Friday First Takes - Errors, Runs and Boos Rain Down on FSU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--- I'm not going to say I told you so, but did I not say in my preview to this Miami-Florida State series that the sketchy Seminole defense, the worst in the ACC, was of grave concern coming into tonight's rivalry game with Miami? And guess what was a heavy contributing factor in FSU's 11-4 loss? Three nasty errors in the 10-run 6th inning spelled n-o-l-E doom tonight.

Miami - 000 00(10) 010 - 11 14 2
FSU - 011 020 000 - 4 10 3

MikeMartin&ump.jpg
(Not a lot went right for Mike Martin after the midway point of tonight's 1 vs. 2 game)

WP- Chris Hernandez (6-0)
LP- Matt Fairel (8-1)

Top hitters:
Miami-
Blake Tekotte 2-for-5 2RBI, 2 doubles
Jemile Weeks 3-for-5, 2RBI, double, stolen base (13)
Mark Sobolewski 2-for-5, 2RBI

Florida State-
Jack Rye 3-for-4
Dennis Guinn 1-for-5, 3RBI, HR


FSU had things going great guns early on, getting a run in each of the 2nd and 3rd inning. And things really looked good for the garnet and gold when Dennis Guinn pumped out a fastball off the left field foul pole in the 5th inning to put FSU up 4-zip.

The frenzied crowd was whipped up, the Animals of Section B were loud as Van Halen and the Hurricanes looked a little shaky.

But then fate had to go and ruin things in the 6th inning. To put it bluntly, the wheels fell off. It started off rather harmlessly, with Jemile Weeks singling to left and Yonder Alonso working an 0-2 count to a walk. After Mark Sobolewski struck out, Dennis Raben earned another walk and the bags got packed and things suddenly turned serious.

The bottom half of the Cane lineup stepped up huge, with bases loaded RBI hits by Ryan Jackson, Joey Terdoslavich and Dave DiNatale in succession. That brought out the boo-birds in the once-rabid stadium.

Then, like a lottery winner that lost his ticket, a trio of infield errors brought home three more runs and the crushing blow came from the bat of leadoff man Blake Tekotte, who ping'd a two-RBI double to put the game out of reach. Game. Set. Match. And no love.

Miami added a single run in the 8th, but the drama was gone. The energy had been sucked out. And the crowd had long made its way to the exits.

Now FSU has to look at fixing it's bruised ego and recover quickly. Tomorrow brings the same Hurricane batting order, just waiting for a mistake or two.

Alright Seminoles, time to show what you're made of. No pressure.

WeeksAlonso.jpg
(Jemile Weeks and Yonder Alonso did their usual amount of damage starting the 6th inning onslaught with a single and walk respectively)


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SOME NOTES I TOOK AS THE GAME WENT ON---

- The other night I watched a few innings of the Red Sox-Yankees game and saw Big Papi slappin' backs and Kevin Youklis cheerfully talking at second base with the Yankee middle-infielders. Well, this rivalry tonight is about 10 times as angry as that weak rivalry. I noticed that Jim Morris and Mike Martin didn't shake hands before the game at the home plate meeting with the umps. You guys remember that video replay complaint that FSU made toward Miami down in Coral Gables a few years ago?

- I have to admit, I noticed that the Hurricanes went 4-up, 3-down in the 1st inning against Matt Fairel but that they hit him pretty hard each time. Right on the nose, yet, right at people.

- FSU came out aggressive, having five of their first 12 batters making contact off the first pitch. Despite this aggressive approach, it seemed like the Seminole hits early on were all seeing eye singles or infield Baltimore chops.

- With his 4th inning single, FSU leadoff man Tyler Holt has now reached base in all 37 games so far this season.

- When Seminole 1B Dennis Guinn hit a two-run yard call in the bottom of the 5th inning, it marked just the second home run given up by Hurricane starter Chris Hernandez this season.

- The nine hits by FSU was the most hits in a game that Hernandez had given up so far this season. His previous high this year was seven, surrendered three times.

- In the 6th inning, when Miami was in the middle of scoring three straight RBI singles, Coach Martin finally sent reliever Jimmy Marshall out of the dugout and down to warm up in the bullpen. The FSU fans gave a mock-cheer for finally making the move.

- Two batters later, after a two-run double to Blake Tekotte, Martin finally made the walk to the mound and got an even louder mock-applause. I felt bad for starter Matt Fairel, though he did get a nice ovation on his way to the dugout.

- Wanna know the most shocking thing about it? When Mike Martin walked back to the dugout after making the move to Jimmy Marshall, you could actually hear the FSU fans booing here and there.

- Then, once inside the dugout, Fairel was sitting on the bench and Martin crouched down and got nearly nose-to-nose with him, reading him the riot act for some reason. Aye-yaye-yaye!

- FSU came into the game as the worst fielding team in the ACC at .955. Sure enough, the fielding bugaboo came back to bite the Noles in the keister tonight. In that fateful 6th inning where Miami scored 10 runs, there were three errors recorded, two on 1B Dennis Guinn, and another pair of singles that bounded off of Seminole gloves and into the outfield.

- For the Miami portion of the 6th inning:
10 runs
6 hits
3 errors
And a lot of hurt egos.
Last time an opponent scored double digits in a single inning against Florida State:
- vs. Clemson, May 13, 2004. The Tigers scored 11 runs in the second inning as part of an 18-9 CU win.

- Before the 8th inning the p.a. pumped out Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" as has become so popular at games these days. But even after the inning started, the Animals of Section B kept singing the song on their own.

FSUanimalsSecB.jpg
(The Animals of Section B were in top form tonight... for a while)

- My favorite chant by the Animals of Section B?:
"A-C-C, another crappy call! A-C-C, another crappy call!" As Bill Murray said to his girlfriend at the beginning of Stripes, it's a little cute.

- The Seminoles struck out a total of 13 times in the game. That's the highest number of Ks they've suffered in one game this season.

- After the team's post-game meeting in left field, the Miami players huddled together and started jumping up and down chanting something (sounded like "a-roo, a-roo, a-roo") and then broke it up by yelling "Omaha!" in unison.

- Tonight's loss broke the Seminoles' 11-game win streak.


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A QUICK THREE UP---
1- Oregon State.
For scoring five runs in the top of the 9th to win at Arizona State

2- Florida Gulf Coast.
Won a pair of games at pre-season favorite Jacksonville, 5-1 and 4-1, to improve to 28-12 and 18-5 in the A-Sun, solidifying their first place standing.

3- Kentucky's Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill.
The two SEC studs went a combined 5-for-6 with five runs scored and five RBI and also started a 5-run rally in the bottom of the 8th to beat Florida 11-7 in come-from-behind fashion.

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A QUICK THREE DOWN---
1- Florida State's implosion.
Not just the defensive errors, but the hits that actually tipped off the gloves of their infielders and the base-running errors that had Mike Martin Jr. breathing fire out of his third base coaches box. Not a lot went right for the Seminoles in the last half of tonight's game.

2- The Missouri Valley Conference for not getting a single 9-inning game in today.
Four games were suspended or postponed due to weather and the last one, between Wichita State and expected Valley contender Southern Illinois only went seven inning because of the mercy rule. WSU won 10-0.

3- Eastern Time Zone.
It's now 2am here in Tallahassee and I'm not even tired yet.


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A QUICK REPORT FROM THE 10 PLACES I'D WANT TO BE THIS WEEKEND---
1-
Miami - 11
FSU - 4
Wasn't so much the "place to be" after all. That 6th was one ugly inning for the Seminole defense. But the good part is that we'll see what FSU is made of in the next two games of this weekend.

2-
Mississippi - 2
So. Carolina - 6
The grand slams just keep coming for the Gamecocks. This time it was James Darnell, providing his second slammy and 13th home run overall of the season. Mike Cisco did his part, holding the Rebs to one run in 6.2 innings of work. Now, can SoCar keep the good pitching going all weekend?

3-
Oregon State - 6
Arizona State - 4
Damn! Don't count out the Beavers yet. OSU scores five runs in the top of the 9th to lay just the second home loss on the Sun Devils this season. Mike Stutes gives up just three hits in 7.2 innings of no-decision work. Brett Wallace and Ike Davis go a combine 1-for-7. Nice work Beavs. They improve to 17-12. ASU is now 30-5.

4-
ECU - 3
Rice - 10
The Owls may just be ready to put the rest of C-USA on notice that this is STILL their house. Adam Zornes gets four hits and three ribbies to guide the Owl O to the win. This may be a case where T.J. Hose is losing his touch, he takes the loss for the Pirates and falls to 2-4 on the season. Remember, he's the same guy that pitched ECU to wins over Michigan, Pepperdine and Cal State Fullerton in 2006.

5-
OSU - 2
Texas - 1 (11inns)
Give props to Texas tonight. If a Missouri team that hits .305 could hang 31 and 13 on the Horns, I was expecting the worst when the Big 12's best hitting team came to town. But UT's Chance Ruffin held the Pokes to just six hits and one run in 10.0 innings of work. Yet, in the end, the Horns dropped their third Friday night game in four weeks.

6-
Elon - 15
CofC - 14
Talk about white knuckle, panic time. The Phoenix rose... and then almost got burned in the end. Elon goes into the bottom half of the 9th inning with a 15-8 lead but bumbles its way to nearly getting beat. The Cougars Michael Harrington supplied a three-run bomb that cut the score to a single run, but CofC could muster no more.

7-
Notre Dame - 8
W. Virginia - 4
While UND's David Mills and Greg Sherry combined for five hits and four ribbies on the night, the .400+ hitting trio of Tyler Kuhn, Joe Agreste and Jedd Gyorko went just 2-for-12. Nice Friday road win for the improving Irish (24-9-1). WVU falls to 27-10.

8-
Stanford - 4
UCLA - 1
I don't even have to know anything more than this one stat from the game: Bruin pitchers walked nine Stanford batters. Damn. The first four batters of the game went: walk, walk, RBI single and 2RBI double. It's lights out from there.

9-
Duquesne - 4
Temple - 5
It didn't look good early on, as the Owls gave up a home run on the third pitch of the game and fell behind 4-1 after the Dukes half of the 3rd. But Temple's three bullpenners held DU hitless, including another save for Arshwin Asjes (his 6th this year) as Temple came back to win.

10-
Texas A&M - 2
Baylor - 1
Aggies are hitting their stride now, winning a school-best 10 straight conference games with tonight's W. Get this, the winning run came around when Darby Brown (which sounds the like the star of his own sit-com) was plunked with the bases loaded in the 8th inning. A&M improves to 31-7 and 13-3. The Bears are limping at 23-15 and 8-8.


DickHowserStadium.jpg
(An awesome crowd of 6,756 were at tonight's game)
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STADIUM REVIEW---
Dick Howser Stadium.
The Good-
- Stadium-styled seats all around the grandstand. No bench seating, except in the gen ad bleachers down each line.
- Lots and lots of shaded areas to sit. Most of the grandstand, in fact, is under the overhang.
- Don't know if they need to have it that short, but a unique right field fence, with a short-porch of 320 feet, but with a 30 foot fence.
- The mesh netting behind home plate is very easy on the eyes and easy to see through.
- Good sound system. Not too loud, but certainly not one that makes you wonder what the p.a. man just said.
- Impressive outer brick facade is a high-quality look. The stadium looks impressive from outside the gates as well.

The Bad-
- About that mesh netting. It's good, but there is way too much of it. It covers the entire grandstand. There should be some easier sightlines without netting. And there certainly shouldn't be netting overhead all the way down each foul line!
- The bleachers down each line should be more angled toward home plate. But that's a complaint I make about a lot of stadiums. Why have ANY grandstand or bleacher facing the outfield?
- The tall wall behind home plate. Like a lot of places have, there's a near-10 foot wall from the bottom of the backstop to the stands. Sort of like Ohio State's. And I'm just not a fan of that. Gimme Georgia Tech's old wall-less backstop.
- The grass didn't look to be in very good shape, particularly around and behind home plate. Outfield didn't look bad though.
- The short porch in right field is kind of fun, but then you realize there's no real reason for it to be there. There's no building it's buttressed up against or immovable parking structure or anything. It's just a short fence for the sake of having a short fence.

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More tomorrow from Dick Howser Stadium. I should also tell you that tomorrow, College World Series tickets go on sale to the general public. But by the time you read this, they'll probably already be sold out. Ha ha.

G'night
(If I can finally get to sleep)

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Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert