March 7, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – The Mercer Bears have been giant killers so far in 2006. The Bear baseball team had already beaten two teams in Clemson and Florida that were ranked No. 1 at the time of the game. With the Seminoles sporting a new No. 2 ranking coming into Tuesday night’s affair, they seemed to be prime candidates for another Mercer upset but thanks to Danny Diaz’s three RBIs and Michael Hyde’s strong start on the hill, FSU (15-1) upped its win streak to 12 games with an 8-4 victory over the Bears (10-8).
“I did my homework on Mercer,” said Hyde. “I knew they had beat Florida and Clemson so I came out with the mentality that they are a top team who is capable of beating us. You better bring your best stuff and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”
“Anytime we play a club we like to make a couple phone calls to see what somebody else thought about them,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “We were told they (Mercer) are very disciplined at the plate, they have good pitching, their catching is strong and everything we saw tonight we were impressed with.”
Six Seminole starters recorded RBIs and the three starters that didn’t knock in a run scored three and combined for three hits. Shane Robinson, Buster Posey, Tony Thomas, Jr. and Diaz each had two hits and Diaz led the way with the only multi-RBI game by a Seminole.
“I think the first four guys are setting a good standard for the rest of the guys,” said Martin. “You have to have everybody competing and everybody getting it done. You can’t just depend on four guys every time you play. I am just happy that the young men are staying disciplined at the plate.”
In his second start of the season, Hyde picked up his second victory and third win overall. He threw five innings, allowed two hits, one run and fanned three. Four relievers helped secure the victory for the Tallahassee native.
“Mid-week games are just as important as the weekend games momentum wise,” said Martin. “Michael Hyde gave us five solid innings and we got it done. I was very pleased with the way the ball club played.”
“(If) my role is going to be mid-week, I want to come out and throw the best mid-week games I can,” said Hyde. “No mater what it is (my role) I want to come out and have the best outing whether it’s as a starter or reliever.”
The victory kept alive a few streaks for the Seminoles. FSU has now won 23 straight games at Mike Martin Field, which is tied for the third-longest streak in school history. Florida State is on a 12-game win streak overall as well. Dennis Guinn tied the longest streak of consecutive game with an RBI since 1999 as he drove in a run in his 12th straight game and also upped his hitting streak to 12 in a row.
Things got off to a good start for FSU as Robinson took the first pitch of the game from Mercer starter Blake Quarles (0-2) and ripped it off the right field fence for his second triple in as many games. Jack Rye then drove in the run as he reached base safely in his 16th straight game. A Posey bunt base hit put two runners on and then Thomas brought the second run in on a single to left. Diaz drove in a run with a single to center as FSU jumped on top of the Bears 3-0 in the bottom of the first.
Mercer put runners on the corners and then a sacrifice fly brought the first run of the game home for the Bears cutting the lead to 3-1 versus Hyde in the top of the second.
The Seminoles looked to get the run back in the bottom of the inning as Robinson drew a walk and Rye was hit by a pitch. Ryne Malone then brought a run in as he singled to right field. Both runners moved into scoring position on the throw home and then Posey singled to right knocking in the fifth run of the game for FSU.
Thomas led off the third versus new pitcher Josh Young with a single. The second baseman stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Thomas then came in on a Diaz ground out as the catcher drove in his second RBI of the game making the score 6-1.
Diaz continued to hurt Mercer. The junior catcher singled down the left field line plating Posey who walked earlier in the inning. It was Diaz’s career high third RBI of the game.
The Bears fought back in the top of the sixth versus new Seminole pitcher Travis Burge. Three singles cut the lead to 7-2. A fourth single loaded the bases bringing Brian Chambers into the game. The junior got the first hitter out on a force play at home before a chopper up the middle plated two more runs making it a 7-4 game. Chambers got out of the inning on a ground out.
FSU came right back in the bottom of the sixth. Charles Cleveland walked, Robinson singled and then a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Guinn then extended his streak of games with an RBI to 12 as he scored FSU’s eighth run of a game on a ground out.
The Seminoles open conference play this weekend versus Maryland (6-7, 2-1). Game times are 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12:00 p.m. Sunday. Sunday’s game will be the first TV broadcast of the year as the game will be carried on SUN Sports. Game Tracker will be available for every game this season along with a live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and free on the Internet at seminoles.com.