April 3, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Practicing patience at the plate, Florida State continued its "Never On Sunday" ways, dispatching Maryland 12-3 for a series clinching victory.
One day after seeing their 40-game win streak against the Terrapins come to an end, the Seminoles (21-7, 8-3 ACC) battered six Maryland pitchers for 13 hits. FSU's most productive day at the plate since rapping 15 hits against Boston College on March 12 was further aided by a Maryland staff which issued 15 walks. The Terrapins also committed four errors as the Seminoles kept the pressure on throughout the day.
"It was a good bounce-back for us," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "After yesterday we were motivated to get it done today and I'm just very pleased with the approach all of our guys had."
After trading runs with the Terrapins (13-15, 2-9) through the first two innings, the Seminoles broke the game open with two runs in the third and three in the fourth. McGee snapped out of a slump with a two-run homer over the center field fence in the fourth to give FSU a 7-2 lead. It was his sixth homer of the season and the 48th of his career, as the senior moved into a tie for sixth on the career list with Paul Sorrento.
Two innings later Tapley followed suit with a three-run bomb; his third of the season 32nd career four-bagger.
"My last three at-bats I really felt good," Tapley said. "I hit three balls on the nose and I was lucky to get one up in the air and get it out of here."
The early onslaught was more than enough support for starter Gary Merians, who scattered six hits and allowed a pair of runs over five innings and moved to 5-1 on the season. Brian Busch tossed two innings of relief, while Robert Benincasa and Daniel Bennett each worked an inning to close out the victory.
After managing just eight hits over the first two games of the series, the Seminoles received plenty of production up and down the lineup. Leadoff batter Devon Travis (3-for-4) and Justin Gonzalez (3-for-4) lead the way, while James Ramsey (2-for-3) extended his team-leading hitting streak to six games. Tapley added a double to finish off a two-hit day as well.
Equally impressive was Florida State's flawless defensive effort for the third consecutive game.
"It's always big and defense is something we take a lot of pride in," said Travis. "To see a zero at the end of the (scoring) column is always big."
To play flawlessly in the field over three cold and dreary days - on artificial turf - was no small feat.
"The weather and the elements are kind of tricky, but we just kept grinding it out and today was a much better day," Tapley added "We had to come to play and we did get some timely hitting and some timely pitching."
FSU's top two batters in the order - Travis and Sherman Johnson - combined to reach base on nine of 12 plate appearances, repeatedly setting the table. Johnson was hitless but walked four times.
"It's always important for the leadoff guy to get us going," said Travis, who walked twice in addition to his three hits. "[The coaches] were stressing to me how bad we need to get on them early. I definitely took a little initiative to get my team going. I've been struggling lately. It was really good to see Tapley come through. Ramsey is as hot as ever and McGee is going to get his hits. It was good day."
After completing a 3-1 week which began with a win over Florida in Jacksonville, the Seminoles return home for five games this week. They will host North Georgia and Valdosta State Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, then host red-hot North Carolina for a three-game ACC series. The Tar Heels are coming off three-game sweep of Clemson.