May 27, 2006
Jacksonville, FL – New day, same story for the rejuvenated Florida State baseball team. The 18th-ranked Seminoles knocked off their third-straight top 25 team and have now won five of the last seven versus top 25 opponents with Saturday’s win over the Wolfpack. Florida State (42-18) scored runs in each of the first six innings to down No. 25 NC State (37-20) 7-3. The victory forces a second game between the teams at 4:30 p.m. today to decide who will advance to the ACC Championship game Sunday.
“Well we know we have our backs against the wall,” said FSU Head Coach Mike Martin. “If we win the second game today, we have to comeback and play tomorrow. We are playing a team tonight that is on their fourth game and we are on our fifth. It is going to be a real challenge but we are anxious to play.”
With another elimination game just four hours away, FSU won’t have long to savor a brilliant pitching performance from senior reliever Brent Marsh (3-1). After Mark Sauls opened the game and went 3 1/3, Marsh came in and went the rest of the way. The reliever pitched a season high 5 1/3 and scattered four hits. He did not allow the Wolfpack to score a run.
“We played real well today,” said Martin. “We got outstanding pitching from Brent Marsh and I thought Mark Sauls gave us exactly what we needed. That was a solid start. He got a little up in the zone early but pitched through a couple of tough situations. I was very proud of him.”
The last time Marsh pitched as many innings was as a sophomore at Tallahassee Community College in 2004. That season he pitched 6 2/3 innings in a game. After FSU relievers gave up 12 earned runs in their last meeting versus the Pack, Marsh was flawless in shutting down the ACC’s top hitting team.
“Pretty much that was what I was thinking (pitching two or three innings) because that is what I normally do,” said Marsh about his thought process when he entered the game. “I was getting quick outs. Getting ground balls and I wasn’t taking too long in the innings. As we progressed through the innings I realized there was a chance that I could continue to go. (Coach Jamey) Shouppe came to me in the seventh and said they were going to ride me as long as they can. I said I am more than willing to and happy.”
The Seminole bats remained red hot for Sauls and Marsh as FSU pounded out double digit hits for the fifth time in the last seven games. The Seminoles recorded three doubles, a triple and a homerun as Travis Anderson and Buster Posey continued to blister ACC pitching. Both players went 3-for-4 and they combined to score five runs. Both players had doubles and Posey had a triple while Anderson homered for the second time in the tournament.
Anderson has been the biggest surprise for FSU in the 2006 ACC Tournament. The designated hitter, who has played in three of the four games, is hitting .778 and slugging 1.667. He has 25% of FSU’s extra base hits in the tournament and now has seven of his 19 hits on the season in just three games in Jacksonville. He has raised his season average by 83 points in his three games played.
“Travis Anderson is really…hot,” said Martin. “We want to get him up there as many times as we can. He certainly has been a lift to this club. A lot of times, as we have said in the past, one guy gets hot and it is contagious. I am seeing a lot of guys swinging the bat well right now.”
NC State starter Ryan Pond (2-1) struggled in the top of the first. After getting the first out, Jack Rye and Posey both singled. A walk to Ryne Malone loaded the bases and then a Dennis Guinn ground out brought the first run in.
A hit and an error put the Pack in business in the bottom of the first versus Sauls. With runners on the corners a ground out tied the game up at 1-1.
Anderson continued to swing his hot stick in the second as he doubled into the left field corner to open the frame. Tony Thomas, Jr. sacrificed him to third and then Danny Diaz sacrificed the run home on a perfectly placed bunt down the first base line.
“(Danny) Diaz did a very good job of moving runners,” said Martin. “Tony Thomas did a good job. We just did some things right. Diaz also did a good job on a safety squeeze. We just tried to not miss an opportunity to score when we got it. Buster (Posey) of course was big at the plate with a double and triple. It gives hitters opportunities to drive home runs by getting good pitches to hit. I thought we did a good job of that.”
FSU opened the third with another double, this one sent to deep center by Posey. The freshman swiped third and then Guinn sacrificed him home for his 65th RBI of the season. It is as many RBIs as any Seminole had in all of 2005 when FSU played 73 games.
The Wolfpack stormed right back in the bottom of the third. A leadoff single was followed by a controversial homerun by Ramon Corona. Corona sent a shot off the wall in right field for a stand-up double. After a challenge by NC State Head Coach Elliott Avent, the ruling was changed to a homerun as the umps ruled the ball bounced off the railing in the stands and back out onto the field.
After entering the tournament with 12 hits, Anderson opened up the fourth inning with his sixth in four games in Jacksonville. Thomas then singled to drive him home and took second on the throw to the plate. NC State attempted to throw Thomas out and sailed the ball into center field allowing Thomas to come all the way around and score putting FSU up 5-3.
“I feel that was big for us,” said Posey of the top of the fourth. “We kept the momentum on our side. I think coming back and getting two runs, Travis Anderson led off that inning with a double and Tony had a hit and great hustle around the bases. That got the crowd into it even more so it was very big for us.”
Posey, who singled and doubled in his first two at bats, opened up the fifth with a triple. Ryne Malone then plated the run on a grounder to the right side making the score 6-3.
In the top of the sixth Anderson continued his assault on opposing pitching. For the second time in the tournament and the fourth time this season the DH went yard making it a 7-3 game. It was the sixth straight hit for the junior in the tourney.
Florida State continues play at the 2006 ACC Tournament Saturday at 4:30 p.m. versus the Wolfpack with the winner advancing to Sunday’s title game. The Seminoles will attempt to become just sixth team ever to lose its first game and then come back to play for the title. FSU accomplished that feat in 1994.
The game will be available over the internet via a live radio broadcast and Game Tracker will also be available for the game. It will also be broadcast live on the ACC webcast. Tickets for the ACC tournament can be purchased on line at www.sunsbaseball.com or by calling (904) 358-2846.