Feb. 4, 2006
Tallahassee, FL - It may have taken a little longer than expected but the eighth-ranked FSU baseball team finally got their 51st opening day win. After Friday's game with Charleston Southern was suspended in the seventh inning, FSU (1-0) came back Saturday afternoon and closed out the game 6-3 behind Luke Tucker's first ever save as a Seminole. Bryan Henry (1-0) picked up the win while CSU's Josh Evans took the loss.
Persistent lightning in the area put a halt to opening day at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium yesterday. The Seminoles and Buccaneers made it through a 54 minute weather delay before the game was stopped again in the top of the seventh with No. 8 FSU leading the Buccaneers 6-2. Neither team put up a run in the game until the Bucs loaded the bases in the top of the ninth. That brought Tucker into the game and he struck out two batters to end the potential rally.
Three different Seminoles recorded multi-hit games and five drove in runs including freshman shortstop Buster Posey who capped an FSU comeback from an early 2-0 deficit with his first career RBI in the fifth breaking open a 2-2 game. Posey had a big day as he went 2-for-4 with the RBI and a strike to home plate to cut down a potential CSU run.
"This was a lot of fun," said Posey. "It was great to get out here and hear the fans. It was a little unreal at first. I just tried to stay within myself tonight and make the game as simple as possible."
Posey wasn't the only Seminole to get off to a good start in the first game of the series. Ryne Malone also had a big game with two hits, one of which was a double, and an RBI. Jack Rye, Danny Diaz and Travis Anderson all drove in runs as well and shortstop Tony Thomas, Jr. scored three of FSU's six runs.
Henry (1-0) got off to a bit of a rocky start allowing two runs in the first, only one of which was earned and throwing 37 pitches. After settling down, the All-ACC first team pitcher retired 11 in a row and is in line for a win if the Seminoles can hold on Saturday. The junior went 5.2 innings while allowing four hits, two runs, walking four and striking out five. He threw 95 pitches in picking up the win.
Charleston Southern got off to a fast start to the 2006 season when a walk and a single put runners on the corners with no outs in the inning. Another walk loaded the bases before a strikeout swinging. An error on a hard hit ball to third allowed CSU to break on top 2-0. A slow roller to third loaded the bases once again before Henry rung up his second batter of the inning. The Tallahassee native then ended the Buccaneer rally with his third K of the inning.
"I got off to a little bit of a rough start to say the least," said Henry. "There was a lot of excitement and adrenaline being my first opening day start. It reminded me of my high school basketball days when we used to bounce around in the locker room before a game. That was the feeling I had. It was fine once I settled down and let my defense work. It was back to the good old Henry."
A walk and a hit by pitch put FSU in position to cut into the lead in the bottom of the first before a balk moved both runners up a base. Malone then singled to second base driving in the first run of the season. A walk to Posey loaded the bases and Diaz then evened the game on a deep fly to center. An error loaded the bases once again but CSU starter Josh Evans (0-0) got out of the jam on a fly ball.
Florida State broke on top in the fifth inning. Tony Thomas, Jr. led off with a smash up the middle. Rye sacrificed Thomas to second. Evans got the second out on his second K of the game but he couldn't get out of the inning. Posey's RBI single into center field broke the tie giving him the first RBI of his Seminole career. After a walk to Diaz, Payton Tweddale relieved Evans to try and stem the FSU threat. Anderson didn't let CSU out of the inning though as his single to right drove in Posey making it a 4-2 game.
After retiring his 11th straight batter, Henry issued back-to-back two-out walks in the sixth bringing Brian Chambers into the game. Chambers needed just one pitch to bring the sixth to an end.
"I was able to get into a little bit of a rhythm there," said Henry. "The biggest thing was getting ahead. Once I got ahead I could start to mix in off-speed stuff, keep them guessing and off-balance. In the first inning I'd be 2-0 and everybody in the park knew I was going to throw a fastball. Once I settled down it made things a lot easier."
After a 54 minute delay due to weather, the game resumed at 6:56 p.m. The Seminoles went right back to work versus Tweddale. After back-to-back walks, Rye sent a single through the infield scoring Shane Robinson and increasing the FSU lead to 5-2. The Buccaneers looked to be out of the inning when they caught Rye of first base but the sophomore got back to first when nobody was covering the base allowing Thomas to trot home during the rundown with FSU's sixth run of the night. The lightning then returned to the area halting the game at 7:12 p.m.
The game resumed Saturday at 12:58 p.m. with Travis Burge on the mound. The freshman retired the Bucs in order in his first ever FSU appearance.
The score remained 6-2 until the Buccaneers threatened in the top of the ninth. Freshman Caleb Graham came into the game in the ninth and loaded the bases bringing the potential tying run to the plate. That brought new closer Tucker into the game. The junior fanned the first batter he faced before losing the next batter on a 3-2 pitch cutting the FSU lead to 6-3. Tucker then fanned the final batter to pick up the first save of his FSU career.
Game two of the series began at 2:30 p.m. Game Tracker will be available for the contest along with a live radio broadcast available on WFLA locally and on the Internet at seminoles.com.