May 26, 2005
“Obviously you have to credit Georgia Tech,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “They did a great job of battling back. They did what they have done most of the year. They are a very good offensive and defensive team with good pitching. They are one of the best teams in the country in my opinion. They are a beautiful baseball team and they did a great job.
“I am very proud if not the proudest of any team I have ever coached at Florida State. This team plays with heart and character. It is a tough one but you can’t dwell on it. You have to be ready to go tomorrow. You can’t feel sorry for yourself.”
Sauls was brilliant in allowing just three hits and no runs in six innings to the seventh-ranked Jackets but the usually stellar Seminole pen couldn’t reel in the win for the junior who remained undefeated in his 12 starts this season. The Seminole bullpen lost a game for just the eighth time this season despite pitching in every game except for one. After pulling Sauls to start the seventh the FSU relievers allowed five runs in the bottom of the inning.
“All year our bullpen has done a great job and it was a spot that we felt very comfortable going to get Lynch right there,” said Martin.
“Our bullpen has been lights out all year and the coaches made a decision and I have to go with the same decision because they (bullpen) come in and do the job every game,” said Sauls. “The bullpen is going to slip up once and a while and it just happened to be tonight. Georgia Tech is a good hitting team. I can’t say enough about our bullpen though. This bullpen has saved me enough times to not put them in there in that situation.”
Sauls started the bottom of the first by walking Tech’s lead-off hitter and then hitting the second batter he faced. The Jackets looked like they may have their first run as the next batter sliced a shot that was falling into right center but Shane Robinson made a phenomenal diving catch to record the first out. Then FSU turned a double play, their fourth of tournament, to end the threat.
Georgia Tech starter Blake Wood gave up the first hit of the game in the top of the third to FSU’s first batter of the inning Josh Spivey. It was the second straight inning a Seminole lead-off hitter reached base after Aaron Cheesman got on due to an error in the top of the second. Ryne Jernigan moved the runner into scoring position on a sac bunt. A two-out wild pitch moved Spivey to third but the Seminoles were unable to plate the run.
Sauls gave up his first hit of the game in the third as well. It came with two outs and a runner on second. The slow chopper to third put Jackets on the corners and then a stolen base moved both runners into scoring position. Sauls’ third walk of the game loaded the base but the junior got out of the jam on a ground ball to short.
For the third straight inning FSU put its lead-off hitter aboard as Ryne Malone drew a walk to start the inning. Gibbs Chapman followed with a walk but a strikeout and double play once again ended a potential Seminole rally.
Shane Robinson led off the sixth with a single and then swiped his 44th base of the season moving him into third place for single season steals. The sophomore All-American moved to third on a ground out leaving FSU in need of a two-out hit to break the scoreless tie and senior Aaron Cheesman delivered. The senior flared a shot into right field making it a 1-0 game. It was the 49th RBI of the season for the catcher and the 130th of his career.
The Jackets fought right back and after recording just one hit through five innings, Sauls gave up back-to-back one out hits in the sixth. A hit batter, his third of the game, then loaded the bases with just one away. The hurler got a huge out on a strikeout swinging and then dashed the Jacket’s hopes on a hard hit grounder to second that Tony Thomas, Jr. flipped to second from his knees.
Jack Rye opened the seventh by doubling down the right field line. Ryne Jernigan then drove the run in with an RBI single to shallow right field extending the lead to 2-0. Thomas was then hit by a Wood pitch as FSU looked to add more insurance to their lead. A walk loaded the bases up as Wood continued to struggle with his control and was replaced on the hill by ACC Freshman of the year Matt Wieters (3-2). Malone greeted the rookie by lining a 3-2 pitch right up the middle plating two more runs and making it a 4-0 game. Cheesman drew a two-out walk loading the bases once again but this time Wieters got the out and ended the three-run inning.
Lynch relieved Sauls after his best outing of the year and promptly gave up back-to-back base hits. The first was a close call at the bag on a slow roller fielded perfectly by Thomas. Another ball hit through the infield ended the FSU shutout bid making it a 4-1 game with runners on the corners and still just one away in the inning. A ground out at second gave Lynch his second out of the inning but also plated the Yellow Jacket’s second run. Matt DiBlasi (1-2) followed Lynch in hopes of getting the final out of the seventh. The junior’s first four pitches were all balls as he put the tying run on base. Steven Blackwood then recorded Tech’s fourth hit of the seventh as he poked a 3-2 DiBlasi offering through the left side of the infield as the Jackets inched one run closer to tying the game. Tech then tied the game as another single, this one into right field, made the score 4-4. Another base hit completed the Jacket comeback as a single up the middle made it a 5-4 Tech advantage. That ended the night for DiBlasi and brought Chambers into the game who ended the seventh with a ground out to third.
Robinson singled to left field with one away in the ninth as FSU tried to tie the ballgame against Wieters but the Seminoles were unable to get Robinson past first base.
Tomorrow’s game with Wake Forest will be available on a live video broadcasts along with Steve Melewski’s live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.