Auburn, Ala.--Reigning National Player of the Year Shane Robinson had four hits and starting pitcher Tyler Chambliss allowed just two runs in six innings as the Florida State Seminoles took advantage of four errors to defeat the Auburn Tigers 8-3 on a brutally cold afternoon at Plainsman Park.
In his first career start with the Tigers sophomore Brett Butts pitched much better than his line would indicate at first glance. Giving up five hits and six earned runs in four and two/thirds innings, Butts was the victim of shaky defense and some bad breaks as he took the loss. Slater said it was just one of those days where things didn't go right for his team.
"I thought we had good at-bats throughout the day," Slater said. "The game was four errors to their one. That's the name of the game there. We swung the bats well throughout the day and hit a lot of balls hard. Butts, I really thought, did a nice job. He was getting them out front to back and his change-up was really good today.
"In the first inning we make an error and we have a pop-up in the infield that we let fall," he added. "It was a wind blown ball. The bottom line is that you've got a young team and you're going to get better each time out. I think we're better right now that we were a week ago. We just can't make defensive miscues, you can't make four errors in a game and expect to win."
Brett Butts pitched a solid game, but there were too many mistakes to overcome.
Things got off to a rocky start for Butts and the Tigers on a very cold Saturday at Plainsman Park as he hit speedy Robinson to get things started for the Seminoles. After moving to second on a wild pitch the junior advanced to third on a groundout by Jack Rye. That's when things got really strange for Butts and the Tigers.
With shortstop Buster Posey at the plate Butts got him to hit a deep ground ball into the hole that Justin Bristow fielded but threw low to Andy Bennett at first. Robinson scored on the play and Posey moved to second on the error by Bristow. The weirdness continued as Ryne Malone hit a towering pop-up on the infield. Battling a strong wind Josh Donaldson couldn't make the play putting two runners on.
Following a fly ball to left, Dennis Guinn singled to right field to score Posey. Getting caught in a rundown on the play, Guinn was interfered with by Bennett and the runners were moved to second and third with two outs. Showing some toughness, Butts got Tony Thomas Jr. to end the inning with Auburn trailing just 2-0.
The Tigers didn't waste any time getting on the board either as Tyler Johnstone walked to put them in business. He quickly advanced to second on a passed ball by FSU starter Tyler Chambliss and, following a Bruce Edwards liner to second base, Johnstone advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a Donaldson strikeout Bennett singled to center to score Johnstone and cut the lead back to one.
Butts again had problems in the second as left fielder Mark Gildea led off the inning with a double to center field and scored one pitch later on a double by Robinson just inside the bag at third. After advancing to third on a balk by Butts, Robinson scored his second run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Rye.
Both pitchers settled into a groove from that point forward until Butts again found trouble in the fifth. Getting the first two hitters, Butts walked Posey and then hit Malone to put himself into a jam. Following a wild pitch that moved both runners over Josh Spivey was walked intentionally to load the bases. That brought Clarence Nicely into the game, but he was the victim of some bad luck as two bloop singles by the Seminoles scored four runs before the inning was done. Leading 8-1 the Seminoles put it on cruise control the rest of the way.
Auburn squandered it's final chance to get back into the game in the bottom of the seventh. Leading off designated hitter Josh Stapleton singled to center field, the first of three consecutive singles by the Tigers as Bristow and fellow freshman Ben Jones each reached safely. The hit by Jones scored Stapleton to cut the lead to 8-2. Reliever Brian Chambers then walked Johnstone to load the bases with nobody out.
Unfortunately for the Tigers that was to be the end of the highlights as Edwards worked the count full before striking out on a fastball. Donaldson then hit into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to take the air completely out of Auburn's sails. The Tigers added a single run in the ninth to make the final 8-3 Florida State to even the series at one game each.
Bristow led the way at the plate for the Tigers with three hits and a run scored. Johnstone continues to produce at the top of the order with one hit and two walks. Stranding runners was again a problem for the Tigers as they left 10 on base. Auburn out-hit Florida State 10-9 on the day, but miscues proved costly as Auburn falls to 2-3 with the loss while the Seminoles improve to 4-1.
The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. with true freshman Evan Crawford on the mound for the Tigers against left-hander Barrett Browning for FSU.