May 5, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fifth-ranked Florida State (34-11) defeated Jacksonville (20-19) 11-10 in 13 innings Tuesday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Mike McGee came through with the game-winner in the bottom of the 13th singling back up the middle to score Tyler Holt from second to give the Seminoles the walk-off victory in the rubber game of the series against the Dolphins.
After going 39 games without a walk-off victory, the Seminoles now have three in their last six contests including two off the bat of McGee.
"I am very proud of this baseball team," said head coach Mike Martin. "I can't say enough about the way our guys fought and that to me, win or lose, is all I am asking. We fought, we got doubled in hits, we never hung our heads. We kept fighting and I am just so proud of this ball club."
The winning heroics by McGee were set up after both teams exchanged three runs in the 12th inning. Jacksonville's Adam Brett Walker drove in his fifth run of the evening to break the 7-7 tie lacing a run scoring double to the gap in right center. He would add to the JU lead scoring from third on a sac-fly by Alex Swenson. The Dolphins would increase their lead to 10-7 on Jonathan Murphy's two-out bloop single to right center.
The Seminoles would not go quietly scoring three runs in their half of the inning to extend the game and make it the longest game in series history. Sean Gilmartin came through with a clutch two-out, pinch hit single in the bottom of the 12th that scored McGee from third, who reached on a fielding error by Jamaal Hawkins at short to open the inning. On the hit by Gilmartin, the ball rolled under the glove of right fielder Esterlin Perozo allowing Jayce Boyd to score from second and Gilmartin to slide in safely at third. With James Ramsey at the plate, JU's Matt Loosen unleashed a wild pitch which brought Gilmartin home for the tying run.
"Well we are three runs down in the 12th inning and we got a guy who hasn't hit but one time in two weeks and he comes through with a base hit to right field," added Martin. "We get a break on a ball getting by and score the tying run on a wild pitch."
In the 13th, Robert Benincasa (2-0) recorded two strikeouts but none larger than the strikeout to end inning as the Dolphins had runners at the corners. The freshman right hander got Chuck Opachich swinging on strikes to end the threat and pave the way for the game-winning heroics in the bottom of the inning.
With the game surpassing the five hour mark, Jacksonville head coach Terry Alexander turned the game over to Matthew Gaine (0-1), who was making his first appearance on the mound this year. Gaine issued walks to Holt and Stephen Cardullo to start the inning, before McGee stepped in and came through with his second game-winning hit of the season. The junior outfielder got just enough of a high fastball to get the ball back up the middle to score Holt from second for the winning run.
"I was just looking for a pitch that I could get a hit," said McGee. "I knew any hit in the outfield would score Holt, so I figured this guy would come after me with fastballs, since it was his first outing of the year. He left a fastball up and I just got enough of it to get it through the whole up the middle."
The Seminoles set season-highs for total sacrifices (7), walks (20) and runners left on base (19) following Tuesday night victory. The 20 walks tied a school record set back in 1982 against Cleveland State. Sherman Johnson had five of those walks which tied a single-game school record set on three previous occasions by Stephen Drew (2003 vs. Siena), Jeremy Morris (1996 vs. Clemson) and Lionel Martinez (1980 vs. Virginia Tech).
Boyd and McGee combined for half of Florida State's hits on Tuesday night as the Dolphins out hit the Seminoles 17-9. Boyd finished the evening 3-for-6 with a pair of singles, a double and three runs scored, while McGee went 2-for-6 with three RBI, two sac-flies and a run scored.
"This was just a long hard fought game," said McGee. "I am glad we got the `W' out of it. We worked hard the whole game and scored in a lot of different ways. It was an exciting game."
Hunter Scantling, who was making his third career start against Jacksonville, went 4.0 innings allowing three runs on seven hits as he struck out five and did not walk a batter in earning the no decision.
The Seminoles got out to the early lead plating a run in the bottom of the first as Stuart Tapley drove in Cardullo from third on a fielder's choice groundout. Cardullo reached on a five pitch walk and advanced to third on a beautifully timed hit and run with McGee at the plate as the junior from Port St. Lucie, Fla., ripped a base hit back up the middle off JU starter Glenn Witkowski.
Three straight singles to open the top of the fourth led to three Jacksonville runs as the Dolphins took a two-run lead after three and a half innings of play. Alex Martinez, Dan Gulbransen and Walker started the inning with back-to-back-to-back singles as Walker brought home Martinez for the first JU run of the game on a base hit through the left side. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners 90 feet, catcher Alex Swenson laced a double just inside the bag at third scoring two to give the Dolphins a 3-1 lead.
FSU cut the deficit in half plating a run in the bottom of the fifth on a sac-fly off the bat of McGee. Brunelle and Holt led off the inning drawing consecutive walks from Jacksonville reliever Kyle Kriech and moved to third and second, respectively on a sacrifice bunt by Cardullo. McGee then sent a fly ball to the warning track in center to bring home Brunelle to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Dolphins. After a JU pitching change, Tapley ripped the second pitch he saw from Baker Chapmen back toward the mound. The ball took the glove off the JU pitcher but Chapmen recovered in time to throw out Tapley at first for the final out of the inning.
The Seminoles reclaimed the lead at 6-3 in the sixth scoring four runs on just one hit, while taking advantage of five walks and a hit-by-pitch. Boyd led off the bottom half of the inning with the lone hit, a base hit back up the middle off Chapmen. Brian Gilroy came in out of the bullpen and proceeded to walk the first two batters that he faced before plunking Ramsey with a pitch scoring Boyd from third. Kentrail Pierce became the third JU pitcher of the inning and issued a walk to Brunelle with the bases loaded to give the lead back to the Seminoles for the second time on Tuesday. Holt and McGee closed out the scoring in the sixth registering a pair of sacrifice flies to give FSU a three-run lead.
Jacksonville answered with a run in the seventh to cut the deficit to 6-4. Tye Buckley issued a walk and double to the only two batters that he faced before Martin went to the bullpen and called on Tyler Everett. The Seminoles exchanged a run for an out as Everett got Jonathan Murphy to ground out to second bringing home Swenson for the fourth Dolphin run of the game. After issuing a walk to Perozo, Brunelle registered a key pickoff at third throwing down to Johnson to get Glen Johnson for the second out of the inning. Everett then got Hawkins to groundout to third for the final out but not before an outstanding defensive play by Johnson to just get to the ball and then a nice scope by Boyd on a ball that one hopped the bag at first.
The Noles extended their lead back to three at 7-4 on their fourth sacrifice fly of the evening. With Boyd at third after leading off the inning with a single through the left side, Ramsey brought him home on a sac-fly to right.
JU drew even for the second time on Tuesday night when Walker unloaded on a three-run home run to right off Everett in the eighth to tie the game at 7-7. The home run was Walker's team leading 12th of the season, while it was the first home run given up by Everett this year.
The Dolphins threatened in the top of the ninth with one out putting runners at first and second off Daniel Bennett. Martin went to the bullpen and brought on Robby Scott to face the left handed hitting Gulbransan. The Seminole southpaw did the job on just two pitches getting Gulbransan to fly out to McGee in left. Martin then went to the bullpen for the second time in the inning bringing on Geoff Parker. Parker got the Seminoles out of the jam and with the tie in tact getting Walker to fly out to center for the third and final out.
The Garnet and Gold loaded the bases with three walks in the ninth but could not push a run across as Clay Kollenbaum got Holt swinging on strikes and then Cardullo to fly out to right to force extra innings.
Tuesday night marked the first extra inning game of the season for the Seminoles and first since defeating UNC Asheville 11-10 in 11 innings back on April 22, 2009.
FSU came right back and loaded the bases with two outs in the tenth off Kollenbaum. Boyd registered his third hit of the ball game with a double to the gap in right center. JU then issued an intentional walk to Johnson before Travis drew his third walk of the game to load the bases. The Dolphins kept the game going as Ramsey hit into a fielder's choice groundout to third.
"To go down three is a lot in a late, late inning game like that, it's hard to make that up after fighting all night long" added McGee. "It shows a lot about the whole team and that no body thought for a second that we couldn't get it done."
The Seminoles return to conference play this weekend traveling to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face Boston College for three games beginning Friday, May 7 at 1:30 p.m. Fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team, 94.3 FM (Friday) and 100.7 FM (Saturday and Sunday) and on the web at Seminoles.com.