March 8, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State starter Elih Villanueva went the distance as the Seminoles hung on for a 5-4 victory over Maryland in game one of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. In the conference opener for both team, the Seminoles (10-0, 1-0) scored all five runs in the first four innings to extend their winning streak to 31 straight games over the Terps (5-5, 0-1), while running their all-time record in the series to 52-3.
Villanueva (3-0) was the story in game one as he threw the first nine-inning complete game for the Seminoles since Tyler Chambliss went nine innings back on March 11, 2006 in a 6-2 Florida State victory over Maryland. The junior right hander gave up four runs, two earned, on five hits as he walked just one and struck out a season-high eight batters.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Villanueva on his complete game performance. “Last year, I ate up a lot of innings in JUCO and had eight complete games. With my first two starts and only going five innings, this game was pretty huge especially to go out there and save the bullpen.”
Five Seminoles recorded a pair of hits in the first game, while Ohmed Danesh drove in the first two runs of the game on his first triple of the season. In his first start at second base in 2008, Tommy Oravetz went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.
Florida State got on the board first with a one out 2-RBI triple to deep center field by Danesh in the bottom of the second. Tony Delmonico started the inning with a bunt to single to third and moved to second on a walk by designated hitter Mike McGee. Danesh stepped in and drilled the ball to center field scoring Delmonico and McGee for an early 2-0 lead. With Tyler Holt at the plate, Maryland starter Scott Swinson (1-2) unleashed a wild pitch to score Danesh for a three run advantage.
In the third, the Seminoles added to their lead on a Dennis Guinn home run. The senior first baseman took a 3-2 offering from Swinson out of the ball park in left for his team leading fifth round tripper of the season and 22nd of his career.
Florida Stated pushed its lead to 5-0 in the fourth as the Seminoles put together a run on two-outs. Oravetz got things started legging out a double down the line in right. Following a walk to Buster Posey, right fielder Jack Rye pushed a single through the left side scoring Oravetz from second for a five run lead.
Maryland finally broke through with a pair of runs in the fifth off Villanueva. The Terrapins loaded the bases with two outs and got a two-run single to left by Bill Rice. Jensen Pupa led off the inning with a single up the middle but after a strikeout and a fly out, Villanueva gave up a single to AJ Casario and then a walk to Steve Braun. Pupa and Casario would score on Rice’s single to left. The junior right hander would get out of trouble as he got catcher Chad Durakis looking on strikes.
Villanueva once again found his groove after the two-run fifth retiring the Terps in order in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. He set down 11 straight Maryland batters before Mike Murphy’s single to left field with one out in the ninth.
The Terrapins made things interesting after the Murphy base hit as the next batter Jensen Pupa reached base on a fielding error by Danesh in left. Battling the sun and a blustery wind, the ball bounced off the glove of Danesh to score Murphy from first. Pupa would advance to third on a throw to the plate. Will Greenburg stepped in and sent a sacrifice fly to left scoring Pupa to cut the Seminole lead to one. But that was as close as the Terrapins would come as Villanueva got Nick Jowers to fly out to Holt in center for the final out of the game and his first career complete game as a Seminole.
Villanueva threw 126 pitches on Saturday to remain perfect on the year at 3-0. He has tallied 19 strikeouts in 19.1 innings of work while posting a season ERA of 3.26.
“My slider worked for me really well today and it helped keep the hitters off balanced,” added Villanueva. “Pretty much that is my ball game; I go out there and try to pitch, not to throw. That was the best I felt this year.”