May 13, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. - Second-ranked Florida State (43-9, 21-6) dropped its first three-game series of the season as the Seminoles were defeated by 16th-ranked Clemson (34-18, 17-10) 11-6 Sunday afternoon at Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Tigers collected a season-high eight extra base hits off Seminole pitching in the series finale as FSU lost for just the fourth time in 37 homes games this year.
Tony Thomas, Jr. capped off a fantastic weekend going 2-for-4 in the series finale with a home run, two RBI's and a runs scored. The junior second baseman hit .636 (7-for-11) in the three-game series with a homer, three doubles and four runs scored. Mark Hallberg and Buster Posey each recorded two hits on Sunday in the loss.
After being down by as many as eight runs heading into the bottom of the seventh, Florida State scored four runs on three hits as the first four batters to go to the plate reached safely. Thomas highlighted the late inning rally with a two-run homer to left. Five batters later Clemson brought on Stephen Clyne to stop the rally as he got the final out in the seventh. Clyne pitched the eighth and ninth innings to earn his third save of the season.
"Clemson took us to the wood shed plain and simple," stated head coach Mike Martin. "They got the big hits, as seven runs were scored on three home runs. You have to take your hat off to them. They did a good job."
D.J. Mitchell, making his fifth start of the season, remained perfect on the year running his record to 4-0. The sophomore right hander pitching six plus innings allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits. He walked five and struck out five to lead Clemson to victory.
Andy D'Alessio gave the Tigers a three-run lead in their first at-bat of the game on a three-run shot over the fence in right center. Seminole starter Ryan Strauss (8-2) started the game striking out Addison Johnson, but then gave up a double to the gap in right center to Wilson Boyd and a four pitch walk to Marquez Smith. D'Alessio stepped in and on the 11th pitch of the at-bat hit a towering three-run homer to give Clemson an early 3-0 lead.
Clemson looked to threaten again in the top of the second with runners on first and third and two outs. After Johnson's single to right, the freshman center fielder attempted to steal second but put on the brakes half way down the baseline. Posey threw on to Hallberg at second who threw back to Posey getting Alex Lee trying to steal home to end the inning.
The Tigers added one in the fourth to increase their lead to 4-0. Taylor Harbin drew a lead off walk and raced around to score on a double to the gap in right by Doug Hogan. The double ended the afternoon for Strauss as the junior right hander was gone after 3.1 innings. Michael Hyde came in out of the bullpen and got the final two outs to close out Clemson's half of the fourth.
Florida State got a run on the board in the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-1. The first two batters reached for the Seminoles as Posey executed a beautiful bunt single towards third, while Jack Rye drew a four pitch walk. The runners advanced a base on Ohmed Danesh's groundout to first and Posey scored on Jason Stidham's RBI groundout to second.
Clemson pushed four runs across in the top of the sixth highlighted by a two-run homer by Harbin. Harbin took a 2-1 offering from Hyde hitting it off the scoreboard in left field for his eighth home run of the season. Back-to-back doubles by Ben Paulsen and Hogan ended the afternoon for Hyde. Travis Burge came on and after giving up an RBI bloop single to J.D. Burgess got Johnson to ground into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
The Seminoles added a run in the sixth thanks to an errant Tiger throw. With runners on first and second, Stidham hit a ground ball to D'Alessio at first who threw on to Harbin for the second out of the inning. Harbin's relay throw back to first went wide of the bag allowing Posey to score.
D'Alessio made the score 10-2 on his second home run of the game. The senior first baseman blasted a shot over the fence in right center off Bo O'Dell marking his 11th multi-home run game of his career.
Florida State countered with four runs in the bottom of the seventh to shrink the Clemson lead to 10-6. The first four batters reached to start the inning highlighted by Brandon Reichert's RBI double off the wall in left to score Mark Gildea. Thomas followed with a two-run shot to left center for his team leading 10th home run of the season. After a pitching change brought on left hander Ryan Hinson, the Seminoles loaded the bases with two outs. Clemson went to the bullpen for the second time in the inning bringing on Clyne to face Ruairi O'Connor. On the third pitch, Clyne unleashed a wild pitch to score Hallberg, who doubled to the gap in right center. With the count 3-2, O'Connor grounded out softly to first to end the threat.
Clemson added an unearned insurance run in the eighth, while Clyne pitched the eighth and ninth innings earning his third save of the season.
The loss snapped a streak of eight consecutive ACC series victories for Florida State, while it's the first time all season that the Seminoles lost back-to-back games.
Despite the loss, Florida State got some good news following the conclusion of Sunday's game as the Seminoles clinched the number one overall seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament thanks to NC State taking 2-of-3 from Virginia this weekend including an 8-6 victory on Sunday. It's the seventh time in school history that Florida State has earned the top seed in the tournament. The ACC Tournament will be held at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla., May 23-27, 2007.
Florida State will head back on the road to face Georgia Tech in the final three-game ACC series of the regular season. Game one is on Thursday, May 17 in Atlanta, while first pitch for games one and two are slated for 7:00 pm. Game time for the series finale on Saturday is at 4:00 pm. Thursday and Friday's games will be televised live on Sports South and Saturday's game will be shown on Fox Sports Net South. Fans can also follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM.