March 18, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State (16-2) dropped a 6-1 contest to intra-state rival Florida (15-3) on Tuesday evening snapping the Seminoles three game regular season win streak over the Gators at Alfred McKethan Stadium. The Seminoles were held to a season-low one run as the Garnet and Gold left the bases loaded three times in the last four innings while leaving 11 men on base in the loss.
Making his first start of the season, freshman Luke Smierciak went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles playing in front of his hometown family and friends. He was the only Seminole to post multiple hits on Tuesday registering singles in his first two at-bats. For the first time this season, Florida State had five freshmen in the starting line-up with Smierciak, Tyler Holt, Jack Posey, Mike McGee and Stuart Tapley.
“I wish those two hits came at the right time but it was definitely fun to come back to my hometown and play in front of my family and friends,” said Smierciak. “We have two more times against them (the Gators), so hopefully we’ll get them back.”
“It was amazing,” added Smierciak on getting his first start of the season. “I wasn’t expecting it, but coach gave me the green light to go and I took advantage of it.”
A record crowd of 5719 was on hand at McKethan Stadium to witness Florida win its third straight game over Florida State.
“Florida played a very good ball game,” said head coach Mike Martin. “They played errorless ball and we made some mistakes. It seemed like every mistake we made cost us a run. The Gators played a solid baseball game. They are team that we are going to be playing a lot more of this year and they are not going to beat themselves. We just weren’t good enough tonight to get it done. You just have to credit Florida.”
The Gators got on the scoreboard first with a two-out solo home run off the bat of Dustin Bamberg. Bamberg, who was making his fourth start of the season, took a 3-2 offering from Seminole starting pitcher Bo O’Dell (1-1) over the fence in left in the bottom of the second for a 1-0 Gator advantage.
The Gators threatened in their half of the fourth as the first two hitters reached on back-to-back singles. O’Dell registered a huge out when he got Jonathan Pigott to line out to Tapley at third. In attempt to turn a double play, Tapley’s throw over to second sailed high and into right field allowing Josh Adams to advance to third. A walk to Bamberg loaded the bases ending the night for O’Dell.
Geoff Parker entered for his second appearances of the season and got Jon Townsend to ground into a fielder’s choice for out number two. Adams scored on the play to give UF a 2-0 lead. Parker got out of the jam by striking out Buddy Munroe to end the inning.
O’Dell lasted just 3.1 innings, the shortest outing of the season in three starts for the junior right hander. He allowed two runs on five hits, walked one and struck out two.
Florida State’s first scoring chance came in the top of the fifth when freshman Mike McGee recorded a two-out single to center. He moved to second a batter later on a fielder’s choice by Tapley. Tapley hit a chopper to third and Townsend had problems getting the ball out of his glove delivering late to second base. With Smierciak at the plate, Locke threw his first pitch in the ground and both runners looked to advance a base, but Munroe threw down to second and caught Tapley stealing for the third out of the inning.
Florida pushed its lead to 4-0 on a bases loaded walk and a fielder’s choice groundout in the bottom of the fifth. The Gators took advantage of the second FSU miscue of the game as one of the two runs scored against Parker was earned.
The Seminoles loaded the bases in the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t manage to push across a run. In the sixth, Josh Edmondson came out of the bullpen to replace Locke and got the final two outs of the inning on a strikeout and a fielder’s choice groundout. An inning later, the Gators brought on left hander Tony Davis to face Jason Stidham and got the sophomore second baseman looking on strikes to keep the Gator lead at four.
FSU finally broke through with a run in the top of the eighth on an RBI double by Dennis Guinn. Buster Posey led off the inning with single up the middle and scored all the way from first on Guinn’s double to the gap in left center. Following a walk and a hit by pitch, the Seminoles loaded the bases for the third straight inning. Once again, the Gators went to the bullpen and brought on Kyle Mullaney to face pinch hitter Jack Rye. Mullaney kept Florida’s three-run lead intact as he got Rye to pop up to short.
Florida answered with two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-1 lead. Both runs came off reliever Jimmy Marshall snapping his consecutive scoreless innings streak at 12.2 innings.
Mullaney pitched the ninth and set the Seminoles down in order to pick up his second save of the season.
Florida State will return to the diamond on Friday, March 21 as the Seminoles travel to Blacksburg, Va., to face the Virginia Hokies for a three-game set. Game time for Friday and Saturday is set for 5:30 pm and Sunday’s first pitch is at 1:00 pm. Saturday’s game will be shown live on ACC Select, while Sunday’s contest will be aired live on Sun Sports. Fans can always catch the action on gametracker and over the radio on either 1270 the Team or 100.7 FM.