Saturday Statements - FSU punches back, gets Miami to tap out

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Round two of this heavyweight fight goes to Florida State, 9-5.

DickHowserStadium2.jpg
(A stadium record 6,789 fans packed Howser Stadium tonight)

You've gotta give it up to the Seminoles tonight. Coming off the heels of last night's train-wreck 11-4 loss to Miami and then falling behind 4-zip tonight, you could just feel the crowd collectively gasping "Oh boy. Here we go again!"

But the Seminoles got four two-out runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning and then three more runs in the bottom of the 6th to surge back. And then the bullpen boys put on a clinic, limiting the lethal Hurricane bats to one single hit in the final five innings to salt the game away.


Miami- 301 100 000 - 5 9 1
FSU - 004 003 02x - 9 14 1

WP- Jimmy Marshall (4-0)
LP- Enrique Garcia (2-1)
Sv- Ryan Strauss (3)

Top Hitters:
Miami:
- Yonder Alonso, 2-for-3, 1RBI, 1BB
- Adan Severino, 2-for-3, 1RBI, 1HR, 1BB
- Dennis Raben, 1-for-4, 2RBI, 1HR

FSU:
Jason Stidham, 4-for-5, 3RBI, 2doubles
Buster Posey, 2-for-4, 1RBI
Stuart Tarpley, 3-for-4, 1double


Most importantly, this was a big win for the Seminole psyche tonight. Can you imagine what a second straight loss to Miami might have meant? Especially if this one had been the runaway win it looked like the Canes were going to get after their first three innings at the dish.

But FSU scrapped it's way back and added another good win to the long lore of this rivalry. Jason Stidham was a man on fire, getting four hits and three runs batted in to pace the Nole attack.

The game three rubber match will have an interesting pitching matchup. Eric Erickson comes back from injury to take the mound for the Hurricanes and J.C. transfer phenom Elih Villanueva will throw for FSU.

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

- Hmmm. Old "mo" still wearing Miami orange.
That's what Florida State fans had to be worried about, seeing the Hurricanes jump out to a quick lead today, on the heels of last night's 11-4 shellacking. FSU's Geoff Parker's opening inning vs. the Canes went:
Strikeout
Single
RBI single
2RBI HR
Flyout
Single
(Wild pitch)
Strikeout

- The three earned runs given up in the first inning to the Hurricanes matched the most runs Geoff Parker had given up in an entire outing in his career.

- The opening base on balls by Seminole lead off hitter Tyler Holt meant that he has reached base safely in all 38 games this season.

- I tell you what, FSU looked dead in the water, down 4-zip after two and a half innings. But they showed a lot of moxie by putting together a two-out rally in the 3rd inning to put itself back in the game with four runs to tie things up.

- It started with Buster Posey's 17th double of the season that knocked in FSU's first run of the game. Two batters later Dennis Guinn ripped a shot down the left field line, scoring a pair. Tony Delmonico tied things up with another wicked shot down the left field line, scoring Guinn with the tying run.

- An off-the-beaten-path player I'm impressed with: Miami LF Adan Severino. Last night, he came in as a late game replacement and hit an absolute screamer that was stabbed by Nole RF Jack Rye. Then, in today's 3rd inning, he grabbed a bouncing ball in the left field corner, turned and Elway'd a throw right to 2B Weeks to nab FSU's speedy leadoff man Tyler Holt at second. Severino also pasted a solo shot home run that was a no-doubter over the right field fence to give The U a 5-4 lead in the 4th.

FSUJackRye.jpg
(FSU right fielder Jack Rye can only watch as Adan Severino's dinger does a flyover)

- Starting pitcher Geoff Parker had a rough go of it tonight. The four innings of work was his shortest outing of his career (previously six innings) and he also gave up the most earned runs (4) of his career. Ouch.

- Oh man, just when I gave Severino some major props he goes and gets picked off of first base, leaning too far.

- With the 8th strikeout of the game (of Miami's Blake Tekotte) here in the 8th inning, the entire home crowd gets a free hot dog from Circle K. Which begs the question, do you really want a free hot dog from Circle K?

- In the 8th inning Rivals.com's Kendall Rogers came up to me and said, "I still think Miami's going to win this game." I actually agreed with him. I just have the feeling that their potent bats are never out of any game. But then again...

- In the bottom of the 8th, Jason Stidham added his fourth hit of the game, a two-run double off the wall in right-center, plating a pair of insurance runs for the Seminoles to make the game 9-5. And another reason Miami didn't make that comeback tonight...

- Ryan Strauss, who just pitched a complete game 5-hitter vs. Florida on Tuesday, gave Coach Martin 2.0 innings of no-hit ball, slamming the door on any comeback hopes for the Hurricanes.

- Coach Mike Martin said of Strauss after the game, "He's a bulldog. And he was hungry tonight. And that was just what this team needed to get a win." What was Strauss' strategy with the Canes? "I just came right at 'em. That's the only way to handle their hitters." Nuff said my man.

- It may be the understatement of the year, but Coach Martin was much happier tonight with his team's effort, bouncing back from last night's debacle. "It was crucial for us to bounce back tonight. That's what made it special for us. It was good to see that we didn't hang our heads or feel sorry for ourselves. We needed a response like this tonight. It's a game we were very fortunate to win."

FSUMikeMartin.jpg
(Coach Mike Martin looked a lot more relaxed in the post-game tonight)


- Coach Martin, "I was pleased with the aggressiveness we showed, on the bases. It was typical Florida State-Miami game. Lots of excitement and a big win for us."

- On his team's pitching. "Jimmy Marshall, John Gast, Ryan Strauss, you have to get that kind of relief pitching to win this kind of game. We're trying to get to the ultimate prize and we know we've got to have solid pitching every night."

- Coach Jim Morris of Miami lamented the lost opportunities. "Well Florida State certainly capitalized on our mistakes, just like we did on theirs last night. Particularly there in the 6th inning when we had momentum going our way, we didn't do a good job of base running, got a runner picked off first. And then we made a few more small mistakes and when you do that, they're going to make you pay."

- Morris, on jumping out big early. "Sure, it's no question it's good to do that and get the crowd quieter right there. But the bottom line is you know the game's not over with this ballpark. Either club is capable of coming back, it's a hitter's ballpark."

- Tonight's 13 strikeouts by Miami batters was the most the Canes have suffered all season.

- A Dick Howser Stadium record 6,789 fans in attendance for tonight's game. Besting the previous night's stadium record of 6,756.


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Now a quick few thoughts on the national scene in college baseball today.

THREE UP---
1- Charlotte's Rob Lyerly
Three home runs, 19 total bases in 24-6 win over UMass.
Lyerly went 6-for-6 with three bombs, a triple and two doubles on the night as part of a school-record 29 hits for the 49ers. Including two hits in his last two at-bats from Friday's games, Lyerly tied a school mark with eight straight hits. With the win, Charlotte wins its fourth straight A-10 series and takes over the top spot in the standings.

2- The Joy of Carbondale.
Southern Illinois pitcher Shawn Joy five-hits Wichita in Wichita.
SIU looked like the Salukis they were expected to be, smothering the Shockers 3-0 at Eck Stadium. Joy struck out five and didn't walk a single batter in the complete game effort. SIU is now just 4-7 in Valley play and 20-16 overall.

3- Ole Miss.
Won at South Carolina, 5-2.
The Rebs have been another mystery team this season with mass amounts of talent, but only a 24-14 record. Well today, the arms of Drew Pomeranz and Scott Bittle held the awe-inspiring bats of Carolina to just six hits. Though the eight walks is a bit of a concern.

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THREE DOWN---
1- The SEC needs new game operations managers.
First there's that whole Sunday travel curfew thing where they evidently refuse to start games an hour earlier in order to get complete games in. Then, today, after Friday night's Auburn-Vandy game was halted in the 7th inning because of rain, they decide to play another whole game first (which VU won 8-2) and THEN play the last remaining three innings from Friday's games (which AU won 6-3). Isn't that the opposite order of things here?

2- Georgia Tech's bullpen.
For the second straight night, the Jackets blow a lead at Maryland and fall, this time by a 14-13 count.
Only this time, it was an absolute tank job, allowing the Terps to score nine runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings, culminating in Joe Palumbo's 2BRI single to end the game. Call it cruel fate, but Tech is just 1-5 since the death of teammate Michael Hutts.

3- Canisius.
Lost 12-6 and 3-1 vs. Siena.
The feel-good story of the Golden griffs took a turn for the worse today as unassuming Siena came to town and took a pair of games. In the nightcap, the Griffs had a 1-0 lead going into the 7th (and last) inning, but an error, a passed ball, a walk and a trio of hits allowed for the Saints to score three unearned runs to win.

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SPECIAL (dis)HONORABLE MENTION---
Arizona State loses its first home Pac 10 series since 2005.
Oregon State - 12
Arizona State - 3
Just before I hit the hay tonight, I checked in on this West coast score and, sure enough, the Beavers pull the trick over the once-dominating Sun Devils once again. And I find this hard to believe, but the Beavs held the Devils to just three hits through eight innings. OSU improves its black-and-blue record to 18-12 now. ASU drops to 30-6.

OSUjoeyWong.jpg
(Joey Wong put Oregon State ahead for good with a two-run bomb)

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Okay, I'm dead. Spent the last two hours watching UFC blood-and-bodyshot fighting with Kendall Rogers. Thankfully, there was beer there too.

Hope to catch up with FSU head honcho Mike Martin for a quick Q&A tomorrow before the game.

More on the rubber match from Dick Howser Stadium tomorrow.

G'night

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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