June 4, 2010
NORWICH, Conn. - Tenth-ranked Florida State (43-17) opened postseason play with an 11-3 victory Central Connecticut State (33-22) Friday afternoon at the NCAA Norwich Regional inside Dodd Memorial Stadium. The Seminoles improved to 37-11 all-time in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament with the win over the Blue Devils.
"We are just very pleased with the way we played today," said head coach Mike Martin. "I thought Brian (Busch) gave us a big lift in going six full innings as it was a very good outing for him. It saved us from having to go to the bullpen. I also thought (Daniel) Bennett did a very good job. Certainly there were a lot of key hits for us in today's ball game. The one (Mike) McGee got and the home run that Raffy (Lopez) hit was a surprise to everyone as this is such a big ball park, but he just corked that thing out of there. I am just glad to see these young kids play like they did today."
FSU held the lead for all but a half inning on Friday as CCSU remained in striking distance until late in the ball game. The Seminoles scored seven runs over the seventh and eighth innings to break open a one-run ball game.
"This is the Seminole way," said Ramsey. "We are going to put pressure on you and make you make outs. We are not going to lie down for any team. We are going to go hard for 27 outs."
Jayce Boyd led all players with three hits in the opening round game of the tournament to tie a career-high. Tyler Holt and James Ramsey recorded two hits a piece, while Ramsey drove in a game-high three runs. Holt finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, an intentional walk, two stolen bases and three runs scored.
Mike McGee's two-run single in the fifth gave the Seminoles the lead for good as the junior left fielder answered Central Connecticut State's two runs in the top of the inning as the Blue Devils claimed their first lead of the afternoon.
Brian Busch earned his first win since moving into the starting rotation back on April 17 improving to 5-1 on the year. The sophomore southpaw gave up three runs, one earned, on five hits as he walked three and struck out six.
After giving up two walks in the first, Busch retired 10 straight Blue Devil hitters before Central Connecticut State' Mitch Wells led off the fifth inning with the team's first hit of the game, an infield single to second.
"I was basically just trying to work both sides of the plate with my fastball and throw off speed to keep them off balanced," said Busch. "I struggled in the seventh throwing into the right handers which gave them another run, but luckily my defense and solid pitching out of the bullpen bailed me out today."
Daniel Bennett entered with two on and two outs in the seventh and got the Noles out of the jam on just one pitch. The junior right hander finished the game working 2.1 innings allowing just one hit to pick up his third save of the season.
Florida State grabbed the early lead in the opening game of the Norwich Regional plating a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI infield single by Ramsey. Holt led off the game with a double to left and took third on his 28th stolen base of the season. After McGee drew a walk from CCSU starter Dave Krasnowiecki (7-3), Ramsey recorded an infield single down the first base line that Krasnowiecki could not handle cleanly allowing Ramsey to reach safely and Holt to scamper home for the first run of the game. The Blue Devil southpaw escaped the inning without further damage as he forced Stephen Cardullo into an inning ending double play.
The first two batters to the plate in the second reached as Stuart Tapley led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a single through the left side by Boyd. But Krasnowiecki got out of the inning unscathed recording back-to-back strikeouts and a pick off of Boyd at first to keep the Seminole lead at 1-0.
A leadoff walk to Ramsey to start the bottom of the fourth went to no avail as Krasnowiecki retired the next three batters that he faced recording a pair of groundouts and a strikeout.
Central Connecticut State scored a pair in the fifth to take its first lead of the afternoon at 2-1. The Blue Devils took advantage of a fielding error at third as Sherman Johnson could not field a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Zarotney. Wells led off the inning registering CCSU's first hit of the game with a single up the middle. Following the error, Anthony Scialdone laid down a sac-bunt at third to advance the runners 90 feet. Danny Hickey brought home Wells for the tying run on a sac-fly to center. A batter later Sean Allaire gave the Blue Devils a one-run lead on a single to left center. The senior shortstop recorded the final out of the inning as he was thrown out at second trying to stretch the single into a double.
The Seminoles answered right back in the bottom of the inning to reclaim the lead at 3-2 on a two-out base hit by McGee. Devon Travis and Rafael Lopez opened the inning reaching on a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively, and both moved up a base on a sac-bunt off the bat of Holt. Blue Devil first baseman Tommy Meade then robbed Johnson of a hit going upstairs to snare a line drive that was headed for right field. McGee gave the lead back to the Noles for good singling back up the middle to drive in Travis and Lopez.
"We have been going through that all year; up and down in games fighting to get the lead," said Boyd. "Like Ramsey said, we fight for 27 outs and never give up."
FSU added to its lead in the sixth on an RBI single by Boyd. Cardullo led off the inning with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a sac-bunt by Tapley. On the very next pitch, Boyd stepped in and gave the Noles a 4-2 advantage lacing a single through the left side for his second hit of the afternoon scoring Cardullo from third.
Central Connecticut State cut the deficit to 4-3 on a two-out double to the gap in left center by Hickey scoring Zarotney all the way from first. Busch opened the inning getting Wells looking on strikes before giving up a single back up the middle to Zarotney. After another strikeout by Busch, Hickey hit a line drive into the gap in left center to plate Zarotney for the Blue Devils' third run of the game. CCSU would chase Busch from the game after Allaire was intentionally walked.
With runners at first and second, Bennett came on out of the bullpen and got the Noles out of the inning after throwing just one pitch as he got Sean Miller-Jones to hit a grounder back to the mound for the final out of the inning.
Florida State pushed its lead to 7-3 plating three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Lopez led off the inning taking a 1-2 pitch from Krasnowiecki out of the park to right for his second home run of the season. Holt followed with his second double of the afternoon chopping a hit over the head of Wells, who was playing in at third. The junior centerfielder moved to third on his second stolen base of the game and came home on a throwing error from behind the plate by Hickey. Johnson kept the inning going registering a single to right. The hit would end the afternoon for Krasnowiecki after facing just three batters in the eighth.
With Roy Natoli in the game for the Blue Devils, Johnson stole second and advanced to third on a groundout back toward the mound by McGee. A balk brought home Johnson for the third run of the inning.
Krasnowiecki was charged with seven runs on eight hits in 6.0 plus innings of work. The junior lefthander walked five and struck out four in suffering his third loss of the season.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the eighth scoring four times to take an 11-3 advantage. Boyd and Travis opened the inning with a double and single, respectively, which led to the third pitching change of the afternoon for the Blue Devils. After a ground out by Lopez kept the runners at second and third, CCSU intentionally walked Holt to face Johnson with the bases loaded. The decision would back fire on the Blue Devils as Johnson drew a walk to drive in Boyd from third. The final blow would come off the bat of Ramsey as the sophomore right fielder cleared the bases with a single to right. Ramsey would end up at third on the play after a fielding error by Zarotney in right. Ramsey would be credited with two RBI on the base hit.
"To break it open was great," said Boyd. "They are a good ball club and they were swinging the bats well. We got some good pitching today, but whenever you can take a nice lead like that it is always good."
Florida State will return to the diamond on Saturday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m., as the Seminoles will take on the winner of Connecticut & Oregon in a winner's bracket game of the NCAA Norwich Regional. The game will be broadcast live on FS Florida, while fans can listen in locally on 100.7 FM and Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker.