April 6, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – The 2005 Seminole baseball team came into Wednesday night’s tilt with JU having hit 16 home runs on the year for an average of less than one every two games. The team had gone four straight games without a home run but then came the fifth inning. For the first time since 2003, FSU (30-7) hit three homers in one inning as they cruised past Jacksonville 11-4. Overall, FSU set a new season-high with eight extra base hits as they also recorded five doubles in the win over JU (16-17). Mark Sauls (4-0) pitched six strong innings and picked up the win, FSU’s 10th in a row over JU and the 21st in a row over the Dolphins at Dick Howser Stadium.
“I am very pleased with the way these young men are approaching the game,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “Mike (Martin, Jr.) has been harping on better at bats and spending a lot of extra time with certain guys and you can see it start to pay off.”
Thomas and Henry each hit the first home runs of their FSU careers in the fifth inning. Thomas went 3-for-3, his first three hit game as a Seminole, and he scored three runs on top of driving in two RBIs. Henry was 2-for-2 on the night and had three RBIs to boost his total to 23, fourth best on the team.
“Both Tony Thomas and Bryan Henry were very tough outs and they reached base every time they got up to the plate tonight,” said Martin. “They reached base eight straight times and that is something you just don’t see.”
Ryne Malone had another big night as well as he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. It was his second straight game with two doubles and his second straight three-hit outing. Malone has 16 hits in his last 10 games.
“You are starting to see Ryne Malone feeling good about himself,” said Martin. “He is an outstanding hitter and we knew that going in. He can put us on his back and carry us.”
“You start to get the feeling that once you start to hit line drives in BP again; once you start getting that carry on the ball again,” said Malone. “You know when you are feeling good and it is just a matter of time.”
Sauls equaled his longest outing of the year going six innings. He allowed six hits, struck out three batters, issued one walk and allowed two runs. Both JU runs came in the second and after that he allowed just three hits in the next four innings and faced just 14 batters.
“I am just thankful to get the opportunity to pitch today,” said Sauls. “I am just taking it day-by-day going out and doing what I came here to do. Each time out I am just trying to throw strikes and increase my velocity. I made it through that second inning and everything just kind of cruised from there.”
Sauls sailed through the top of the first but a lead-off single in the second followed by a walk and a sac put runners on second and third. A wild pitch then plated the first run of the game and the second came home on another single chopped up the middle.
For the second straight inning FSU recorded a two-out hit but in the second the Seminoles turned it into a two-out rally. Thomas started it off with a base hit and Ryne Jernigan followed with one of his own. Henry then cut the lead to 2-1 with an RBI single.
Malone started the third off with his ninth double of the season and his third in the last two games. Aaron Cheesman then got plunked putting runners on first and second before a long foul out to right moved Malone to third. Another fly out to right by Brant Peacher evened the game at 2-2 as Malone easily trotted home with FSU’s second run of the game. Danny Wardell followed with another single off JU starter Andrew Laughter (0-2) and then Thomas went 2-for-2 on the day with an RBI single through the left side of the infield. The Seminoles third hit of the game drove Laughter to the bench bringing in Patrick Gleason.
Henry led off the fourth with a walk and then Malone pounded his second double of the game putting runners on second and third with one away. An intentional pass to Cheesman loaded the bases. It was the senior catcher’s team-leading fifth intentional walk. The move paid off though as FSU was unable to capitalize.
Thomas continued his big day at the plate in the fifth. The freshman hit the first home run of his career, a solo shot, making it a 4-2 game. It was also the first three-hit game for FSU’s starting second baseman.
“My third at bat, I knew I had two hits earlier and I didn’t think I would get much to hit,” said Thomas. “He threw a change-up and tried to drop it away but ended up leaving it over the plate. I swung level and luckily it carried over the fence.”
Another first-year Seminole recorded his first career home run just two batters later as Henry went yard knocking Gleason out of the game. It was the first multi-HR inning for FSU in 2005 and the sixth multi-homer game for the team. Shane Robinson then reached base for the 52nd consecutive game as he hit his team-leading 17th double. The power surge continued for FSU as Malone went yard, his second round-tripper of the season, boosting the lead to 7-2. It was the first time FSU hit three homers in an inning since June 1, 2003 versus South Alabama.
Peacher recorded FSU’s seventh extra base hit of the game in the sixth. That tied a season-high for the Seminoles set against VMI and St. Joes. FSU then set a new season high as Wardell doubled to the wall in left making it an 8-2 game. A walk put Thomas on base for the fourth time in the game and another free pass loaded the bases. The third consecutive walk, this one from new hurler Brett Nagy, plated another run extending the lead to 9-2. Robinson’s bloop single to right plated another run and a Ruairi O’Connor sac fly finished off the four-run sixth.
Jacksonville chipped away at the lead in the seventh off reliever Brian Chambers. The Dolphins used four singles to plate two runs and cut the lead to 11-4 but that was as close as the Dolphins would get.
Florida State will resume ACC play at home this weekend as Wake Forest (7-8, 14-16) comes in for a three-game series. The first game will be Friday night and first pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. Saturday’s game will start at 7:00 and FSU Tennis Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist will throw out the first pitch and his 21st ranked Seminoles will be on hand. The series finale will start at 1:00 p.m. Sunday. Game Tracker will be available for the entire series along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.