May 25, 2006
Jacksonville, FL – Going into the bottom of the sixth inning the 18th-ranked Seminole baseball team was trailing No. 6 North Carolina 5-1 and looking at the real possibility of not winning a game in the ACC Tournament for the first time in program history. Thanks to Dennis Guinn’s record-tying third grand slam of the season and a bases loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth by Shane Robinson that didn’t happen. The walk-off victory was the third for FSU in three years versus North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. With the victory FSU reached the 40-win total improving to 40-18 on the year.
“It was a big momentum booster for our team,” said All-American Shane Robinson. “Our guys were staying positive the whole game, even down when North Carolina came out fighting. We just never gave up. We have guys on our team that can change the game with one swing of the bat like Dennis (Guinn) did. Tip your hat to those guys for getting it going and pulling ahead and staying positive the whole game.”
“The only thing you can ask as a coach is 100% effort, to stay positive and keep fighting,” said Seminole Head Coach Mike Martin. “Our guys did that. That makes me proud as a Seminole and a coach at Florida State.”
After not recording a walk-off win until the final series of the year versus NC State, the Seminoles now have two in their last five games. It was just the third win of the season for FSU over a top 10 team and FSU has now won 40 games for the 29th straight season.
“We got a big hit from Dennis Guinn. We had outstanding relief pitching. It was a game that was undoubtedly the biggest win for us this season because there was so much riding on it,” said Martin. “It was a very gratifying win for us.”
Six Florida State pitchers combined to fan 15 Carolina hitters tying a season high. It was a big turnaround for a Seminole team that set a career-high with 15 K’s of their own yesterday.
“Why does it not bother me when that happens with the other club? I don’t even think about it,” said Martin.
Luke Tucker (2-1) picked up the win for FSU and he was just dominant in relief. The junior came into the game in the eighth inning and fanned five of the six batters he faced. It was a career-high in strikeouts for the ace closer.
“Luke’s good,” said Martin when asked about his closer. “He knows now that we are going to go get him in the eighth. We did not do that earlier in the year. We started going to him in the eighth a couple weeks ago. We just made up our minds if we have a chance to win it. What was a little different today is we went to him in a tie ballgame. I have seen it done. I am not a real advocate of it. In a tournament when you are down a game he needs his work. We went ahead and rolled the dice in a tied ball game.”
“I love that,” said Tucker of being called into the game in the eighth. “Tie ballgame. I knew I only needed to give our hitters two innings and they’d come through for us and they did.”
Tyler Chambliss started the game for FSU and got off to a great start in the first. The junior recorded his 100th K of the season to start the game and then fanned the 101st batter next. He ended the 1-2-3 inning on a grounder to short.
Carolina went on top in the second inning. Chad Flack led things off with a homer over the left field fence making it a 1-0 game.
The Seminoles tied things back up in the third. Tony Thomas, Jr. sent a rocket off UNC starter Robert Woodard over the left field fence making it 1-1. It was the first hit of the game for FSU and just the second homer allowed by Carolina pitching in the last 24 games.
The Heels look to answer right back in the fourth. A hit by pitch and walk put a couple runners on base. Then a single brought the runner around third but a strike to the plate by Ryan Strauss ended the inning.
North Carolina broke the tie in the fifth. Two singles sandwiched around Chambliss’ seventh K of the game made it a 2-1 UNC lead. Carolina’s seventh hit of the game scored another run.
Dennis Guinn led off the bottom of the fifth with a double just inside the bag at third but FSU could not move Guinn off second base.
Carolina’s seventh and eighth hits of the game put runners on the corners and brought Brent Marsh into the game. The senior got the first batter on a grounder but a passed ball scored UNC’s fourth run of the game. A two-out infield single scored another Heel run as the lead grew to 5-1.
The Seminoles doubled their hit total versus Woodard top start the sixth. Two singles put runners on the corners with one away. Buster Posey singled into the gap scoring Robinson from third. A hit by pitch loaded the bases up and brought the lead run to the plate. Guinn made Woodard pay. The sophomore homered for the first time in 15 games slamming the Seminoles into the lead at 6-5.
“Our backs were against the wall all game and I am just proud of this team for battling,” said Guinn. “The guys got on base, everybody moved up and I was just glad to have the chance with the bases loaded. It was a great feeling to put us ahead that way.
“He left it up a little especially on a 1-0 pitch. He threw a fastball away for a ball. I was just trying to look up the middle you know make sure I stayed back. He just put it in my zone.”
With one away Carolina put a runner in scoring position in the seventh as Chad Flack doubled into the gap in right. A grounder got reliever Matt DiBlasi his second out but also moved the tying run to third. Brian Chambers came into the game and on his second pitch UNC tied the game with a single to right field.
Tommy Oravetz led off the bottom of the ninth when he was hit by his 10th pitch of the season. A walk to Thomas pushed the winning run into scoring position. Danny Diaz then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Carolina went to third but the throw wasn’t in time as the bases got loaded up with nobody out. That’s when Robinson ended the game. The junior sent a deep shot to the warning track in right plating the game-winner.
“When a guy is throwing that hard he supplies a lot of the power,” said Robinson of UNC reliever Andrew Carignan. “I was telling myself to stay short and see the ball down. He was wild and throwing balls up in the zone. I didn’t want to chase anything and fly out short. I just wanted something I could drive into the outfield. He came out with a fastball 2-0 on the outer corner. I just stayed short to the ball and it went a good distance. I didn’t put a lot into the swing.”
Florida State continues play at the 2006 ACC Tournament Friday. The Seminoles will play an elimination game at 4:00 p.m. versus either NC State or Virginia. The opponent will be determined after the teams face off at 4:00 p.m.
“It is always exciting to advance in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament,” said Martin. “Today’s win gives us a chance to live for tomorrow.”
Tomorrow’s game will be shown live on the ACC’s exclusive webcast, it will be available over the internet via a live radio broadcast and Game Tracker will also be available for the game. Tickets for the ACC tournament can be purchased on line at www.sunsbaseball.com or by calling (904) 358-2846.