May 6, 2006
Winston-Salem, NC – Twenty innings, five hours, 545 pitches and 132 at bats after first pitch, the 12th-ranked FSU baseball team won the longest game in school history 4-3 over 21st-ranked Wake Forest. The Seminoles (37-12, 14-9) got a dominating performance from their pitching staff as seven pitchers combined to hold Wake Forest without an earned run and to shutdown the Demon Deacon offense for 17 consecutive frames. Reliever Barret Browning (7-2) pitched six innings in picking up the win while Michael Hyde picked up the first save of his FSU career. Dennis Guinn’s RBI double in the 20th clinched the victory.
“In my opinion we have one of the best pitching staffs in the nation,” said Browning. “Some may argue we don’t have the best arms and that is a fair argument. The thing about our staff is we have a lot of guts. We go out there and every pitch we are giving it everything we got. We lose with our best stuff and we win with our best stuff. We work way too hard to come out here and not win this type of game.”
Florida State trailed the Demon Deacons (31-15, 15-8) 3-2 in the top of the seventh inning before tying the game on All-American Shane Robinson’s two-out RBI single. Both teams had their opportunities to win the game in extra innings, including a Wake Forest runner who was gunned out at home with nobody out in the 19th. It was Guinn though who came through with the biggest hit of the day as his RBI double plated Robinson who had led off the 20th inning with a base hit.
“This was a great game probably one of the greatest games I have ever been in,” said Guinn. “I credit everybody on the team. The pitching staff was great. The defense held strong and I am just glad to be a part of it.”
The game was the longest ever played by an ACC team. It was the longest game ever for FSU beating the record 17-inning game versus Miami in 2000 that the Seminoles won 14-13. It was the first game in 2006 that FSU has won in its final at bat and it was the first time this season FSU has gone into the seventh inning trailing and gone on to win the game.
“This was a great game,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “This team showed a great desire and I was just very proud of each and every one of them. We went through a bunch of arms today so did (Wake Forest). We are just so impressed with Wake Forest and their pitchers. It was a great ballgame we were very fortunate to win.”
Florida State pitchers allowed just nine hits in the 20 innings and they struck out 20 batters. Bryan Henry started the game and pitched an absolute gem allowing three unearned runs in 7 2/3. The FSU staff did not allow a single Wake Forest batter to record multiple hits in the five-plus hour game and the two pitching staffs allowed just three extra base hits combined.
“I saw a whole bunch of (good college pitching) too,” said Martin when asked about the two staffs. “I saw a bunch of guys on each club play their hearts out for 20 innings. It is a shame that somebody had to walk away from there disappointed today.”
As good as the entire staff was for FSU Saturday, Browning was a star. The senior, who had been demoted out of the starting rotation after the Miami series, threw 89 pitches in six innings of relief. He gave up just four hits and did not allow a run in picking up his seventh win.
“It was probably one of the best pitching performances I have had since I have been here,” said Browning. “Luckily it came on the right day. I didn’t do any more than the rest of these guys did today. If it wasn’t for the guys behind me being consistent and making plays, we wouldn’t have got this win. This was an absolute complete team effort today. That is all there is to say.”
Mark Gildea put FSU on top early in the game with a two-run single up the middle off of Wake Forest starter Eric Niessen. The base hit came with the bases loaded in the top of the second inning.
Wake’s Austin Jones opened the third with a bloop double to left field. The runner moved to third on a ground out before a hit by pitch put runners on the corners versus FSU starter Henry. An errant throw on a sac bunt allowed the run to come in and moved two runners into scoring position. After an intentional walk to Allan Dykstra to load the base, another error on an attempted double play allowed Wake to go in front 3-2.
For the fourth time in seven innings Florida State put its leadoff runner on base in the top of the seventh. Tony Thomas, Jr.’s leadoff single to left drove Niessen from the game and brought in Josh Ellis. On Ellis’ second pitch Thomas swiped second and then a grounder to the right side moved the potential tying run to third with just one away. Ellis fanned the next batter taking away the threat of a sacrifice but pinch hitter Tommy Oravetz got hit by his eighth pitch of the year bringing Robinson to the plate. The All-American lined a shot through the left side tying up the game. Ryne Malone drew a walk to load up the bases but FSU could not cash in as a watched third strike ended the top of the seventh with the score 3-3.
Neither team seemed close to winning the game until Wake threatened in the 13th when closer Luke Tucker walked the leadoff batter ending his streak of retiring seven straight Demon Deacons. A sac bunt moved the runner into scoring position. After an intentional walk to slugger Allan Dykstra, Tucker got Matt Antonelli on a pop up and the final out on a grounder as Wake stranded two runners.
Tucker’s brilliant stint ended after 3 2/3 in the bottom of the 14th when Brian Chambers came in. The junior gave up a base hit, just the fifth hit of the game, and then a sac bunt moved the winning run into scoring position for the second straight inning. That brought Browning into the game. The senior got the second out on a grounder that allowed the winning run to move up to third but a pop up in the infield ended the threat.
Both teams mounted minor threats on and off up until the bottom of the nineteenth when a leadoff double put the Deacons in business. The next batter followed with a single but left fielder Mark Gildea gunned the runner down at the plate to keep FSU alive. The next Deacon bunted down the third base line. The ball bounced foul, was never touched and then came back into fair territory putting the winning run in scoring position. A wild pitch moved the runner to third with one out before a Browning K. The inning then came to an end on a grounder right back to the pitcher.
Robinson opened the 20th inning with a single to center field and then Guinn followed by lacing a 2-0 pitch into the gap in right. That scored Robinson plating the eventual winning run and the first run for either team in 13 innings.
“I got out in front of some off speed pitches and made some bad decisions at the plate,” said Guinn of his 1-for-8 day entering the 20th inning. “To come through like that it doesn’t matter how it happens. It was a big win for us.”
The Deacons tried to rally and extend the game when they drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the frame. A hit batter forced the tying run into scoring position bringing Hyde into the game and ended it with a strike `em out/throw `em out double play. The junior struck out the first batter he faced looking and then back-up catcher Kyle Maxie gunned down the runner trying to swipe third. It was the second batter Maxie threw out in the game, doubling his season total.
Florida State concludes its series with Wake Forest Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Sunday’s series finale is scheduled 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.