March 30, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. – Top ranked Florida State (28-1, 7-0) pounded out 18 hits including three home runs in the first two innings to top the Duke Blue Devils (19-10, 1-9) 15-3 Friday evening at Jack Coombs Field in Durham, N.C. The Seminoles once again took advantage of some timely hitting as 11 of the 15 runs that were scored in game one came on two-outs. Bryan Henry pitched six innings to earn his seventh victory in nine starts.
Tony Thomas, Jr. led the offensive attack with three hits including two home runs in his first two at-bats. The junior second baseman registered three RBI’s and two runs scored. Mark Hallberg and Dennis Guinn each recorded three hits in the win.
“Obviously, B Hen had a very good outing. I was very pleased with his performance,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I guess you can say it was a Tony Thomas show offensively. That was quite a display; it’s a big lift when you can get a lead-off home run on the road. Then to follow it up with a five spot in the second inning gave us a big advantage. That’s a credit to our guys for having some very good at-bats.”
Florida State didn’t waste anytime grabbing the lead in its first conference road game of the season scoring two runs in the top of the first. Thomas led off the game with a solo shot over the fence in left. Thomas took the 0-1 offering from Duke starter Alex Hassan (2-1) and sent it over the fence for his third round tripper of the season. Hallberg followed with a single to right and then stole second for his seventh steal in eight attempts. The junior shortstop would later score on an RBI single by Guinn to give the Seminoles a 2-0 advantage.
With two outs in the second, the Seminoles took advantage of a Duke fielding error to increase their lead to 7-0. Thomas hit his second home run in as many innings with a towering two-run blast over the wall in left. It marked the first time in Thomas’ career that he hit two home runs in a game. After back-to-back base singles by Hallberg and Posey, Jack Rye hit a three-run shot to right center for his team leading fifth dinger of the season. Of the five home runs hit by Rye this year, three have been of the three-run variety.
“To come out here, on the road in a big ACC game, and be able to jump out on Duke like we did tonight really built a lot of confidence,” said Thomas. “I went out there feeling relaxed and having fun. I didn’t want to stress too much about things tonight. I went to the plate with the mind frame of making good contact.”
Duke would cut into the Florida State with two runs off starter Bryan Henry in the bottom of the second. After Henry retired the first two Blue Devils with a strike out and a fly out, Tim Sherlock reached with a triple to left center. Gabriel Saade then hit the first pitch he saw from Henry over the wall in left for a two-run homer making the score 7-2.
The Garnet and Gold would get those two runs back in the third to move the Seminole lead back to seven. D’Vontrey Richardson led off the inning with a single to left and would move to second on the play on a Blue Devil throwing error by the left fielder. Richardson later scored on Duke’s second error of the inning coming off a fielder’s choice groundout by Hallberg. Posey then pushed Hallberg across the plate on his second hit of the ball game, a double off the wall in left, to give FSU a 9-2 advantage.
Florida State would add three more runs in the top of the sixth increasing its lead over the Blue Devils to 12-2. Rye walked to start the inning and came around to score on Jason Stidham’s first triple of the season. Designated hitter Ruairi O’Connor would register his first RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Stidham. The Seminoles loaded the bases with two outs on a single by Richardson, a Reichert hit by pitch and a walk to Thomas. The runner’s advanced a base on a called balk as Richardson scored the 12th run of the game for the Seminoles.
Henry (7-0) settled down after giving up the home run in the second and set down 11 of the last 13 batters he faced. The senior right hander finished the game with five strike outs. With the win, Henry improved to 2-1 all-time against Duke.
The Seminoles would strike again an inning later pushing another three runs across with two outs in the seventh. Pinch hitter Travis Anderson singled to left and advanced to second on a hit by pinch by Stidham. Designated hitter Tommy Oravetz connected on his second double of the season driving in Anderson for a 13-2 lead. Reichert would add two more to the Seminole lead as he got his first hit of the game, a 2-RBI single up the middle scoring Stidham and Oravetz.
Duke finished the scoring with a run in the seventh off reliever Casey Whitmer. Sherlock led off the inning with a double down the right field line and would come around to score on a single up the middle by Hassan.
Whitmer came on and pitched two innings in relief giving up one run on three hits. He struck out four while walking just one. Matt Fairel pitched the ninth and got the Blue Devils in order striking out one.
Game two of the series will take place at 2:00 pm at Jack Coombs Field on the campus of Duke University. Saturday’s pitching match-up will feature a pair of Tallahassee natives as Michael Hyde will take the mound for the Seminoles, while the Blue Devils will counter with senior Tony Bajoczky. Fans can follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM. A note to all viewers: Saturday’s game will not be shown live on ACC Select as originally listed.