May 16, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – The Seminole baseball team has been working overtime as of late. After not going to extra innings once in the first 49 games of the 2006 season, FSU played its third extra inning game in the last five Tuesday night. Despite working into overtime, FSU still couldn’t seem to find a way to get back on track. Five unearned runs in the top of the 11th inning led FSU (37-16) to its fifth loss in the last six games heading into the final series of the 2006 regular season this Thursday versus NC State.
“This is so disappointing,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “We played our hearts out but we couldn’t seem to get over the hump. We had a couple of chances to win it and just couldn’t get over the hump.”
“We came out and played hard,” said FSU starting pitcher Michael Hyde. “We are battling. Things are going to turn around for us. We have a never say die attitude. We are going to fight until the end no matter what the outcome is. We leave it all out there and are going to fight until the end.”
FSU did fight all game long versus the Jaguars (37-17) and ace hurler P.J. Walters (10-2). The Seminole pitching staff was dominant until an error and one misplaced pitch in the 11th inning opened the flood gates for USA. This was just the second loss for FSU this season in a mid-week games but the third straight regular season victory for South Alabama in the series. The Seminoles are now 1-4 in the last five games and 5-12 since the Miami series.
“We need a win,” said Martin. “We need a win. We need to regain our confidence. We are trying so hard. The young men are putting forth every ounce of energy they have. There is not anybody going through the motions. We are just struggling to get that elusive win. These young men deserve better. But that is the way this game is. It doesn’t owe you anything.”
Walters was phenomenal for the Jaguars. After pitching eight innings Friday in a conference game, the junior came back and threw all 11 innings striking out 11 and issuing just one walk. He threw 147 pitches and allowed just the two runs.
“(Walters) was better the seventh through the 11th than he was at the start of the game,” said Ryne Malone when asked about the Jaguar ace. “That was something I have never seen before. He is a great pitcher. You have to tip your hat to him and give him all the credit in the world.”
“South Alabama came in and used their number one guy,” said Martin. “He threw 147 pitches. The game meant a lot to them also.”
It is hard not to be overshadowed by Walters’ performance, but Hyde had a solid outing himself. The Florida State junior went six innings, allowed just the two runs, he struck out four and for the first time in his last 18 starts he did not walk a batter.
“I am proud of the outing but disappointed like everybody else that we lost,” said Hyde. “We came out and played hard.”
Neither team mounted much of an attack versus the starting pitchers until the bottom of the fourth when Jack Rye led off with a double down the right field line. He was sacrificed over to third and then a Malone base hit broke the scoreless tie. Josh Spivey followed by sending a two-out single into right making it a 2-0 FSU lead.
South Alabama tried to stage a two-out rally in the top of the fifth as a Guillermo Martinez double gave the Jaguars a runner in scoring position. Joel Collins then followed with an RBI single cutting the FSU lead in half.
USA evened up the game with one swing as Patrick Weaver took Hyde yard. It was the ninth homer for Weaver.
The Jaguars led off the seventh with a single but couldn’t cash in as Brent Marsh closed down the threat.
Tommy Oravetz recorded a pinch hit single in the bottom of the seventh as FSU tried to reclaim the lead. Walters hung tough though and got out of the inning.
Two errors in the top of the eighth opened the door for the Jaguars. A dropped ball on a force out and a botched play on a sac bunt put two on with nobody out. Another sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position and then an intentional walk loaded the bases. Matt DiBlasi came in and got the second out on a K in the 100th appearance of his career. Brian Chambers came in after and needed just one pitch to get the final out and end the threat.
In the bottom of the 10th FSU put two on with two away with Walters still in the game. It was the third time this season the junior had pitched into the 10th inning. Florida State couldn’t cash in though as Shane Robinson laced a shot into the gap in left but what would have been the game-winning hit just wouldn’t fall in as the game moved to the 11th.
An error once again put a Jaguar runner on base, this time in the 11th. Chambers then issued a two out walk to move the potential lead run into scoring position. An infield single loaded the bases up and then a Tyler Jones triple put the Jaguars up 5-2. Weaver then got into the act again as he hit his second homer of the game, this one a two-run shot, as USA extended the lead to 7-2.
NC State comes to town for the final regular season series starting Thursday and all three games will be played at 7:00 p.m. Sunday is senior day and the game will be shown live 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.