February 2, 2003 - by
No. 2 Florida State Uses Six-Run Seventh to Down VMI 10-3

Feb. 2, 2003

Box Score

St. Petersburg, Fla. – No. 2 Florida State (3-0) broke a 3-3 tie with six runs in the bottom of the seventh and went on to defeat VMI (0-3) by a final score of 10-3 in front of 1,452 fans at Florida Power Park. Blake Balkcom’s two-run single in the seventh turned out to be the game-winner. Freshman Mark Sauls picked up his first career victory after working four scoreless innings of relief. Sauls allowed just one hit with three strikeouts and no walks.

“I was proud of the way we battled back today,” said head coach Mike Martin. “They (VMI) are a very good ball club. Stephen’s double was a big hit. You knew he would get it going. I thought our pitching staff did a real good job in the series. I don’t think our relievers gave up a single run this weekend.”

VMI took advantage of a pair of Seminole errors to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Matt Smith reached on an error to lead off the game, stole second and advanced to third when the throw went into center field. Brandon Massenburg knocked him in with a single to right with the infield in. Justin Briggs and Elliott Erbe added RBI-singles to complete the scoring.

Florida State got one run back in the bottom of the fourth when Jerrod Brown walked, moved to third on Blake Balkcom’s double, and scored from third on a balk.

In the bottom of the sixth, Stephen Drew tied the game with a double to left. The double, which broke an 0-for-10 slump to start the season, knocked in Derrick Smith and Bryan Zech with two outs.

“It felt good to get that first hit out of the way,” said Drew. “It was one of those things where I was hitting the ball hard, but just hitting it right at people. It wasn’t something I was worried about. I still have a little work to do to get my average back up.”

The Seminoles finally took control with six runs in the bottom of the seventh. Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Tony Richie singled to start the inning and moved up a base on Brown’s sacrifice bunt. Balkcom then came through with a two-run single to give FSU its first lead of the game at 5-3. Bryan Zech and Tony McQuade added RBI-singles while Drew knocked in his third run of the game with a triple.

FSU added one more in the eighth when Daniel Wardell tripled and scored on Kevin Richmond’s sacrifice fly.

The Seminoles travel to Stanford next weekend for a three-game series. The home opener is February 14th against Evansville.

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