May. 1, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – The Virginia Cavaliers hadn’t won in Tallahassee since March 8, 1997 but thanks to a 6-2 win Sunday, UVa ended an 11-game losing streak to Florida State in Tallahassee. Virginia got strong pitching performances from Mike Ballard (7-3) and Sean Doolittle as the pair combined to record 13 strikeouts, a new season high for an FSU opponent. Doolittle not only picked up his second save, he drove in four of Virginia’s six runs as the Cavaliers (31-14, 10-11) took an early lead and never looked back. The loss dropped FSU to 36-14 on the year and 11-9 in the ACC.
Virginia got off to a quick start in the top of the first versus Barret Browning (3-3). A two-out, two-run homer from Doolittle quickly staked the Cavaliers to a 2-0 lead. It was the fourth homer surrendered by Browning and all four have come in ACC games.
Ballard cruised through the early part of the game retiring the first five batters in a row until Ryne Jernigan came up with two outs in the bottom of the second and homered over the left field wall. It was his sixth of the year tying Gibbs Chapman for the team lead. Brant Peacher and Jack Rye then followed with back-to-back singles but the Seminoles couldn’t score the runs.
Browning opened the third with back-to-back walks. A ground out moved both runners into scoring position and then FSU intentionally walked Ryan Zimmerman to load the bases. Doolittle then came up and hurt FSU again as he knocked in two more runs on a single to left field. That hit put UVa up 4-1 and knocked Browning from the game. Hunter Jones came in and got the second out of the inning on a fielder’s choice at second base.
The Cavalier lead grew to 6-1 in the fifth as Virginia put together a two-out rally. Three straight two-out hits marked the third two-run inning of the game for UVa.
For the first time all game FSU’s lead-off hitter reached base when Chapman walked to start the bottom of the sixth. A double play wiped Chapman off the bases in what proved to be a crucial play as Danny Wardell followed with his sixth home run of the season. It was the third in four games for the senior.
Doolittle relieved Ballard in the seventh and proceeded to strikeout the first five batters he faced as FSU struggled to find its offensive rhythm. The reliever then opened the ninth with his sixth strike out of the game. It was the 11th K for a Cavalier pitcher on the day. It tied a season high for FSU strikeouts in a game and it was the fifth time in the last 10 games the Seminoles fanned 11 times. Doolittle then broke that season high getting a 12th and 13th K to end the game.
Florida State concludes its series with Virginia this afternoon. The Seminoles then return to action Tuesday night in Gainesville Florida for the rubber match of the three game series with the Gators. The game is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be shown live on Sun Sports. Game Tracker will be available for all this year’s games along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.
Seminole baseball fans remember that the second Mike Martin Luncheon is scheduled for Monday, May 2 at the University Center Club. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the program begins at 12:00 p.m. Tickets are $10. Hear from the Seminole head coach as his team chases after another ACC Championship.