Feb. 26, 2006
Tallahassee, FL – Getting a sweep is never easy especially against a club as tough as Minnesota but that is exactly what the sixth-ranked Seminoles did Sunday thanks to an 8-6 win in the series finale. The Golden Gophers (0-3) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and then put the tying run in scoring position in the ninth but Matt DiBlasi closed the door picking up his first save of the year and securing the victory for FSU (10-1) and starter Barret Browning (2-0) as the Seminoles won their 19th straight at Mike Martin Field, the seventh longest home win streak in program history.
“People don’t understand how difficult it is to sweep somebody,” said FSU Head Mike Martin. “I don’t care who you are playing it is hard as anything. When you are playing a team as well coached, disciplined and talented as Minnesota there is no way you expect to win all three ballgames. We went out there and got the job done. Yeah we struggled there a little bit in the ninth inning but the bottom line is we got the job done. I am very proud of our young men for that accomplishment.”
Florida State could never shake the Golden Gophers on Sunday as Minnesota recorded 10 hits and scored more runs in the game than they had in the first and second games combined. Florida State used five different pitchers with Browning and Travis Burge combining to pitch 7 2/3. Three Seminoles had multi-hit games but Tony Thomas, Jr., who’s one hit was a double, was the only FSU player to record multiple RBIs in the game.
“Minnesota is a tough team,” said Shane Robinson who had a couple hits in the finale Sunday. “They came with some good pitching this weekend. They (Minnesota) are going to be in the running at the end of the season.”
The victory was the second for Browning in three starts this season as he went five innings and allowed three runs, all of which came in the second inning. He struck out five Gophers and issued two walks while throwing 83 pitches.
“It was nice to get out there again and I appreciate the coaches showing their faith in me and giving me the chance to get another start,” said Browning. “Obviously it didn’t start out like I wanted it to. The first three innings were kind of shaky. In the third inning I started to get more comfortable. I hadn’t been pitching like myself so far this season but I felt like I started to get back in that groove as the game moved into the fourth and fifth innings.”
Browning got off to a bit of a rough start giving up a double in the first and second innings. In the second, he followed the leadoff double by hitting the next batter putting two on with nobody away. A bunt base hit loaded the bases and then Browning walked in the first run of the game. He got the next batter swinging but a wild pitch on the third strike brought the runner home. The left-hander got the second out on a grounder which brought in the Gopher’s third run of the inning.
“Barret struggled early and then regained his poise similar to Michael Hyde (did Saturday),” said Martin. “Once he got into a groove he retired a bunch of folks and got us to where we needed to be in the middle part of the ballgame.”
In the bottom of the second FSU came right back and took the lead. The inning started with Dennis Guinn getting hit by a pitch then Travis Anderson, Buster Posey, Josh Spivey and Robinson all singled sandwiched in between was a Thomas sac fly putting FSU in front 4-3 against Gopher starter Dustin Brabender (0-1).
Errors caught up with Minnesota in the fourth. Spivey reached on an error and then another miscue on an attempted sac bunt allowed the run to score when the throw to third by Brabender was too low for the third baseman. A Jack Rye single and a wild pitch put runners on second and third versus new pitcher Tyler Oakes. A walk loaded the bases then Guinn tacked on another run for FSU on a sacrifice fly as the lead grew to 6-3.
Minnesota cut the lead to 6-4 thanks to a mistake by the Seminoles this time. An errant throw, which would have ended the inning, allowed the Gopher’s to score their first run since the second inning.
Florida State got the run back in the bottom half of the sixth as Malone, Guinn and Anderson each recorded singles with Anderson’s bringing home the seventh FSU run.
Minnesota threatened in the top of the eighth. A single and a walk brought the potential tying run to the plate and knocked reliever Travis Burge out of the game after his longest stint of the season at 2 2/3. Brent Marsh came in and got FSU out of the jam on a foul out to third keeping the Seminole lead at 7-4.
The lead grew in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a walk to Posey and then the first double of the season by Thomas making the score 8-4.
That brought closer Luke Tucker into the game but the junior got himself into trouble in the ninth as he gave up double and two walks to load the bases and bring the potential tying run to the plate. An RBI single cut the lead to 8-5 and then a passed ball brought in another run making it 8-6 and moving the tying run into scoring position. After Tucker got the second out on a pop out to Thomas, DiBlasi came into the game and made a huge defensive play. The left-hander knocked down a ball that looked like it was headed for left field and would have possibly tied the game. The senior recovered in time to make the play at first to pick up the save.
“It is a 27 out ballgame and you better get them all,” said Martin talking about the ninth. “There is no clock. We have to get out there and not just go through the motions. We had a couple of guys that thought the game was over and it was not. We made a couple of good pitches that were turned into base hits. We walked a couple batters, things that you run the risk of if you are really not focused. I think some people learned a lesson today. The game of baseball is no over until you get that 27th out.”
Florida State returns to action Tuesday night in Gainesville versus the top ranked Gators (8-3) at 6:35 pm. This is the first of two regular season meetings between the in-state rivals. Florida lost two of three games this past weekend at a tournament it hosted in Gainesville. Game Tracker will be available for all the contests along with a live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and free on the Internet at seminoles.com.