May 2, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State (32-12, 17-7 ACC) broke open a one-run ball game with four home runs in the fourth and fifth innings combined to take down Virginia Tech (27-19, 10-15 ACC) 10-4 Saturday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Seven different Seminoles registered an RBI in game two as the Garnet and Gold extended their win streak to a season-best 11 games with the win over the Hokies.
Jason Stidham was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle Saturday night going 3-for-4 at the plate. The junior second baseman reached base on his first four plate appearances recording a single, double, home run and base-on-ball. Stidham finished the game with a pair of runs and two RBI.
Four Seminoles went yard in the game with two home runs coming in each of the fourth and fifth innings. Ruairi O'Connor began the home run spree leading off the bottom of the fourth with his first home run of the season. Stephen Cardullo followed two batters later with a towering shot to left.
"It was a great feeling," said O'Connor. "I knew it was a big at-bat. I got myself in a good count in my first at-bat and got a little anxious. I knew it was a big point in the game, a big turning point for us. I wanted to get on base. I was looking for off speed, fortunately it was there and I got good wood on it."
In the fifth, Stidham led off with a solo shot over the fence in right center ending the evening for Virginia Tech starter Justin Wright (5-2). Wright went 4.0 plus innings allowing six runs on eight hits. The Seminoles hit three home runs off the Hokie southpaw as he had given up just five home runs in nine previous starts. Ohmed Danesh came through with a pinch hit three-run shot off reliever Clark Labitan later in the fifth.
"It was a good win for us," said head coach Mike Martin. "We faced one of the top pitchers in the conference and got it down, that's all I can say. Our young men got up there and battled. We had some very good at-bats and got some clutch hits. No question, we got a big hit from Ruairi O'Connor and of course Jason Stidham. There were a lot of positive things to take away from this ball game, but when you play a team that does not make an error than you know you got to play well to win and we certainly did that tonight."
Geoff Parker (5-1) got the start in game two and went six strong innings allowing just three runs on seven hits. The sophomore right hander posted a career-high nine strikeouts as he registered at least two strikeouts an inning on four separate occasions. The nine strikeouts tied a team-high previously set by Sean Gilmartin (vs. Auburn) and Mike McGee (vs. Wake Forest).
"I felt good out there tonight," said Parker. "I'm just doing what the coaches want me to do. I've been working hard on controlling my command during my time in the bullpen. It was good to come out tonight and provide a huge lift for my team."
It was the fifth start of the season for Parker whose last start came on March 31 against Florida at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville. Against the Gators, Parker worked 3.1 innings in earning a no decision in a game called after five innings due to rain.
"What a lift he gave his team," added Martin. "Coming in as a so-called spot starter, hadn't started since Florida. Parker showed what he was all about tonight to go in and give us six innings."
Tyler Holt went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles as he extended his streak of reaching base to 34 straight games. Since arriving at Florida State a season ago, Holt has reached base in 107 of 112 career games.
In similar fashion from game one, Virginia Tech struck first with a run in the first to take the early lead. Austin Wates continued his torrid hitting in the series doubling to left with a pair of Hokies on base scoring Steve Bumbry for the first run of the game. The hit was Wates' fifth of the series as the sophomore first baseman went 4-for-5 on Friday night. With runners at second and third and one out, Parker held the Hokies to just the one run getting Mike Kaminski to ground back to the pitcher's mound and then Ronnie Shaban to strike out swinging.
The lead was short lived as the Seminoles scored twice in their half of the first to take a 2-1 lead. Holt led off with a single to center, moved to second as a balk was charged to Virginia Tech starter Justin Wright and advanced to third on his team leading 24th stolen base of the season. Two batters later Mike McGee drove in Holt on an RBI groundout to tie the game at one. The next three batters reached for Florida State, all on two outs, including an RBI double to left by Tommy Oravetz. Stidham crossed the plate on the play for the second run of the inning after singling to left.
Florida State increased its lead on a sac-fly to center by Stuart Tapley to make the score 3-1. McGee began the inning with a single to left followed by a double down the line in right by Stidham.
Virginia Tech cut the deficit to one in the fourth complements of a double steal. With runners at first and third, Michael Seaborn took off for second. Rafael Lopez threw down to Stidham as Seaborn stopped three-quarters of the way to the bag and retreated back to first. Jack Posey took the throw from Stidham and threw on to Lopez at the plate with Shaban headed home. The throw was on time, but the slide by Shaban knocked the ball out of the glove of Lopez to give the Hokies their second run of the game.
Four home runs by the Seminoles over the fourth and fifth innings gave Florida State a commanding lead. O'Connor led off the fourth with his first home run of the season, while Cardullo's blast was his eighth. Stidham started the fifth with a solo shot to right center for his eighth of the season and second of the series. Danesh unloaded on a three-run shot for his third in 2009 and first home run since March 6.
Stidham drove in the fifth run of the inning drawing a bases loaded walk from Hokie reliever Clark Labitan.
The Hokies scored a run in the sixth on an RBI single to right center by designated hitter Buddy Sosnoskie. Virginia Tech added its final run of the game in the ninth on an RBI single to right off the bat of Ty Hohman.
Tyler Everett worked the final three innings to pick-up his first save of the season. The sophomore right hander gave up one run on two hits as he also set a career-high with five strikeouts.
Parker and Everett combined to strikeout 14 Virginia Tech batters in game two, tying a season-high set back on March 17 at Florida.
With the win, Florida State has now won nine straight over the Hokies while claiming its fourth straight ACC series. The Seminoles currently hold the top spot in the overall conference standings.
Florida State and Virginia Tech will square-off in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday, May 3 with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Saturday's game will broadcast live on Sun Sports, while fans can also listen to the action locally on 100.7 FM and over the internet on www.seminoles.com. Live stats will also be available via gametracker.