May 30, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State (44-16) advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional with an 8-2 victory over Georgia (38-23) Saturday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Behind a complete game from freshman Sean Gilmartin and some timely hitting from the Seminole offense, Florida State will face the winner of the Georgia/Ohio State game on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
Gilmartin (12-3) was the story on Saturday throwing all nine innings against the Bulldogs for his second complete game of the season and first covering all nine innings. The freshman southpaw limited the Georgia offense to just two runs on five hits, a day after the Bulldogs scored 24 runs on 23 hits against Ohio State in the first game of the Tallahassee Regional.
Gilmartin showed great command of his pitches getting ahead in the count throughout the afternoon. He went to a three ball count just twice on Saturday, once in the second and one more time in the eighth. His only hiccup came in the fourth inning as both runs were scored on a two-run shot by Rich Poythress. The Moorpark, Calif., native finished the game with six strikeouts and did not walk a batter for the first time in 14 starts this year.
The nine-inning complete game was the first by a Seminole pitcher since Ryan Strauss went the distance against Florida in a 4-2 victory over the Gators in Tallahassee back on April 15, 2008. Bryan Henry was the last hurler to go the distance in the postseason, a 4-3 victory over Auburn back on June 4, 2005.
Jason Stidham was the offensive catalyst driving in five of the eight Seminole runs against Georgia. Four of Stidham's five RBI came with two outs including a bases clearing triple off the wall in right center in the bottom of the eighth. Tyler Holt led all hitters with three hits on Saturday, while Stephen Cardullo, Stuart Tapley and Stidham each registered two hits.
Florida State grabbed the early lead plating a run in the bottom of the first to give the Seminoles a one-run advantage. Holt drew a walk to get things started and advanced to third on a single down the third base line by Cardullo. Two batters later the Seminoles would bring across the first run of the game as Stidham brought home Holt on a sac-fly to center. FSU looked to add more in the inning loading the bases with two outs but Georgia starter Trevor Holder (7-5) got Ohmed Danesh to groundout to second to end the threat.
The Seminoles extended their lead with some timely hitting in the second scoring all three runs on two outs to take a 4-0 advantage. With runners at second and third and two outs, McGee ripped a double off the fence in right scoring Rafael Lopez and Holt. McGee scored a batter later on Stidham's opposite field single to left center.
Gilmartin retired 10 straight Georgia hitters to start the game before giving up a double off the fence in right center to Peter Verdin with one out in the fourth. Two batters later, Poythress cut the Seminole lead in half connecting on his 25th home run of the season. The junior first baseman took a 0-1 offering from Gilmartin over the fence in right for his fourth home run of the Tallahassee Regional.
Florida State put a pair of runners on in the third following singles by Mike Meschke and Holt, but the Seminoles were unable to add to their lead ending the streak of consecutive innings with a run at six, tying a season-high.
After giving up a two-out single to Holt in the third, Holder settled down retiring 12 straight Florida State hitters before Tapley connected on a two-out double off the fence in right center in the seventh.
The Bulldogs threatened in the eighth stringing together a pair of singles by Michael Demperio and Verdin, but Gilmartin got Bryce Massanari to pop out to Tapley in foul territory for the final out of the inning.
A one-out walk to Meschke in the eighth closed the book on Holder, who worked 7.1 innings for the Bulldogs. The senior right hander finished the game allowing five runs on nine hits as he walked three and tied a season-high with seven strikeouts.
With Holder out of the game, the Seminoles added to their lead scoring four more runs off Georgia reliever Will Harvil building their lead to 8-2. Three of the four runs in the inning were charged to Harvil.
In the eighth, James Ramsey pinch ran for Meschke at first, moved to second on a two-out single through the left side by Holt and came around to score on a base hit to center off the bat of Cardullo. A walk to McGee loaded the bases for Stidham, who brought them all home on his second triple of the season.
Seven of the eight Seminole runs on Saturday came on two outs, upping the tournament total to 13 two-out runs in two games.
Florida State will return to the diamond on Sunday, May 31 at 4:00 p.m. when the Seminoles take the field against the winner of the Georgia/Ohio State game at 12:00 p.m. The game will air live on ESPNU, while fans can 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.