Feb. 13, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – Things started out great for the 15th-ranked Seminole baseball team Sunday afternoon in the series finale versus Auburn. Florida State starter Michael Hyde struck out five of the first six batters he faced. Outfielder Shane Robinson led off the first with a single and after three innings FSU was out hitting the Tigers. But a six-run seventh inning propelled Auburn to a 9-2 win as FSU took two of the three games in the weekend series.
The Auburn (4-2) win snapped the Seminoles’ (8-1) eight-game win streak to start the season and also snapped a streak of seven straight wins over the Tigers. It also ended the 2005 squad’s hopes of becoming just the second FSU team ever to win three consecutive three-game series to start the season.
“You have to give Auburn a lot of credit,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “We make one mistake and unfortunately that mistake led to a big inning. That was certainly not the reason we lost. We lost because Auburn outplayed us and just did an outstanding job today. They got it done.”
“We have a real strong line-up all the way through,” said left fielder Gibbs Chapman. “That is what it is going to take for us to win. We need all nine hitters to come out here and do their job. We played a great ball club this weekend in Auburn and took two of three and that is great. There is still a lot of work for us to do and we know that.”
Hyde (1-1) made his third start of the year, the only FSU pitcher to start all three series, and went 5 2/3 innings issuing just one walk and striking out a career-high five batters. He gave up three earned runs on six hits.
“There is always going to be some disappointment with the way you pitched when your team doesn’t come out with the win,” said Hyde. “Of course I wanted to win today. I wanted to do whatever it took to get the win but the ball just didn’t fall our way today.”
“Michael had a good outing today,” said Martin. “He made a couple of bad pitches and unfortunately it was when he was ahead in the count. The ball that (Josh) Bell hit off the wall, Hyde was ahead 0-2 and was trying to throw the ball down. He just happened to leave it up. I thought he pitched very well. He showed good poise and was throwing all three pitches very well.”
The Tigers led the first off with a hit into shallow left field but Hyde came back and struck out the next three batters he faced to end the first. Just like Auburn, FSU led off the first with a hit of their own as Robinson laced a grounder through the left side of the infield but the Seminoles couldn’t work the lead off runner around due to a ground out and a double play.
“In the first inning we get a lead-off base hit and then the next pitch we hit it to the second baseman,” said Martin. “We had our catalyst, the guy that makes us go wiped off the bases. It is something we have talked about. You have to be a little more patient to give him a chance to do something. It made them feel good about themselves because we got Shane (Robinson) off the bases so quickly.”
Hyde started the second just like he ended the first, throwing strikes. The freshman struck out his fourth straight batter to set a new career high for K’s in a game in just the second inning. He followed with his fifth straight strike out before the streak was snapped on a two-out double down the right field line. Philip Stringer then singled into left scoring the Auburn run but he was put out at second base trying to advance on the throw home.
“I worked real hard this past week on staying consistent with my curveball,” said Hyde. “I lost that a little bit after the third inning and that is why the strikeouts didn’t keep falling the way they were in the first and second innings. My curveball kept the hitters off balance early and that is why I was able to get strike outs. That was pretty much the key to it.”
In the home half of the second, the Seminoles put runners on first and second with one away. Tony Thomas, Jr. followed with a single to left but Josh Spivey was thrown out at home trying to score on the play.
A lead off double and ground out put Auburn in position to extend its lead in the fourth with a runner on third and just one away. Another ground out plated the Tigers’ second run of the game.
Hyde went 5 2/3 innings before being relieved by Matt DiBlasi with a runner standing on third base and two away in the sixth. The Seminole reliever couldn’t bail Hyde out as a sharply hit single to right put Auburn up 3-0.
In the bottom of the sixth FSU tried to stage a two-out rally putting runners on first and second for pinch hitter Brant Peacher. A double steal moved both runners into scoring position before Auburn reliever Josh Blake loaded the bases on a walk when he lost Peacher on a 3-2 pitch. That brought new pitcher John Madden into the game for the Tigers. The right-hander’s first pitch hit Bryan Henry scoring the first run of the game for FSU. Madden came back and got out of the jam on a grounder hit to first.
Auburn broke the game open in the seventh with a six-run inning. The big hit was delivered by Tyler Johnstone who laced a double down the right field line clearing the bases, which were loaded on an error, hit by pitch and a single off the fence in right field. After the double, another single put runners on the corners and Martin made the move to bring Ryan Strauss in to replace Kevin Lynch. That brought Bell to the plate and the second pitch that Strauss threw ended up over the left field fence putting Auburn in front 9-1. It was the first home run of the year for Bell.
“Both the eight and nine hitters delivered for Auburn and then you get the bases loaded and boom a double scores everyone,” said Martin. “That kind of opened our eyes. Of course the ball Bell hit, I was glad the bus wasn’t over there in left field when that left the park.”
FSU managed to get a run back in the bottom of the ninth but was unable to get any closer.
The Seminoles return to action next Friday, February 18 versus St. Joseph’s at 3:30 p.m. The three-game series will be the first meeting between the teams since they played two games in 2003. Florida State is 11-0 all time versus the Hawks. Game Tracker will be available for the contest along with a live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.