. The fly ball scored Stephen Cardullo who got the start at third for the second straight game. Southpaw Brian Moran entered with runners at first and third and one out to face the lefty Jack Rye. Rye sent a fly to center deep enough to score Holt from third for a 3-0 advantage.
White finished the game allowing three runs, two earned, on just one hit. He walked four and struck out six in earning the no decision.
Fairel faced the first three batters in the sixth registering a fly out, a base hit and a fielder’s choice groundout at second before being lifted after hitting 107 pitches. Stidham made an amazing diving stop on a ball that was headed up the middle off the bat of Kyle Seager to get a force out at second base for the second out of the inning. Martin then went to the bullpen and called on senior Ryan Strauss who got Federowicz to fly out to Holt in center for the final out.
“He was at 107 pitches,” added Martin on taking Fairel out with two outs in the sixth. “They had hit the ball and he was falling behind. We had Ryan Strauss ready in the bullpen. That was where we wanted to be, we wanted to be exactly in that spot.”
The Seminole lefty finished the game without giving up a run on four hits in 5.2 innings of work. He walked two and stuck out six. It marked the second time this season that Fairel has not given up a run in 10 total starts.
“Fairel pitched beautiful baseball,” said Martin. “To shutout a team for 5.2 innings like he did was really, really impressive.”
FSU threatened in the top of the eighth loading the bases on back-to-back singles by Cardullo and Holt and then a one out intentional walk to Posey. Moran got Rye swinging on strikes for the second out before calling on Rob Wooten (2-1) out of the bullpen. Wooten kept the score at 3-0 as he registered an infield pop up to Dennis Guinn to end the inning.
Jimmy Marshall (4-1) registered his first loss of the season as he gave up four runs, all unearned, on one hit, a walk and a hit by pitch.
The Seminoles added one more run in the ninth on an RBI fielder’s choice groundout by Holt. Jack Posey scored on the play after reaching on a four pitch walk.
“We just have to be mentally tough and be ready to go tomorrow,” added Martin.
Florida State and North Carolina will return to the diamond on Saturday, April 26 at 6:00 p.m. Fans can catch all the action over the internet as ACC Select and gametracker will be available for the contest. The game can also be heard live over the radio on 100.7 FM with Tom Block providing all the play-by-play action.