April 20, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - It took Tyler Everett an inning to get a handle on his emotions Wednesday night, but the Florida State senior pitcher wasn't alone on an emotionally memorable night at Dick Howser Stadium.
Florida State's second ALS Awareness Night was bit more emotional, especially for Everett, who took the ball from his wheelchair-bound father Jimmy Everett, who is suffering from what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Everett gave up a run on three hits in the first, but settled down with the help of his teammates, as the 10th-ranked Seminoles escaped with a 6-4 victory over Florida Gulf Coast.
"That's a tough game to play," said FSU coach Mike Martin, who was Jimmy Everett's high school basketball coach. "There's so much meaning. ... It makes you look back on your life.
"Tyler did a great job. ... The team did a great job of getting it done. I'm very proud that we were able to hang on."
Devon Travis erased the 1-0 deficit on the first pitch he saw from Eagles' starter Jason Forjet, sailing it over the scoreboard in left field for his third homer of the season. The Seminoles (28-10) tacked on two runs in the second on Travis' RBI single and Sherman Johnson's run-scoring sacrifice. The 3-1 lead stood through Everett's four-inning stint as the right-hander limited the Eagles to just two more hits.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a little nerves," Tyler Everett said. "It was probably a good 10 minutes or 15 minutes before I actually settled down."
He finished with a pair of strikeouts without a walk, but was saddled with a no-decision when Florida Gulf Coast (19-19) rallied and tied the game in the sixth.
"I didn't even know that I'd have been able to get the win through four innings," said Everett, unaware that he was eligible for the win in the controlled start. "It didn't really cross my mind."
The 3-3 deadlock didn't last long. Jayce Boyd followed Mike McGee's RBI single with a two-run triple to center field in the home half of the sixth for a 6-3 cushion that would be enough for the victory on a tough night.
"It makes you kind of step back and look at the bigger picture," said Boyd, who, like the rest of the Seminoles, marveled at their teammates' resilience as his father battles the incurable disease.
"Tyler's a tough kid. I don't know if I'd be able to keep my head up and even play the game of baseball if my dad was like that," Travis said. "It was pretty awesome that Jimmy was able to come out here and support Tyler."
The Seminoles offered their support on the field as well, matching a season-high with four double plays, including a pair of inning-enders in the third and fourth.
"I thought our defense, for the most part had a pretty good day," said Travis, who had a hand in all four double plays and went backhand up the middle to rob FGCU of a hit in the second. "We've been struggling as of late. It's about time we stepped it up."
Boyd (3-for-4) and McGee (3-for-5) paved the way for the Seminoles' 14-hit attack. James Ramsey, who extended his ACC-leading hitting streak to 16 games, had a pair of hits along with Travis and Parker Brunelle.
Despite the offensive outburst, the Seminoles stranded 14 base runners - a recurring theme in recent weeks.
Florida State will look to preserve and extend its ACC Atlantic Division lead this weekend when it plays host to Duke.
The opening game is set for Friday at 6 p.m. Senior left-hander Sean Gilmartin will take his place on the mound to open the series and be followed Saturday and Sunday by right-handers Hunter Scantling and David Trexler, respectively.
The specially-designed ALS uniforms and other items from Wednesday's game will be available via online auction at Seminoles.com, later this week. All proceeds from the auction will go to the ALS Association, Florida Chapter for research and care.