April 10, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – The eighth-ranked Seminole baseball team was forced to play from behind once again and they almost pulled off their third straight come from behind win in the series finale versus Wake Forest. Florida State (32-8, 9-3) came back from a 6-1 deficit in the bottom of the sixth as Tony Thomas, Jr. capped off the comeback with a homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game but a seven-run top of the 12th was too much for FSU to make-up. The Seminoles fought back to record four in the bottom of the inning but Wake Forest (15-19, 8-10) held on and avoided a series sweep with a 13-10 win. The victory was the Demon Deacons’ first in Tallahassee in a decade and ended the Seminoles streak of nine straight wins in the series.
The loss was FSU’s fourth Sunday loss when the team had an opportunity to sweep a series. Junior Mark Sauls (4-1, 1-1) took the defeat, his first of the year after surrendering four runs in just 1/3 of an inning of work in the 12th. Wake’s Kyle Young (3-1, 1-0) pitched four innings in relief allowing five runs in picking up the win.
“Today was just a day when we made some mistakes early and it is hard to win when you make four errors,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “Wake Forest did a good job. There is a lot of fight in their club. I was also very impressed with the fight our team showed as well. We got four runs in the bottom of the 12th and sent the tying run to the plate. It was a good finish. We just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it.”
After taking a 1-0 lead, Wake scored the next six runs knocking Seminole starter Hunter Jones out of the game after just 2 2/3. Florida State cut the lead to 6-5 thanks to a four-run sixth highlighted by Ryne Jernigan’s two-run double. Thomas than became the would-be hero in the bottom of the ninth when he launched a solo shot off the scoreboard in left field to make it a 6-6 game.
“With Charles (Cleveland) up in front of me, I was thinking if he gets on I will just lay down a sacrifice bunt,” said Thomas of his ninth inning at bat. “I wasn’t thinking home run. I was just trying to get on base, do my job and work my way around the bases but the home run came and it was a great feeling.”
“When Tony hit the ball out in the ninth I really thought we would win it then,” said Martin. “Unfortunately they got out of the inning. We just couldn’t seem to hit the ball when we needed it.”
The stars for the Seminoles were once again the middle relief combination of Matt DiBlasi and Kevin Lynch along with closer Tyler Chambliss. DiBlasi went 3 1/3, his longest outing of the year, and extended his streak of consecutive innings without an earned run to 14 1/3. Lynch followed and pitched 2/3 of an inning and did not allow a run to score in a bases loaded jam. Chambliss then came in with FSU trailing in the ninth and went three innings. He did not allow a hit and raised his strike out total to eight for the weekend. He pitched five innings in the series and did not allow a hit or run while picking up two saves.
“I can’t say enough about what DiBlasi, Lynch and Chambliss have done all year long,” said Martin. “We kind of extended Tyler today because we wanted to do anything we could to win this ballgame. When you have road series coming against Georgia Tech and Miami you better take every opportunity to win. We did everything we could but we just came up a little short. You have to give credit to Wake Forest.”
“Coming in with us trailing is a little different for me but you still have to come in and close it out giving your team a chance to win,” said Chambliss. “You just have to shut things down so you can pump your team up and hopefully get that winning run.”
Just like they did Saturday night, FSU took an early lead on Wake. Shane Robinson opened the game with a single to right off Wake Forest starter Brian Bach as Robinson reached base safely in his 55th consecutive game. The sophomore then swiped second for his 32 steal of the year getting himself into scoring position. Ryne Malone then drew the first walk of the game and Aaron Cheesman sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Brant Peacher then came up and pushed a run across on a ground out to short.
Wake looked to get even in the top of the second as a walk and a base hit put runners on the corners with just one away. Jones got the batter at the plate swinging but a double steal brought the tying run in.
The Demon Deacons once again put runners on the corners in the third but this time with no outs. Jones got the first out on a pop up to second and then a walk loaded the bases. Wake Forest then jumped into the lead on a sac fly for the second out of the inning. A double to left field put Wake up 3-1 with two runners still in scoring position. That brought Friday night’s pitching star Brian Chambers into the game as Martin once again turned the game over to the Seminole middle relievers. The sophomore needed just one pitch to get out of the inning on a shot back to the mound.
Wake put runners on first and third again in the fourth on an error and a base hit as the Deacons looked to increase their lead. Aaron Cheesman got the second out of the inning by throwing out Matt Antonelli trying to swipe second but a single to center made it a 4-1 game. Another Seminole miscue, the team’s third error of the game, scored Wake’s fifth run and then a double off the wall in right boosted the Wake Forest lead to 6-1.
Florida State almost erased the entire lead in the sixth. Malone homered to right field to make it a 6-2 game and then Brant Peacher singled as FSU tried to comeback for the third straight day. Wake’s first error of the game on a ground ball to short put two runners on. Gibbs Chapman then recorded his team-leading 33rd RBI on a single to left. Jernigan then brought both runners home with a two-RBI double making it a 6-5 game.
Wake Forest used a hit and another Seminole miscue to put runners on the corners with one away as Lynch relieved DiBlasi after 3 1/3 innings of near flawless relief work. Lynch then walked his second batter loading the bases. Lynch got the next batter looking for the second out and fanned the final batter of the inning leaving the bases full of Demon Deacons as the game moved into the bottom of the eighth.
Chambliss shut down the Deacons in the top of the ninth setting the stage for Thomas who gave FSU new life. With one out in the ninth, the freshman sent a 0-1 offering off the scoreboard tying the game. It was Thomas’ second home run of the week.
Neither team could break the tie in the 10th or 11th but Wake almost equaled its run total from Friday and Saturday night combined with a seven run top of the 12th. Florida State fought back once again scoring four runs, three with two outs, and sending the tying run to the plate in the home half of the inning but they were unable to complete the miraculous comeback.
The Seminoles are on the road all of next week playing at Jacksonville Tuesday night before heading to Atlanta for a weekend series with No. 3 Georgia Tech. Game Tracker will be available for all FSU’s 2005 games along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.