June 3, 2006
Athens, GA – The last time FSU came to Athens, GA their season ended at Foley Field. Saturday night the 18th-ranked Seminoles took a big step towards exorcising those demons as Florida State downed top-seeded and eighth-ranked Georgia 6-4 in a winner’s bracket game. Tyler Chambliss pitched brilliantly in striking out 10 Bulldog batters and FSU got three more homeruns in the win. The victory moved Florida State (44-19) one win away from clinching a spot in the school’s eighth straight NCAA Super Regional.
“Obviously you all saw that was a heck of a ball game,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “Well played on both sides. Georgia is just a beautiful looking baseball team. We were very fortunate to win.
“We would like to get excited. We would like to think we have accomplished something but we haven’t accomplished anything. There is still an awful lot of baseball left to be played.”
Chambliss, a semifinalist for the Roger Clemens Award, improved to 12-4 on the season as he worked 5 1/3 and allowed just four hits. He gave up four runs, three of which were earned. He struck out 10 and issued just two walks.
“It was a game in which Tyler pitched extremely well,” said Martin. “I thought our bullpen did an excellent job but Tyler is the one that set the tone. You really have to take your hat off to him.”
Offensively, Travis Anderson had another big game at the plate. The designated hitter had three more RBIs and hit another homer. Shane Robinson and Danny Diaz also went yard as FSU continued its tear with six homers in the two games.
“Well it is amazing what two or three runs with one swing of the bat can do for a baseball team,” said Martin. “You can ask the University of Georgia because they hit a three-run homer tonight also. We are not known for our power. We are known for trying to put pressure on the other team, bunting, hit and running. The University of Georgia just took all of that away from us and did a great job of making quality pitches.”
Robinson got the Seminoles off to a good start versus Georgia starter Brooks Brown (7-4). The All-American outfielder took the fifth pitch of the game over the wall in left center making it 1-0 FSU early. It was a career-high seventh homer for Robinson and it marked the 29th time this year the junior lead off a game by reaching base.
Chambliss fell behind Josh Morris 3-0 to lead off the bottom of the second. The Georgia clean-up hitter skied a ball to left center that FSU couldn’t locate as it fell in for a double. Chambliss came right back though and K’ed the next three batters leaving Morris standing on second.
“Shane hit a big homerun so I had to pick him up and keep that guy from scoring,” said Chambliss of the misplay on the hit. “It wasn’t a big deal. Shane doesn’t do that very often at all. I don’t think I have ever seen him do that actually. That was big coming back to strike those guys out.”
Tony Thomas, Jr. led off the third with a single to left. Robinson followed by getting on base again as he walked putting two on with nobody away. Jack Rye then came up and delivered an RBI single to left. Rye got caught off the bag going to second and ended up beating the catcher to first when nobody covered the bag. That allowed Robinson to take third setting FSU up with runners on the corners and just one out but the Seminoles could not bring another runner in as they grounded into a double play to end the top of the third.
An error in the infield allowed the Bulldogs to put the leadoff runner on for the second time in three innings but once again Chambliss battled back and retired the next three batters he faced.
Dennis Guinn recorded the fourth hit of the day for the Seminoles as he flared a single into shallow center field. Anderson followed by smoking a ball to third that was snared and Georgia was able to catch Guinn off first for their second double play of the game.
Chambliss issued his first two walks of the game versus back-to-back batters with two outs in the fourth. The junior got out of the jam though with his sixth K of the day and his second to end an inning.
The Seminoles used the long ball once again to add to their lead. Diaz hit his first homer of the year and the first homer by a starting catcher for FSU since the 2004 season when he sent a solo shot over the left field wall. It was the first homer in 157 games by a Seminole starting backstop.
“Well (former catcher Aaron Cheesman) last year I don’t know how he didn’t hit one, he had a great season,” said Diaz. “As a catcher your main focus is to keep the pitching staff under control and we have a great one. I was just happy I could come through and give the team a lift.
“I got a good piece of it. When you hit a ball that well you don’t even fell it and that was the first indication I got a real good piece of it.”
The second error of the game by FSU opened the door for Georgia to get right back into the game. Chambliss fanned his seventh batter of the game but the throw to first on the dropped third strike sailed away from Dennis Guinn.
“It was a strikeout, curveball in the dirt,” said Diaz of the play. “I had the ball in my glove. I thought the guy stepped on my glove and I tagged him. I was kind of looking to go to third already when I heard `no tag’. I didn’t throw it right. No excuses.”
That led to the second hit of the day, a single by Jonathan Wyatt. Then Joey Side evened things up with one swing. The center fielder sent a Chambliss offering out of the deepest part of the park and off the screen in dead center.
“I left put it up over the plate down the middle and the guy hit it pretty well,” said Chambliss. “I had to comeback, keep my composure and set the tone again. Yeah they got the homerun but then back-to-back strikeouts can really pump your team back up.”
“(Tyler) is a real competitor when he goes out there,” said Diaz. “When he gives up a homerun he pulls his hat as low as he can and you don’t see anything but his eyes. He just comes right after hitters and when his curveball is on his is tough to hit.”
Jack Rye opened the sixth by drawing a leadoff walk. Buster Posey followed with a single up the middle. Ryne Malone sacrificed both runners into scoring position for the first out. Brown’s next pitch was in the dirt. Rye broke for home but when he realized he couldn’t make it, the sophomore broke back to the bag. The Bulldogs fired down and got Rye before he could make it to the base. Guinn followed with a walk and then the Seminoles jumped right back in front. Anderson hit his third homerun of the postseason making it a 6-3 FSU lead. The DH had two homers in 31 regular season games.
“The biggest hit of the game was of course was Travis Anderson’s three-run homerun,” said Martin of the three-run shot.
Chambliss hit the lead off batter in the bottom of the sixth and then Georgia’s fifth hit of the night put two on with nobody out. After Chambliss fanned his 10th batter of the game, FSU brought in Brent Marsh to try and preserve the lead with the tying run at the plate. Marsh got the first batter swinging for the second out of the frame. Marsh lost the nine-hole hitter on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases up and bring the lead run to the plate. After throwing his first pitch to the next batter wide of the zone, Matt DiBlasi relieved Marsh and walked in UGA’s fourth run of the game. That brought Brian Chambers into the game. The junior got a ground ball to short to end the inning.
The Seminoles went straight to ace closer Luke Tucker in the eighth. The junior retired the first two batters before hitting the number nine batter. That was far as the Bulldogs would get though as the rightie got his third ground ball out to end the frame.
Tucker came back in the ninth looking to close out the 2, 3 and 4 hitters in the UGA order. Tucker walked Joey Side on four straight pitches to bring the tying run to the plate. The junior then got the Dogs to ground into a double play before ending the game and securing his ninth save of the season.
Florida State continues play in the Athens Regional Sunday at 5:00 p.m. versus the winner of the Georgia/Jacksonville elimination game. If the Seminoles win, they will advance to their eighth straight Super Regional. If they lose the Sunday game, FSU will play again Monday at 7:00 p.m. Both games will be carried live on SUN Sports, FSN South and Turner South. Please check your local listings for the channel in your area that will carry the game. Steve Melewski will also bring the game to you live on 1270 WFLA in Tallahassee and over the Internet at Seminoles.com. Game Tracker will also be available for the winner’s bracket game.
NOTES: Shane Robinson led off the game with a homerun for the first time this season and the third time in his career…Robinson set a new career-high with his seventh HR of the season…Robinson has led off a game by reaching base 29 times this year. FSU is 24-5 in those games…Robinson recorded his 31st multi-hit game of the year…FSU has homered 19 times in the last 10 games…Danny Diaz hit his first homer of the season and the second of his career…Diaz’s homer was the first by a starting catcher at FSU since Aaron Chessman homered versus Miami April 18, 2004. That streak covered 157 games…the three homers FSU hit off of Georgia starter Brooks Brown where the most he has given up in 2006…the six earned runs allowed by Brown equaled a season high…Travis Anderson came into the postseason with two homers in 31 games. He has now hit three in his last five games…Anderson has seven RBIs in his last two games and 11 in the postseason. He had 12 all regular season…Tyler Chambliss fanned double digit batters for the third time this season.