June 5, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State (45-17) fell to Arkansas (38-22) 7-2 Friday evening in game one of the Tallahassee Super Regional on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Despite out hitting the Razorbacks 10-5 in game one, the Seminoles struggled with runners on base leaving 14 runners stranded.
The loss snapped an 18-game home winning streak for the Seminoles as it was their first loss on their home turf since falling to Florida 10-2 back on April 14. It also marked the seventh consecutive time that the Garnet and Gold has lost the opening round game of the Super Regional.
For the second straight weekend in Tallahassee, rain was a factor on opening day of the NCAA Tournament as this Friday inclement weather interrupted play on three different occasions delaying the game for over six hours.
Arkansas broke open a 2-2 tie scoring three runs in the seventh and two in the eighth all on just one hit. The Razorbacks took advantage of three walks and two hit by pitches in the seventh driving in the go ahead run off Geoff Parker (6-2) on a bases loaded walk to Scott Eibner. The next two runs crossed the plate on a sac-fly to center and a sacrifice bunt.
Three Seminole errors led to a pair of Arkansas runs in the eighth as the Razorbacks increased their lead to 7-2.
The Seminoles got off to a promising start as Holt led off the bottom of the first with a double off the wall in right center, but a 48-minute weather delay brought the game to a stand still. When play resumed, Mike McGee drew a walk from Arkansas starter Dallas Keuchel but the junior left hander retired the next two Seminoles on a groundout and a fly out to deep center to keep the game scoreless.
Arkansas was the first to score in game one as Zack Cox connected on a two-out, solo shot in the top of the second. The Razorback third baseman deposited a 1-0 offering from FSU starter Sean Gilmartin over the wall in dead center for his 12th home run of the season.
The Seminoles wasted little time in answering Arkansas' run in the top of the second scoring a run in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at one. Tommy Oravetz led things off reaching on a fielding error at short and moved to second on a single back up the middle from Ruairi O'Connor. Three batters later, Holt drove in Oravetz from second on a two-out base hit through the left side to even the game at 1-1.
Florida State looked to take its first lead of the game in the third but an outstanding catch by Brett Eibner in center field kept the game tied at one. With two outs and Tapley on at first after singling to left center, Oravetz drilled the first pitch he saw from Keuchel to deep center. But Eibner came up with a nice leaping grab as he crashed into the wall and hung on to the ball for the final out of the inning.
The Razorbacks loaded the bases with three straight singles to start the fourth before rain halted play for the second time on Friday. After a 57-minute rain delay, Arkansas was held to just one run to take a 2-1 lead. Gilmartin got Bo Bigham to ground into a double play at shortstop on a 1-1 pitch bringing home Ben Tschepikow for the second Razorback run of the game. The Seminole starter escaped the inning without further damage as he got Cox looking on a called third strike.
A third rain delay hit Dick Howser Stadium in the bottom of the fifth with Holt and Stephen Cardullo standing on second and first, respectively following back-to-back singles. Four hours and 22 minutes later play resumed with the Seminoles pushing across the tying run on an RBI single by Tapley. With the bases loaded, the Seminole third baseman dropped a bloop single into short center off Arkansas reliever Mike Bolsinger (6-4) scoring Holt to tie the game two.
The lengthy rain delay also closed the book on both starting pitchers as neither would factor in the decision. Gilmartin went 5.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits as he walked two and struck out two. Keuchel went 4.0 plus innings giving up two runs, one earned, on six hits as he walked one and did not strike out a batter.
The first two batters reached for Florida State in the seventh but the Seminoles were unable to cut into the Razorback lead as both runners were left on base. McGee opened the inning with a double down the line in left, followed by an infield single to short off the bat of Jason Stidham. Bolsinger then recorded three consecutive outs to maintain Arkansas' three-run lead.
The Seminoles drew a pair of walks off Bolsinger in the eighth which went by the way side. The Razorback reliever registered a strikeout and fielder's choice groundout to maintain their five-run advantage.
Bolsinger finished the game throwing 5.0 shutout innings giving up four hits. He walked three and struck out six.
The loss also dropped Florida State to 0-4 all-time against Arkansas as all four losses have come in the NCAA Tournament including three straight in Super Regional play.
Florida State and Arkansas will return to the diamond for game two on Saturday, June 6 at 12:00 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN2, 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.