March 5, 2004
Minneapolis, MN – Derrick Smith’s RBI-triple pushed No. 22 Florida State (10-4) past Nebraska (5-2) by a final score of 5-3 on Friday afternoon in the Minneapolis Metrodome. Stephen Drew paced the Seminoles offensively going 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored while Kevin Lynch (2-2) picked up the win after working 1.1 scoreless innings with no hits and one strikeout. Freshman Brian Schultz earned his first career save after shutting down the Cornhuskers in the ninth inning.
“This tournament is important for our baseball team,” said head coach Mike Martin. “Getting this win over Nebraska was big for us because it’s our first win against a ranked opponent.”
Nebraska scored first with a run in each of the first two innings. Jesse Boyer singled on a high chopper to the shortstop and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Mullinax in the first. Alex Gordon’s RBI-single to center plated Boyer for the game’s first run. Kevin Belcher scored the second run on Joe Simokaitis’ RBI-single to make it 2-0 Nebraska.
The Seminoles tied the game at two with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Shane Robinson and Drew each singled before Eddy Martinez-Esteve was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Robinson and Drew both scored when Aaron Cheesman’s grounder to second was misplayed by Mullinax.
Drew led off the fifth inning with a 400+ foot solo home run into the upper deck of the Metrodome to put FSU up 3-2. The homer was his fourth of the season.
The Cornhuskers had the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh, but the Seminoles held them to just one run. Joe Simokaitis doubled and later scored on Gordon’s sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 3-3 in the seventh.
With one out in the eighth inning, Cheesman singled to center and then scored when Smith tripled off the right field wall to break the tie. Bryan Zech’s RBI-single up the middle plated Smith to make it 5-3.
FSU starter Hunter Jones worked 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on six hits with four strikeouts, but did not factor into the decision.
Mike Sillman (0-1) took the loss for Nebraska after giving up both runs in the eighth inning on three hits.
“Nebraska played beautiful baseball,” said Martin. “Their center fielder made a great catch against the wall and the third baseman turned a nice double play to end an inning. We could have scored four more runs if not for their outstanding defense. This is the first time we’ve competed against them, but I’ve watched them over the years from afar. I was impressed with them before we played them and after today’s game I’m even more impressed.”
Florida State will face West Virginia on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. EST. Sophomore Mark Sauls (0-1, 4.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Seminoles. FSU will conclude the Dairy Queen classic on Sunday at 4:05 p.m.EST against host Minnesota.