April 11, 2010
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - What would an ACC game be without a little late inning rally? For the third time on the road in league play this year, seventh-ranked Florida State (25-7, 10-5 ACC) used a ninth inning rally to earn a win. This time the Seminoles scored three runs in the ninth and hung on for a 17-16 victory over Wake Forest (10-24, 2-13 ACC) on Sunday afternoon on Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park.
"I just can't tell you how proud I am of this baseball team," said head coach Mike Martin. "To be down by five runs at one time and to keep chipping away at the lead, we just kept fighting. I have just never been more proud of a group than I am this team right now. It was just a good win for us today."
Ohmed Danesh came through with a key pinch hit with one out in the ninth lacing a double to right on the first pitch he saw from Wake's Joel Ernst (1-1). The hit scored Mike McGee from third for the tying run, while Jayce Boyd raced around from first and scored on a fielding error by Mac Williamson in right. Danesh raced into third on the play and would score a key insurance run a batter later on a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Sherman Johnson. With the Wake infield playing in, Danesh went on contact and slid just in front of the tag at home to give the Noles a 17-15 advantage and their first lead since the first inning.
"I was trying to get the pitch I was looking for," said Danesh on his pinch hit double. "He (Ernst) is a big time pitcher; he is a big time closer for them. I went up there knowing that I had to be ready to swing at a good pitch. I got my pitch and was able to put a good swing on it."
"He was in contact and got a great jump," added Martin. "Ohmed did a great job of beating that play at the plate."
"We practice that day in and day out," added Danesh on the contact play at the plate. "Hustle plays are key to any victory. It really shows when our players are hustling out there on the field and making those types of plays happen. Practice makes perfect and it kind of proves it when you make those plays happen during a game."
The run by Danesh would loom large as Shane Kroker went deep off Mike McGee to lead off the bottom of the ninth to draw the Deacs within one of the Seminole lead. The run marked the first allowed by the Seminole closer in 13.1 innings this year. But McGee would settle down as the junior right hander registered back-to-back strikeouts and then a fly out to right by Pat Blair for the final out of the ball game. The save was McGee's sixth of the season and second of the weekend.
With the win on Sunday and Clemson's loss to Duke, the Noles moved into a tie for first place with the Tigers atop the ACC Atlantic Division.
The 33 runs scored by the two teams on Sunday were the most combined in the series surpassing the previous mark of 30 set twice. The 17 runs by the Seminoles tied a season-high, while the 16 runs scored by the Deacs was a season-high and the most scored off the Seminoles in series history. Wake Forest also finished the game with a season-high 18 hits.
Boyd finished the game 3-for-5 with three runs scored and five RBI. The freshman first baseman established career-highs for runs scored and RBI, while tying a career-high with three hits.
Holt was a perfect 2-for-2 on the afternoon with two RBI and three walks. He reached base on five of his six plate appearances on Sunday. In his second start of the series, Parker Brunelle went 2-for-6 with three runs scored and three RBI. McGee recorded a pair of hits, while Devon Travis registered two hits, two runs and two RBI.
Daniel Bennett moved to 2-0 on the year as he worked two scoreless innings. The junior right hander allowed just two hits and walked two while recording one strikeout.
Florida State broke through with the early lead for the third time in the series plating three runs in the top of the first. Holt led things off with a double down the line in left and scored two batters later on a single through the left side by McGee. With the bases loaded, Boyd hit a chopper toward third with Deacon third baseman Shane Kroker's only play to step on the bag at third for the first out of the inning. Stephen Cardullo scored on the play after reaching on a hit-by-pitch. An errant throw from Wake starter Austin Stadler on a pick-off attempt at second moved James Ramsey and Boyd up 90 feet. Justin Gonzalez drove in the third run of the game on a beautiful sacrifice bunt toward first scoring Ramsey.
The lead was short lived as Wake Forest answered with six runs in the bottom half of the first off FSU starter John Gast marking the most runs scored by the Deacs in an inning this year. All six runs came with two outs in the inning as Wake registered five straight two-out hits. Williamson got the Demon Deacons on the scoreboard with a base hit back up the middle plating Ryan Semeniuk and Steven Brooks. Wake tied the game with an RBI single from Matt Conway and took the lead following a two-run double from Mike Lubanski and a run scoring single from Bentley Heyman.
Wake Forest added to its lead with two more runs in the second to take an 8-3 advantage. The first two batters reached off Gast on a walk and an infield single to Semeniuk and Brooks, respectively. A fielding error on a tough hopper to first scored Semeniuk, while Brooks scored on a fielder's choice groundout at second off the bat of Williamson.
Florida State came right back to tie the game at eight scoring five runs in the top of the third. The Seminoles put together a two-out rally as all five runs came with two outs in the inning. FSU loaded the bases on singles by Boyd and Gonzalez and a walk to Johnson. Travis kept the inning alive driving a base hit back up the middle scoring Boyd and Gonzalez. Brunelle stepped in and on the first pitch from Stadler found the gap in left center for a stand up double and two RBI. Holt tied the game with a base hit to left center scoring Brunelle from second. The junior centerfielder tried to stretch the single into a double but was thrown at second for the final out of the inning.
The runs continued to pour in as Wake responded with four runs in the bottom of the third to retake the lead at 12-8. The third Seminole error of the game paved the way for three of the four runs. Hunter Scantling, who started the third, was charged with four runs, one of which was earned, on two hits with a walk and a strikeout. Tye Buckley entered and hit the first batter that he faced. The junior southpaw then issued consecutive walks with the bases loaded before getting out of the inning with Kroker popping out to first.
The Seminoles drew within one of the lead in the fourth as Boyd unloaded on a three-run shot to left center. Cardullo and McGee opened the inning with a walk and single, respectively, before coming around to score on Boyd's third home run of the season.
Wake responded with two runs in the fourth off Brian Busch as both runs came on two outs. Lubanski began the inning with a walk and scored on the first triple of the season from Semeniuk. Brooks followed with an RBI double to right center to give the Demon Deacons a 14-11 lead.
The Garnet and Gold cut the deficit to 14-12 on a sac-fly off the bat of Holt in the fifth. Brunelle hit a one-out triple to right center and scored on Holt's sac-fly to left. Holt came within a couple feet of posting his third home run of the series as Semeniuk caught the fly ball on the warning track for the second out of the inning.
Busch worked around a leadoff single by Matt Conway to start the bottom of the fifth to hold the Deacs without a run in an inning for the first time on Sunday afternoon. Cardullo made an outstanding diving play on a ball bounding up the middle off the bat of Lubanski. The senior shortstop gloved the ball and flipped on to Travis at second for the second out of the inning, saving what would have been a base hit for the Wake catcher.
The Seminoles put a pair of runners on courtesy of back-to-back walks to McGee and Ramsey to begin the sixth, but the runners were left stranded as Justin Van Grouw came in and retired three straight to keep Wake's lead at 14-12. After battling Boyd, Van Grouw finally retired the freshman first baseman on the 10th pitch of the at-bat getting Boyd to fly out to the catcher in foul territory. Van Grouw then registered consecutive strikeouts to end the Seminole threat.
Wake Forest added to its lead in the sixth on a solo home from Semeniuk. The redshirt junior unloaded on a 1-0 pitch from Busch for his fifth home run of the season and a 15-12 Demon Deacon lead.
FSU scored twice in the seventh to narrow the deficit to one at 15-14. Travis led off the inning with a triple as the freshman second baseman took the first pitch from Van Grouw and hammered it to center for his first three bagger of the season. He would score a batter later as Brunelle reached on a fielding error at first. Boyd drove in his fifth run of the game drawing a bases loaded walk from Eli Robins to bring home Brunelle.
"We came into this game knowing that we were going to have to fight," said Danesh. "It's not easy to do what we did today, win three straight on the road against an ACC opponent. We didn't give up today. It was a heck of a ball game, I'm just glad we came out on top but at the same time it was a great game on both ends."
The Seminoles are back in action on Tuesday, April 13 as Florida State faces Florida in Tallahassee in the fourth and final game of the regular season between these two intra-state rivals. First pitch for Tuesday is set for 6:00 p.m. The game will live over the internet on Seminoles.com All-Access, while fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team and 94.3 FM and on the web at Seminoles.com.