Sunday Summations- Lots of runs, not enough innings and no handshakes
TALLAHASSEE, FLA.-- It was an ignominious end to great rivalry weekend.
(Stand-up guy Blake Tekotte, actually waiting for post-game handshakes from Florida State that never came.)
Let's start with this: Time just ran out on Florida State. That's the best way to describe today's 11-10 loss to Miami after just seven innings of play.
Once again, the dumbest facet of college baseball, the curfew rule, cost the Seminoles a chance at getting a win over Miami today. And it also cost the fans a chance to see what would've happened in the last two innings of an intense back-and-forth donnybrook.
The Hurricanes held on for the win, but the Seminoles had cut the sizable UofM lead from 11-3 to 11-10 after seven complete. And to quote Keith Jackson, ole Mo was wearing garnet and gold when the game ended. Who knows what would've happened had somebody been smart enough to make this an 11:30am start instead of a 12:30pm start.
But the real story was the near-brawl that ensued after the Canes recorded the last out of the game. What happened, exactly? Well it depends on who you listen to and what colors they are wearing.
Miami claims that Mike Martin Jr., who coaches at third base, said something disparaging to the Hurricane dugout at the end of the game, getting the ire up of the celebrating Cane players. FSU people claim that the Hurricanes celebrated too long, rubbing it in their faces and causing them head toward the locker rooms.
While Miami stood at home plate and FSU players gathered their belongings, you could see numerous reactions. First and foremost was the image that was heavily burned into my mind of Blake Tekotte, hand extended, waiting for a Florida State player to start the handshake line.
But at the same time, there was Jemile Weeks behind him, doing taunting arm waves toward the Seminoles. There were also a couple of Hurricanes simply standing there with arms out and palms pointed upward as if to ask "What the dillio?" (Why did I just use that stupid word?) So you can probably understand the Seminole uprising that came about.
(Miami players in the post-game. Some taunting. Some holding others back.)
(FSU players were on the warpath with their blood boiling too.)
The Noles started to charge toward home plate with angered up blood and the crowd starting to cause a ruckus as well. But they stopped short of home and were separated by coaches and team officials. However, it should be noted that neither Jim Morris nor Mike Martin were in the mix to calm their teams, curiously.
And in case you're wondering, no, the coaches never shook hands after the game or before any of the three either. And apparently these guys haven't shaken hands in quite a few years. As I watched the coaches at the home plate pre-game meeting with the umpires in all three games, I noticed that they never even acknowledged each other or looked each other's way. What are we, ten year olds here? Oh well, it IS a rivalry, ya' know.
(I'm not sure Jim Morris and Mike Martin ever made eye contact this weekend.)
Miami came out with the idea that they didn't like Florida State getting the upper hand on Saturday, when three garnet and gold relievers shut down the Canes to one hit in five innings. In fact, Yonder Alonso took it upon himself to make sure the Canes got off to a hot start today, going yard on two occasions, including a fast-moving grand salami in the third inning to put the Canes up 4-0, a lead they held for good.
But that doesn't mean there weren't some hairy moments for The U because the Noles pecked and pecked at the lead, getting the biggest shot in the arm with a three-run home run by Buster Posey in the 6th. Then, in the 7th and final inning, they had the winning run up at the dish and the tying run at third, when Hurricane reliever Carlos Gutierrez was able to subdue the fired up crowd by getting leadoff man Tyler Holt to go down looking at strike three to end the game.
For The U, Eric Erickson started the game, getting his first action in a month. EE ended up going four innings, but gave up five hits and three runs, issuing three walks along the way. Yet, Erickson did manage to get the W, improving his mark to 6-0 on the season.
Miami- 005 330 0 - 11 11 0
FSU - 100 215 1 - 10 11 0
WP- Eric Erickson (6-0)
LP- Elih Villanueva (4-1)
Sv- Chris Gutierrez (9)
Blake Tekotte, 2-for-4, 1BB
Jemile Weeks, 1-for-3, 1RBI, 1HR
Yonder Alonson, 2-for-3, 5RBI
Buster Posey, 2-for-3, 3RBI, 1HR
Jack Rye, 2-for-4
Mike McGee, 2-for-3, 1RBI, 1HR
Stephen Cardullo, 2-for-3, 1RBI, 1HR
- Miami started the game with Blake Tekotte and Jemile Weeks both attempting to get on base with bunts. Tekotte's bunt was bobbled by pitcher Elih Villanueva, but was curiously ruled a hit.
- Yonder Alonso took a nasty foul ball off his ankle in his first at-bat that left him writhing in pain on the grass. After a few minutes to shake it off, he was thrown one of those leg protectors and he strapped it on before getting back into the box. The Miami SID said, "He usually wears that thing. I don't know why he wasn't today."
(Yonder Alonso writhed in pain after fouling a ball off his ankle, but rebounded. And how.)
- Any questions about Eric Erickson's being rusty from a month off with an injury... well, continued. Especially after Jason Stidham took the first pitch he saw over the "18 College World Series Appearences" sign in right field. Obviously, Stidham continued his hot hitting, after going 4-for-5 last night.
- Mike McGee hit a meek pop fly on the first pitch he saw from Erickson in the second inning. Why is that bad? Well, only because Dennis Guinn and Tony Delmonico both walked to start the inning, so you never want your next batter to go after the first pitch. I'm sure McGee heard an earful from Mike Martin Sr. once he got back to the dugout.
- Major league bomb!
Yonder Alonso, shaking off the bruised ankle from inning No. 1, hit a screaming no-doubter with the bases juiced to help put the Hurricanes up 5-0 in the 3rd. It was Alonso's first career grand slam (though I thought ALL his home runs were grand slams... or so it seems). It was also just the second home run given up by Villaneuva this season
- Major league bomb II.
An inning later, Jemile Weeks - who isn't big or anything but has a wicked-fast bat - and Yonder Alonso - again - hit back-to-back home runs to put Miami up 7-1. The last time an opponent hit two home runs vs. Florida State was Clemson's Andy D'Allesio last May 13. The last opposing team to go back-to-back on the Seminoles was also Clemson, with Harbin and D'Allesio back-to-back on May 14, 2006.
- This is also the 2nd time Weeks and Alonso have gone back-to-back this season. The previous time came on March 7th vs. Boston College. For their careers, it marked the 4th time overall that they've had back-to-back homers in a game.
- Not to be outdone, in the bottom of 4th inning, Mike McGee and Stephen Cardullo went back-to-back on circuit clouts to cut the Hurricane lead to 8-3. The last time for back-to-back home runs for FSU was last week in the 8th inning vs. Virginia on April 13th, done by Jason Stidham and Buster Posey. This is also the fourth time this year that FSU has gone for back-to-back HRs.
- This game marked the eighth time in 10 road games this season that the Hurricanes have scored double digits in runs.
- The defensive struggles could be worse for FSU. Twice in today's game, including the game-opening batter Blake Tekotte, the Hurricanes were given credit for base hits on bunts that were mis-handled by Villanueva and Stephen Cardullo.
- I have to admit something here, I was down on the field in the photographer's well next to the Miami dugout when Buster Posey hit his three-run home run to pull FSU within two runs in the 6th inning, and he really didn't hit that ball all that hard, but with the short porch in right, it sailed over the top of the fence with ease. Even some of the Miami players looked on as if they couldn't believe the ball was hit that deep.
- The FSU fans, knowing there was a 3:30pm curfew (and it was 3:18 at the time) booed vociferously at how slow Carlos Gutierrez was warming up during a pitching change. Smart move... or maybe I should say lack of a move, for the Canes.
- After a wild pitch allowed Mike McGee to score from third, cutting the lead to one, home plate umpire David Savage drew the wrath of the Seminole fans for calling Tyler Holt out on a looking third strike to end the game.
- This loss marks the first time all season that FSU has lost a one-run game. Amazingly, the Noles were 10-0 in one-run games coming into today. That shows some character.
- The attendance total of 19,062 for the three game set is a new series record, breaking the old three-game mark of 18,045 set when Miami visited in 2006.
- And by the way, where the hell are these FSU Cowgirls I hear all about anyway? I didn't see one hot, siliconed girl with ripped T-shirt displaying massive fake cleavage the whole weekend. Not fair!
("We like baseball, but we only stay 'til halftime.")
Elsewhere on this college baseball getaway Sunday.
1- Texas A&M.
They keep winning, so we keep putting them on this list. A&M beat Baylor 13-12 in 11 innings.
Leave it to vets like Blake Stouffer (game-winning RBI) and Kyle Colligan (game-winning run) to pull the Ags through from a 12-6 deficit with one out in the 9th. Unbelievable, man. A&M is on a school record tying 12-game conference win streak and lead the Big 12 at 15-3 and 33-7 overall.
2- Derek Van Buskirk, Michigan.
Yeah, I know it came against Michigan State, but DVB went 4-for-5 with three home runs and 9RBI.
With this win today, UMich swept the Spartans and have now gone 11-1 in their last 12 Big 10 games, putting more distance between itself and the rest of the conference. Overall, the Wolverines are now 28-8, having won 24 of their last 29 games. Leadoff man Jason Christian went 4-for-7 with 5RBI and No. 2 hitter Leif Mahler went 4-for-5 with 4RBI. Too many stars man.
Swept East Carolina with a 7-1 win today at Reckling Park.
With the series sweep, it appears as if the Owls are back on track for their dominance of Conference USA. In my pre-season "64 Things" column I made comment that the Owls would once again go something like 22-2 in CUSA play. After the series loss to Southern Miss, I started to wonder if they would. Now, everything may be back on track for that to happen.
1- Texas bullpen
Lost 13-10 vs. Oklahoma State in Austin.
The pen blew another lead and that means that the Horns go 0-3 against the Pokes by a total of five runs. An 8-2 lead evaporated when five pitchers from the UT bullpen allowed eight runs in the final two innings to suffer the sweep. Rebel Ridling goes 3-for-5 with 5RBI to lead Okie State.
2- Duquesne and Central Florida.
The Dukes lost their third straight game to Temple, 9-7 and the Knights were swept away at Marshall.
After going 0-for-3 this weekend, the Dukes drop out of first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings and are certainly off my list of turnaround/surprise teams that I had come up with on Thursday. Now when I go on the air on Monday, I can't include them in my Top 5 Surprises list.
And UCF... man. The Knights started out 19-1 this season and looking like world-beaters. But now they've gone just 7-15 since March 19th. Not a good sign.
3- The upsets that were snuffed out for curfew and weather reasons.
Florida State wasn't the only victim of the dumb curfew rule. LSU finished its game with No. 21 Georgia tied at 10 after 12 innings. But at least they got the opportunity to play a full nine innings.
Also, Maryland was in the midst of a huge comeback against the extremely shaky Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech, but was cancelled out by rain. The game was called after five innings due to the wet stuff with Tech winning 9-6. But the Jackets had a 9-zip lead at one point.
THE STRUGGLES OF THE UNDER-FUNDED.
While at breakfast at the Hampton Inn I was staying at, I spotted Maryland-Eastern Shore's baseball coach William Gardner at the complementary breakfast (the biscuits and gravy were quite popular with some of the Hawk players, I noticed). The Hawks are playing a three game series at Florida A&M this weekend here in Tallahassee. So I took a few minutes to talk to coach Gardner about his second year at the UMES program.
"Well, things are getting a little better. They're promising me two more scholarships next year and then two more scholarships the year after that. And that makes a big difference."
On the money thing, here's what he said about the small strides in amenities that his team is able to enjoy. "I heard stories around here that before I showed up (two years ago) the team would make trips like these in a couple of vans. Now, we're at least flying down here to play games and staying at nicer hotels. So they're putting more money into our program in different ways."
When I asked him about how the transition has been to all the new guys they've added, since there were only eight players off last year's team that came back for this season. "We have a lot of J.C. transfers and that's been one of the tougher things is getting these guys into the program and to play as a team. And a lot of these guys come here used to winning at the J.C. level - which is the attitude we want them to have. But obviously, it's tough with what we're trying to build here."
The Hawks went on to lose 8-4 at Florida A&M today and dropped all three games against the Rattlers.
The struggle continues. But there are some battles that have been won.
THE WORKING DEFINITION OF SERENDIPITY---
Quickly here, unfortunately stitch-heads, I had to skip the post-game comments by both coaches because I had to catch a flight from Tallahassee airport. Well, wouldn't you know, my flight was delayed. Awesome. That caused me to miss my conneting flight from Houston to L.A. More awesome. Then, my flight from Houston to L.A. was ALSO delayed. A trifecta of awesome.
I was getting on the plane, and a basketball coach with his high school team was complaining about being "upgraded" from seat 19C to first class. He wanted to be in the back with his team, not upgraded to first class.
Lo, I quickly piped up, "Umm, I was given seat 19C, but if you want it I'll gladly take that first class seat off your hands if you wanna switch?"
No b.s., the guy really wanted to sit with his team. So instead of an aisle seat with a bunch of teenagers, I got the calming comfort of first class. Ahhhh. Time to finish my column for the night.
Tomorrow, I'll include a photo journal of the 1 vs. 2 matchup this weekend.