May 1, 2004
Clemson, S.C. – No. 24 Florida State (28-16, 7-6 ACC) used a six-run fourth inning and a strong pitching performance from senior Rhett James (5-2) to defeat No. 11 Clemson (27-15, 11-5 ACC) by a final score of 11-6 in front of 5,079 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday night. The Seminole victory snapped a 14-game home winning streak for the Tigers as FSU has now won 12 of the last 13 meetings with Clemson. James worked a career-long 8.2 innings of relief of starter Hunter Jones who left with a sore elbow in the first inning.
Each of the first three batters reached base in the first inning for the Seminoles as FSU took an early 1-0 lead. Bryan Zech singled through the left side and scored from first when Stephen Drew ripped an RBI-double into right center to score Florida State’s first run of the game.
The Tigers started the home half of the first with four straight hits including Brad McCann’s RBI-single that tied the game at one apiece. With runners on first and second, Lou Santagelo singled to third and advanced on a throwing error which scored Kris Harvey and advanced McCann to third. John Ingram’s RBI-groundout plated McCann from third to give Clemson a 3-1 lead.
Hunter Jones left in the first inning with an awkward feeling in his elbow after throwing 17 pitches.
Clemson pushed its lead to 6-1 with three more runs in the third. Russell Triplett’s sacrifice fly to left accounted for the Tigers’ only RBI of the inning. McCann drew a lead off walk and moved to second on Santangelo’s single to left. McCann would score from second and Santangelo went to third when Rhett James fielded Travis Storrer’s bunt single and threw it over the head of first baseman Danny Wardell. Triplett’s sacrifice fly to left scored Santangelo and Storrer later scored on a passed ball.
FSU exploded to take a 7-6 lead with a six-run fourth inning. Gibb Chapman led things off with a single up the middle and advanced to third on Shane Robinson’s single into right center. Wardell followed with a walk to load the bases and Matt Sauls was also walked with the bases juiced to bring home Chapman. With the bases still full, Ryne Malone’s two-run pinch hit single to center plated Robinson and Wardell to make it 6-4. Zech’s RBI-single through the right side scored Sauls from second and Zech later stole second on Drew’s strikeout. Aaron Cheesman capped off the six-run inning with a two-run double into left center to put the Seminoles ahead by one.
Florida State’s increased its lead to 9-6 with two runs in the sixth. Zech and Drew were both walked and Eddy Martinez-Esteve plated Zech from second with an RBI-single through the left side which also moved Drew to third. FSU’s lead went to three on Chapman’s single scored Drew from third.
Martinez-Esteve’s two-run double with two outs in the seventh pushed the Seminole lead to 11-6 in what proved to be the final score.
Zech (3-for-5) led FSU offensively while Drew (2-for-3), Martinez-Esteve (2-for-3) and Chapman (2-for-5) also recorded multi-hit performances. Martinez-Esteve added three RBI and Cheesman had two in the win.
Florida State and Clemson will continue the three-game ACC series on Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. and will be carried on the Sunshine Network. Seminole left-hander Brian Schultz (4-0, 2.73 ERA) will face Tiger left-hander Robert Rohrbaugh (3-2, 2.84 ERA).