May 31, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida State (49-11) thwarted elimination on Saturday afternoon downing intra-state rival Florida (34-24) 17-11 in game three of the Tallahassee Regional. The Seminoles registered a season-high 25 hits as every batter in the starting line-up recorded a hit, while eight of the nine batters collected multiple hits. It was the fifth time this season that FSU has posted 20 or more hits in a game.
Tyler Holt and Jason Stidham led all hitters with four hits a piece. Jack Rye, Dennis Guinn, Stuart Tapley and Tommy Oravetz each contributed with three hits, while Buster Posey and Tony Delmonico registered two. Delmonico collected a team-high four RBIs, while Oravetz drove in three. Posey, Rye, Guinn and Tapley also added two RBIs a piece in the win.
The victory in game three snapped a seven game losing streak to the Gators in the postseason as it was the first win over Florida in the NCAA Tournament since downing UF 5-1 in Miami back in 1981. It also marked the first time since 2000 that the Seminoles registered at least three wins in a single-season over Florida.
The 28 combined runs were the second most scored in the series and the most since the two teams scored 30 in a 16-14 Florida victory in Gainesville back on March 6, 1983.
Florida struck early on Saturday afternoon with a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Matt den Dekker. The Gators put runners on the corners following a single by Brandon McArthur and a walk to Josh Adams. One batter later den Dekker registered a two-out single through the left side of the infield plating McArthur for a 1-0 UF advantage.
The Gators added two more runs in the second on consecutive doubles by the first two batters in the inning. Clayton Pisani led off the second with a double down the right field line and came around to score on a double down the opposite line by Riley Cooper. After stealing third, Cooper came home on an RBI groundout to first by Buddy Munroe to give Florida a three-run lead.
The Seminoles chipped away at the Gator lead in the third courtesy of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Stidham. Ohmed Danesh led off the inning with a double to the gap in left center and moved to third on a single to left by Holt. One batter later Stidham sent a fly ball out to left deep enough to score Danesh from third to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Gators. With Buster Posey at the plate, Holt was caught leaning towards second and was eventually tagged out in a run down. Posey then kept the inning alive with a single to right center. It looked as though the rally would continue as Rye smoked a ball to the gap in right center but Florida center fielder Matt den Dekker made an outstanding leaping catch at the wall to end the inning.
Without registering a hit in the inning, Florida pushed across two more runs in the third to increase its lead to 5-1. FSU starter Matt Fairel issued two walks and a hit batter in the inning while two more Gators hitters reached on fielder’s choice putouts. Pisani picked up his first RBI of the game on a fielder’s choice groundout at second. Delmonico tried to get out of the inning by turning the double play but his throw went wide and into the dugout bringing across den Dekker for an unearned run. Fairel closed out the inning as he got Cooper looking on strikes.
FSU cut into the Florida lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Oravetz. With Delmonico on at second after reaching on a fielder choice’s, Oravetz found the hole through the right side bringing home Delmonico for the second Seminole run of the game.
Elih Villanueva entered out of the bullpen to start the fourth for his first relief appearance of the season and retired the Gators in order. For Fairel, it was his shortest outing of the season as the sophomore left hander went just three innings giving up five runs, four earned, on four hits. He walked three and struck out two on 62 pitches.
Florida State surged to lead in the fifth with seven runs on seven hits to take a 9-5 lead. The Seminoles sent 13 batters to plate as the first eight all reached base. FSU quickly loaded the bases on Gator starter Patrick Keating with back-to-back singles by Holt and Stidham and a walk to Posey. Rye got things going in the fifth dropping an RBI single just inside the left field foul line scoring Holt. Dennis Guinn followed with a bases loaded walk while Delmonico drove in a run on a single through the right side of the infield. The day would come to an end for Keating after the Delmonico base hit.
Tapley greeted relief pitcher Kyle Mullaney with an RBI infield single to plate Guinn giving the Seminoles their first lead of the ball game. Oravetz pushed the lead to three driving in a pair of runs on a double down the right field line. Holt would close out the scoring with his second hit of the inning on a base hit to right plating Tapley. It marked the 12th time this year that FSU had scored seven or more runs in an inning.
Keating finished the game allowing eight runs on 10 hits in four plus innings of work. He struck out three and walked two.
The lead was short lived as the Gators snapped back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 9-9. Townsend plated the first run on a sacrifice fly. Rye made an outstanding catch on a ball that looked as though it would hit off the wall, but the senior right fielder made a leaping catch to hold the Gators to just one run on the play. Pisani tied the game with one swing of the bat sending a line drive over the wall in left for his fifth round tripper of the season. The home run was a three-run shot and just the fourth given up by Villanueva all season.
The Seminoles retook the lead with a run in the sixth. Guinn led off the inning with a hit to left and moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Delmonico. Tapley brought home Guinn on a base hit to right for his second RBI of the game and a 10-9 FSU advantage.
Florida State batted around for the second time in the game in seventh scoring five more runs to increase its lead to 15-9. The top of the order once again got things started as Holt and Stidham registered back-to-back singles chasing Gator reliever Tony Davis (0-2) from the game.
Tommy Toledo entered out of the bullpen and got Posey looking on strikes for the first out of the inning. The Seminoles followed with three consecutive hits including RBI singles by Rye and Guinn. Delmonico stepped in and unloaded on a three-run shot for his eight home run of the season. The home run was reminiscent of Kirk Gibson’s game-winning homer in game one of the 1988 World Series as Delmonico, suffering from leg craps, hobbled around the bases to give the Seminoles a six-run lead.
Florida cut into the Seminole lead with a pair of runs to make the score 15-11. Pinch hitter Bud Foster led off with a single back up the middle and advanced to third on a double to right center by den Dekker, his third hit of the game. Townsend would drive in both Gators runners with a single to left. Villanueva settled down after the RBI single by Townsend getting Pisani and Cooper looking on strikes before ending the inning on a groundout to second by Munroe.
The Seminoles padded their lead in the eighth on a two-run homer over the fence in straight away center off the bat of Buster Posey. Stidham began the inning with a single to right as his ball dropped just inside the right field foul line. The sophomore second baseman limped down to first and was eventually replaced by pinch runner Stephen Cardullo, as Stidham left the game after battling legs craps throughout the latter portion of the game. One batter later Posey unloaded on his 20th round tripper of the season.
It was the first time since 1999 that a Seminole hitter recorded 20 home runs in a season as Marshall McDougall and Matt Diaz hit 28 and 21, respectively.
After the Townsend two-run single in the seventh, Villanueva (7-2) closed the door on the Gators retiring the final nine batters that he faced, seven of which came on strikeouts. The junior right hander finished the game with a career-high 10 strikeouts. He was the first pitcher to reach the 10-strikeout plateau this season and the first since Danny Rosen fanned 12 batters in a 3-2 win over Maryland on May 6, 2007.
Florida State will now face the winner of Tulane/Bucknell in an elimination game on Sunday, June 1 at 1:00 pm inside Dick Howser Stadium. The game will air live on Sun Sports while fans can listen to the broadcast over the radio on 100.7 FM with Eric Luallen providing the play-by-play action.