Feb. 28, 2006
Gainesville, FL – Florida State came into Gainesville Tuesday night and needed a complete team effort to down the fifth-ranked Gators (8-4) and that is exactly what they got in a hard fought 6-4 win. The fifth-ranked Seminoles (11-1) got huge pitching performances from Tyler Chambliss (4-0), Brent Marsh, Matt DiBlasi and Luke Tucker. Offensively Danny Diaz, Tony Thomas, Jr. and Dennis Guinn all had big hits and defensively FSU turned two double plays with the tying runs on base to hold on to the victory.
The bottom of the FSU batting order played a vital role in the Seminoles’ 111th all-time victory versus their rival from the south. The seven, eight and nine hitters in the Seminole order combined to go 5-for-11 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Number nine hitter Diaz’s two-run double broke open a 1-1 game as the catcher gave FSU a lead they would never surrender. Thomas’ two-run homer in the sixth proved to be the game-winner scoring the fifth and sixth runs for FSU.
“We did get a lot of production from that part of the line-up tonight and certainly that is what you need to have to win baseball games,” said Martin. “You just can’t depend on one, two, three and four. It certainly was big.”
“I knew I could do it,” said Diaz when asked about the hit which completed FSU’s comeback from an early 1-0 deficit. “I wanted to get out there and prove it to everybody. Confidence is a huge part of the game. It is 90 percent mental. If you don’t believe you can do it there is no way you can.”
The Seminole pitching staff was gutsy all night and it started with Chambliss. The junior picked up his fourth straight win as he pitched a career-high 6 1/3 and threw a career-high 106 pitches. It was the fourth straight quality start for the junior as he issued just one walk while fanning four in giving up three runs.
“This was really good,” said Chambliss. “I had a good quick sixth inning and went out for the seventh. I got the first guy out and then got in a little bit of trouble. I felt good. I thought I could throw a (complete game) but everyone in the bullpen came in and did a great job. We got the win.”
Each of FSU’s three relievers came in and got a huge out. Marsh came into a 6-3 game with the bases loaded and got a double play to end that threat. He was followed by DiBlasi who came into the game in the eighth with the tying run at the plate and the senior put out that fire. Tucker then worked a perfect ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
“Being a closer, you have to be able to forget,” said Tucker discussing bouncing back from his last outing where he gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning. “Tyler (Chambliss) came up to me and told me to have a short memory. You have to just forget and trust your stuff. It worked tonight.”
A couple of defensive miscues put the Gators in business in the bottom of the first as Adam Davis beat out a slow chopper to short. Then an error put runners on first and second for Brian Leclerc who drove in the first run of the game on a sharply hit single to left field. The run was just the fourth allowed by Chambliss with three coming in the first frame of a game.
FSU’s offensive MVP as of late brought the Seminoles back with one swing of the bat in the fourth. Dennis Guinn took a 0-1 offering from starter Kris Gawriluk (0-1) out of the park to left field tying the game at 1-1. It was the team-leading fourth homer of the year for the reigning ACC Player of the Week.
Leclerc continued to have success versus Chambliss as he led off the bottom of the fourth with a double to right. The Seminole starter struck out the next batter and got out number two on a grounder that moved the runner to third but that was as far as Leclerc would get. Chambliss ended the Gator threat with his third K of the game and second of the inning.
Gawriluk started to labor a little bit in the top of the fifth. He gave up a one-out hit to Thomas and then a walk to Mark Gildea on five pitches. That brought up Diaz who sent a double deep into the gap in left driving in both runners and staking FSU to a 3-1 lead. It was the third double of the season for the Seminole catcher equaling the number of doubles he had in his first two years in Garnet and Gold. The two RBIs also tied a single game high for the Miami native. After a walk to Shane Robinson, Florida went to the bullpen bringing in David Hurst to try and end the Seminole rally. Hurst was greeted by a Jack Rye RBI single right up the middle bringing Diaz home from second with the third run of the inning and fourth of the game for FSU.
Chambliss opened the door for UF in the bottom of the fifth. After getting the leadoff hitter, the junior gave up a single to the number nine hitter in the Gator order and then hit the next batter bringing the potential tying run to the plate. Davis then came up and cut the lead in half with an RBI single into right center. It was just the second time Chambliss had given up two earned runs in a game this season and both came to SEC opponents on the road (Auburn and Florida). That was all Florida could get though as Chambliss got Tallahassee native Gavin Dickey to ground into a double play ending the threat.
The long ball continued to play a prominent role in FSU’s early season success as the Seminoles jumped out to a 5-2 lead on their 14th homerun of the season. After a Josh Spivey leadoff single, Josh Edmondson the third Gator pitcher of the night got the first out of the inning on a strikeout. That brought up Thomas who hammered a 1-1 offering out of McKethan Stadium. It was the third homerun of the year for the second baseman and his first since the opening series of 2006. FSU tried to add on to the 6-2 lead as Diaz recorded his first single of the year, poking a hit up the middle. Robinson then followed with his first hit of the night to put runners on the corners. That brought new UF pitcher Steven Porter into the game. The junior walked Rye to load the bases but Florida State couldn’t push another run across as the game moved into the bottom of the sixth.
After recording a ground out to start the seventh and setting a new career high for innings pitched, Chambliss walked his first batter of the night sandwiched between two singles as UF loaded the bases on the 101st pitch of the night by the junior. With the potential tying run at the plate, Chambliss hit the next batter forcing in a run cutting the FSU lead to 6-3. That brought Marsh into the game in an attempt to stem the rally. Marsh gave up three runs in his only outing versus the Gators last season playing for South Carolina. Tuesday night he needed just four pitches to get out of this jam as Dickey grounded into another inning-ending double play.
Marsh recorded his third out of the game to start the eighth but then gave up his first hit in six innings of work and it was a big one as Austin Pride took Marsh out of the park making it a 6-4 game. The senior plunked the next batter before recording the second out of the inning. That brought DiBlasi into the game to face the potential tying run. The senior needed just three pitches to move the game into the ninth where Tucker locked up the win with two K’s in a perfect outing.
Florida State returns to action this weekend as the face Brown for the first time in 35 years. Game one is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Friday. The second game of the series will be played at 1:00 p.m. Saturday. The finale will be played at noon Sunday. That game was moved up from 1:00 p.m. due to travel restrictions for the Bears. All three Sunday home games in March will now be played at 12:00 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled times of 1:00. 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.