Bouncing Back

Saturday night, everything that could go wrong, did for the Florida State baseball team. But the Seminoles turned things around Sunday, rebounding for their second shutout of No. 15 Miami in three games against the Hurricanes in Tallahassee. Click here for notes and quotes. "We come out last night, and Miami just beat our brains out. Today, we just happened to come out, get a couple of breaks early, took advantage of them, and went from there," FSU coach Mike Martin said.

Saturday night, everything that could go wrong, did for the Florida State baseball team. But the Seminoles turned things around Sunday, rebounding for their second shutout of No. 15 Miami in three games against the Hurricanes in Tallahassee.

FSU got more than enough offense and another outstanding pitching performance in the 12-0 victory, which helped ease the sting of Saturday's 14-3 defeat. The win closed out FSU's regular season home schedule – the Seminoles will not play again at Dick Howser Stadium until the postseason.

"Baseball is a game in which you can't get up, and you can't get down," said FSU head coach Mike Martin.

"We had an unbelievable game Friday night (a 1-0 win to open the weekend series). We come out last night, and Miami just beat our brains out. Today, we just happened to come out, get a couple of breaks early, took advantage of them, and went from there. Miami is an outstanding team, an outstanding program, and we're just very fortunate to get it done."

FSU (38-7-1) was also fortunate that Clemson swept ACC leader Georgia Tech over the weekend, dropping the Yellow Jackets to 11-4 in conference play. The sweep moves Tech into a tie for second place in the conference with FSU heading into next weekend's series in Atlanta. North Carolina State (13-5) holds a half-game lead over both clubs for first place, but still must face Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

FSU wasted no time establishing its offense Sunday. After starter Daniel Davidson (7-0) retired the Hurricanes in order in the top of the first inning, the Seminole batters went to work on Miami starter Alex Perez (0-2). Perez, pushed into the lineup thanks to an injury to starter Vince Bongiovanni, was in trouble from the start of the game.

Shortstop Stephen Drew led off the game with a double. Two batters later, Perez hit Tony Richie, then walked Jerrod Brown to load the bases. Blake Balkcom followed with an infield single, which was misplayed by Miami third baseman Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez's errant throw missed first baseman Jim Burt, and three runs scored on the play. Bryan Zech made the FSU lead 4-0 with an RBI double to bring home Balkcom.

FSU tacked on two more runs in the second inning on a two-run home run by Tony Richie – his ninth of the year. Chris Hart put the Seminoles ahead 7-0 in the third, scoring from third base after Zech was caught stealing at second. Tony McQuade added two more runs with a fourth-inning homer. An RBI double by Richie and sacrifice flies by Brown and Balkcom closed out the scoring.

The offensive onslaught was more than enough, thanks to the dominating showing turned in by FSU's pitching staff. Davidson, who gave up 4 runs in 3.2 innings last Sunday in Miami, came out determined to turn things around in his second meeting with the Hurricanes. The senior left-hander, getting the start on FSU's Senior Day, did just that. Davidson allowed just two hits over 5.2 innings, allowing only two Miami baserunners to reach as far as second base.

"In my mind, when I came out, I wasn't going to let these guys do what they did to me last week," said Davidson, who has not lost a decision (13-0) in his FSU career. "That was embarrassing to me. And, the fact that it was Senior Day, and the last regular season home game in front of our fans, I wanted to go out and give them a show – especially being a senior.

After Davidson departed in the sixth inning, relievers Kevin Lynch, Hunter Jones, and closer Daniel Hodges combined to surrender just two hits in 3.2 innings of relief. After the game, Miami head coach Jim Morris was full of praise for the FSU pitching staff.

"We had terrible effort," Morris said. "We pitched terrible, we didn't hit. As far as I'm concerned. It's a credit to Florida State – their pitching. But you can't expect to be shut out twice. That's a very poor effort on our team, but a great effort on their pitchers. We came in knowing they had great pitching. Their entire pitching staff, I think is very good. There's no question about it. With the team ERA that they have (2.53), your entire staff has got to pitch well. They've got an outstanding staff."

NOTES

* Before the game, FSU honored its seniors. Five of the six senior players saw action in the game – only pitcher Matt Lynch, who started Saturday's game, stayed on the bench. In addition to Davidson and Hodges, the seniors were Brown, Hart, and reserve pitcher/outfielder Chris Whidden.

* FSU – which played without freshman third baseman Eddy Martinez-Esteve for all but one at-bat in the series – got more bad news on the injury front when right fielder Blake Balkcom turned his ankle on the first base bag and had to be helped off by trainers. Martin said that Balkcom was day-to-day, and added that he was not certain to be ready to face Georgia Tech. Martinez-Esteve (hamstring) is also day-to-day. His status for the Georgia Tech series is unknown.

* FSU shut out Miami twice on the same weekend for the first time since 1975. FSU had not shut out Miami twice in the same season since 1993.

* Richie led the way for FSU with 3 RBI. The junior catcher was also one of three Seminoles – the others were Drew and McQuade – to score three runs.


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