March 19, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Fla. – For the third time in five days the fourth-ranked Florida State baseball team watched a late-inning lead turn into an extra inning defeat.
Virginia’s Jared King led off the bottom of the 11th inning with a solo home run to left-center – the first of his career – lifting the fifth-ranked Cavaliers (19-1, 5-0 ACC) to a 5-4 victory Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field. King’s blast came on the heels of Friday night’s 4-3 loss on an 11th-inning single by Steven Proscia.
“This one hurts,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “There’s been others we’ve lost in this little stretch that you can rationalize a little bit. That one hurt. That one got away from us.”
Florida State (15-4, 3-2) carried a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth, only to surrender the tying run to the Cavaliers without yielding a hit. Virginia parlayed two walks and two hit batters from three FSU pitchers to scratch across the tying run with two outs. Reliever Hunter Scantling hit Stephen Bruno to force home the tying run.
All-American outfielder/closer Mike McGee, who suffered a quadriceps strain in late in Friday night’s game, was unavailable Saturday.
King’s blast in the 11th off Tyler Everett served as most recent body blow absorbed by the Seminoles, who have played in four consecutive one-run games, including the three extra innings defeats on the road.
“We’re waiting on a game to end with an out, not a walk-off,” said Ramsey. “It’s important that we do keep sticking to what is tried and true; what’s got us here as a program, just hard work and playing together.”
Sophomore right-hander Scott Sitz provided the Seminoles with a second consecutive solid start against the Cavaliers. Sitz limited Virginia to four hits and three earned runs over a career-high seven innings. He struck out three and did not issue a walk, though he did hit two batters.
The Seminoles also out-hit Virginia for the second consecutive game – this time 10-6 – and chased previously unbeaten starter Tyler Wilson during a three-run fourth inning, which erased a 2-0 deficit. All three runs came with two outs, beginning with a Seth Miller RBI single through the middle. Justin Gonzalez earned an RBI the hard way, getting hit by a Corey Hunt pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game. Taiwan Easterling’s sacrifice fly to right put the `Noles in front 3-2.
Miller led FSU’s offensive attack with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate.
Florida State will send left-hander Brian Busch (1-0, 5.28) to the mound in an attempt to extend its streak of consecutive Sunday victories to 23. The Seminoles have not lost on a Sunday since falling to the Cavaliers in the 2009 ACC Tournament championship game.
Virginia will counter with right-hander Cody Winiarksi (2-1, 3.05).
“We’re as close a unit as we have been all year,” said Ramsey. “We’re 19 games into the season and there’s a reason why every single schedule has a tough stretch that’s going to test your ballclub. A lot of times you want that early in the season. …
“We’re just going to keep plugging along, working hard and try to get 27 (outs) tomorrow and win a ballgame.”