April 9, 2006
Chestnut Hill, MA – The long ball once again came into play for FSU and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Powered by the first career grand slam of Tony Thomas, Jr.’s career and a solo homerun by Ryne Malone, third-ranked FSU completed its sweep of Boston College (16-15-1, 4-11) with a 7-5 win Sunday. The Eagles out hit FSU 14-7 but it was the two Seminole homers that provided the difference in the game. The win improved FSU to 31-4 with an ACC best 12-3 record as the Seminoles swept their third ACC series of the year.
“This was quite an accomplishment,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “To come up here, play in these conditions and win three ballgames the credit goes to these outstanding young men. This was one of the tougher weekends I can remember from Friday through Sunday.”
Thomas carried the big stick on the day for the Seminoles. Despite going just 1-for-3, his grand slam staked FSU to an early 5-1 lead and then his bases loaded walk drove in his fifth run of the game, tying the most driven in by any FSU player in 2006. The five RBIs upped Thomas’ total to 34 on the year, five more than he had in the entire 2005 season as a freshman.
“I definitely feel good,” said Thomas when asked about his offensive performance. “Anytime I see someone on base it is my job to get them in any way I can. Just putting the ball in play is helping me and helping the team get some runs across the plate.”
Barret Browning (6-0) picked up the win going five innings and allowing two runs. He struck out three batters and walked just one. Brian Chambers had a big outing for FSU throwing 2 2/3 innings of shut out ball setting up Brent Marsh for the first save of his Seminole career.
“I thought Barret Browning pitched very well,” said Martin. “His pitch count was up and we wanted to get some guys some work. I was very pleased with the way Chambers and Marsh pitched. Chambers shut BC’s momentum down and Brent did a good job of closing it up.”
Browning got off to a bit of a rough start in the first. An infield single and walk put a couple Eagles on base. A sac bunt moved both runners into scoring position and then BC broke on top on a grounder to third that ended up being a double play when the runner on second tried to move up a base after the run already had crossed the plate.
Shane Robinson had a huge impact on the five-run, fourth inning. He started things off by upping his hit streak to 22 games as he led off with a sharply hit single up the middle. Jack Rye then worked out a walk versus BC ace Terry Doyle (2-3) after falling behind 0-2 putting a couple runners on base. Doyle, who continually threw over to first trying to keep Robinson from stealing, seemed to lose focus on Rye as the FSU All-American kept him occupied. A bunt base hit on an attempted sacrifice loaded the bases up and then FSU tied the game on a fielder’s choice with an error on the throw as the Eagles tried to force Robinson out at the plate. Thomas then came up and cleared the bases with the first grand slam of his career making it a 5-1 FSU lead. The homer over the fence in left field was the fourth HR of the year for Thomas, the tenth of his career and the third grand slam for FSU in 2006.
“It was nice to hit a grand slam,” said Thomas. “I was just looking for a pitch to drive. He left it up in the zone and I just happened to get the barrel on the ball and finish up my swing all the way.”
“I think today you saw the side of Shane Robinson that was a pure indicator of why he was selected the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year last season,” said Martin. “He is totally disruptive to the other club. When he got on first base it led to the big inning. Their guy threw over eight times and then walked Jack. We ended up getting five runs after that. Robinson was the key to the inning and the rally but don’t take anything away from Tony’s grand slam either.”
The Eagles put a couple runners on in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a one out error and a base hit. Another single loaded the bases before Browning got out number two with his third K of the day. Then a pop up ended the inning as BC failed to plate a run with one out and the bases loaded for the third time in the last seven innings dating back to yesterday’s game.
BC was able to cut the lead in the fifth as a single, stolen base and errant throw put a runner at third. He then came home on a groundout as BC moved to within three runs at 5-2.
FSU got the run right back in the sixth with one swing of the at bat. Ryne Malone hit a one-out homer over the fence in right center making it a 6-2 game with the 43rd homer of the year for the Seminoles. That is 27 ahead of the total FSU had last year through the same number of games.
New pitcher Travis Burge found himself in a little trouble in the bottom of the sixth after an infield single and a double put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Then the third straight hit of the inning put BC right back into the game scoring two runs making it 6-4. After a pop up to Burge, a ground rule double put two more Eagles in scoring position. That brought Chambers into the game and another BC hit, this one an infield single, made it 6-5 with runners on the corners. Another double play killed the Boston College rally though as a fly ball to center was chased down by Robinson who fired home to get the runner trying to tag up and ending the sixth.
A bloop shot down the left field line that was misplayed by BC gave FSU a runner in scoring position on a two-out, two-base error. After an intentional walk to Buster Posey, Eagle pitcher Matt Meyer walked Malone to load the bases for Thomas once again. The sophomore didn’t go yard this time but did draw the third straight FSU walk making it a 7-5 game as Thomas drove in his fifth run of the day.
As they have done all day and all weekend, Boston College continued to fight back and led off the bottom of the seventh with a double bringing the potential tying run to the plate. The runner moved to third on a ground out but didn’t test Robinson’s arm this time on a shallow fly ball to the All-American. Chambers then froze the batter to end the seventh and leave the runner standing on third base.
A two out single and stolen base put a BC runner in scoring position as the Eagles were down to their final four outs but a weak grounder to second base ended the inning as BC stranded its ninth runner of the game but set a new season high by getting 14 hits versus the FSU pitching staff.
Marsh then came in to try and pick up his first save as an FSU pitcher. The senior transfer from South Carolina needed just six pitches to set the Eagles down in order and secure the FSU win.
“With the weather the way it was, it is great to go out there and only have to throw six pitches,” said Marsh. “I only threw a couple in the game yesterday and just like that game the defense was great behind me. I just tried to get some ground balls because I knew they would make the outs.”
Florida State is on the road for one more game before beginning an 11-game home stand. The Seminoles travel to Jacksonville Wednesday April 12 for a 6:00 p.m. game with the Dolphins. It is the third of the four meetings between the schools. Game Tracker will be available for every game this season along with live radio broadcasts available on WFLA locally and free on the Internet at seminoles.com.