Second-ranked Florida State (22-5) suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Florida Gulf Coast (11-18) Wednesday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
The Eagles stymied the Seminole bats all evening long, as Florida State was held to just three hits to tie a season low. The loss was just the second of the season at home for FSU and snapped a 13-game home winning streak, while it marked the first loss in five all-time meetings against Florida Gulf Coast.
"You just have to tip your hat to Florida Gulf Coast," said coach Mike Martin. "They did a great job tonight. We did things that we needed to do to get ourselves back in the ballgame, but we just happened to hit some balls at people. It was a good baseball game. I am proud of our club for fighting all night long but obviously disappointed with the outcome."
Florida State received a solid pitching performance from starter Scott Sitz (1-2), who settled down after giving up two first-inning runs. The junior right hander worked a season-high six innings, as the two runs and three hits he allowed against the Eagles came in the first inning. Sitz finished the outing with a career-high nine strikeouts while not issuing a walk for the fourth time in 18 career starts.
After the Eagles strung together consecutive two-out RBI hits from Sean Dwyer and Brandon Bednar in the first, Sitz proceeded to retire the next 16 batters that he faced before leaving the game after striking out the side in the sixth.
"I didn't even realize that," said Martin on Sitz finishing the game retiring 16 straight. "I was sitting there knowing that he was cooking. But I had no idea he had retired 16 in a row. He was spotting his fastball well and we kept trying to get the change-up going, which is going to be a very important pitch for him down the road."
The Seminoles could muster just three hits, with two of those coming with two outs in the sixth and resulting in the only Florida State run. James Ramsey laced a single to right and scored on a double off the fence in right center by Jayce Boyd.
John Holland, who made his second straight start at DH, recorded the first hit of the game in the third reaching on an infield single to second.
Florida Gulf Coast added to its lead in the seventh, pushing across three runs to take a 5-1 advantage. Dwyer drew a walk off Kyle Bird and moved to third on single to right by Bednar. After a strikeout of Mike Reeves, Gage Smith entered the ballgame and gave up an RBI single to Zack Tillery and a single through the right side of the infield by Alex Diaz before giving way to Bryant Holtmann. Bednar would score the second run of the inning on a wild pitch from Holtmann. The third run came on a sac fly off the bat of Brady Anderson.
Justin Gonzalez came within a few feet of tying the ball game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the eighth. With the bases loaded following walks to Sherman Johnson, Devon Travis and Stephen McGee, Gonzalez hammered a 3-1 offering from Jason Forget to the deepest part of Mike Martin Field, but FGCU center fielder Ryan Gebhart made the catch at the wall for the final out of the inning.
"Justin Gonzalez hits that ball to the deepest part of the yard," added Martin. "They had their outfielders deep, and their guy makes the play."
Forget retired the Seminoles in order in the ninth to register his first save of the season.
Harrison Cooney (1-2) earned the win for Florida Gulf Coast in a controlled start, as the sophomore right hander worked four scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out three.
Johnson drew three walks to extend his streak of reaching base to 29 games. Ramsey's single in the sixth pushed his hitting streak to a season-best 14 games.
Hunter Scantling and Brian Busch worked a scoreless inning in relief, pitching the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. After allowing back-to-back hits, Scantling bounced back to strike out the side. Busch faced five batters and allowed one hit in the ninth.
Florida State will hit the road for ACC play this weekend, heading to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech beginning Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Seminoles falter vs. Florida Gulf Coast
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