Top-ranked Florida State (40-9) closed out its fifth game in five days with a tough 6-5 loss to Stetson (31-18) on Wednesday afternoon inside Conrad Park on Melching Field.
The Seminoles made a season-high six errors in the ballgame, including four in the bottom of the eighth, which led to the eventual game-winning run for the Hatters. The loss marked the first for Florida State in one-run ballgames this year, as the Seminoles dropped to 11-1.
"It was just a game that we made too many mistakes," said coach Mike Martin. "In all honesty, we were outplayed today. It was one of those games that you tip your hat to Stetson. When you make six errors, you deserve to lose."
Florida State trailed the entire way, getting within one of the lead on three separate occasions. The Seminoles would not go quietly after trailing 5-2 after the seventh. FSU plated two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth with the tying run on at first when Stetson's Robbie Powell recorded the final out of the game to register his 15th save of the season.
The Seminoles opened the eighth inning with three consecutive singles including, a pair of infield base hits by James Ramsey and Jayce Boyd. The latter scored Devon Travis, who led off the inning with base hit up the middle. After a throwing error by Hatters catcher Sam Kimmel on an attempted pick-off play at first moved the runners up 90 feet, Stephen McGee brought home Ramsey on a sac fly to right to cut the deficit to 5-4. A Stetson error on a groundball off the bat of Stephen Spradling kept the inning alive for FSU, but Joe Dye would get Justin Gonzalez to fly out to right for the second out.
The final out of the eighth inning would turn into a battle between pinch hitter Seth Miller and Tucker Donahue, with Donahue finally recording the third out on the 14th pitch of the at-bat. Miller sent a deep flyball that was caught on the warning track in left field to retire the side.
Stetson would get a much needed insurance run in the bottom of the inning by taking advantage of four Seminole errors, including three on one play. With Robert Benincasa on the hill, Mark Jones reached on a one-out fielding error at short. The junior right hander looked as though he would get out of the inning when Mitchell Brennan hit a groundball right back to the mound. Benincasa turned and fired to Justin Gonzalez covering the bag at second, but the throw pulled the Seminole shortstop off the bag. The relay throw shorthopped Boyd at first, and with no one covering the plate, Jones scored to give the Hatters a 6-4 lead.
Florida State would make it exciting in the ninth, as Jose Brizuela led off the inning ripping a double down the line in right off Powell. After a groundout to the first by Sherman Johnson moved Brizuela to third, Powell put the tying runner aboard with a walk to Travis. Ramsey would bring the Seminoles within one on a sac fly to deep center. Powell then settled down to get Boyd looking at a called third strike to end the game.
Stetson's Josh Powers (3-1), who got the start, earned the win in a controlled start, as the freshman right hander went two innings and allowed just one hit facing seven batters.
FSU starter Peter Miller suffered the loss and fell to 5-2 on the year. Miller would work just two innings in his 10th start of the season. The sophomore right hander would give up two runs on four hits, as he walked two and did not record a strikeout.
The Seminoles finished the game outhitting the Hatters 10-9, as Travis, Boyd and Brizuela all registered two hits apiece. Boyd led all Seminoles, as he drove in two of the five runs on Wednesday.
"Stetson deserves the credit today," added Martin. "They are the ones that made us make errors. They put pressure on us. They did a good job. Pete Dunn has done a tremendous job, this is a class program, and they deserved the win."
Stetson struck first, plating two runs in the bottom of the second to take an early 2-0 advantage. The first two Hatters to the plate reached off Miller on back-to-back singles by James Rasmussen and Spence Theisen. Theisen chopped an infield single over the pitcher's mound, and Rasmussen never let off the gas racing around the bag to third. Gonzalez, who gloved the infield single, threw errantly over to Johnson and allowed Rasmussen to score for the first run of the game. Robert Bruce added to the Stetson lead with an RBI single to left center. The Hatters could have added more, loading the bases with two outs, but a nice defensive play by Johnson at third on a hard-hit ball off the bat of Jones ended the inning.
The Hatters added to their lead in the third on a two-out RBI single by Garrett Russini. Brennan opened the inning with a double to the gap in left center off Brian Busch and scored three batters later on Russini's base hit to right center.
Similar to Tuesday night, Florida State finally cracked the scoreboard in the sixth by plating two runs to cut the Stetson lead to 3-2. Johnson and Travis delivered back-to-back hits on a double and single, respectively, to put runners at the corners with one out. A wild pitch by Austin Perez with Ramsey at the plate scored Johnson for the first Seminole run of the game. After a walk to Ramsey, Travis and Ramsey moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch by Jake Boyd. Jayce Boyd brought home Travis for the second run of the inning on an RBI groundout to second.
The Hatters loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, drawing three walks in the inning, two off Busch and an intentional walk off Mack Waugh. Waugh would leave them loaded, getting Jones to fly out to center to keep the deficit at 3-2.
Busch worked a season-high 3 1/3 innings and allowed a run on three hits, as he walked two and struck out one. After giving up a run in the third, Busch retired seven straight batters before giving up consecutive walks in the sixth.
The Seminoles put together a rally in the seventh on consecutive two-out hits by Josh Delph and Brizuela. After a Stetson pitching change brought on Cameron Griffin, the Hatters southpaw needed just one pitch to get out of the inning by getting Johnson to ground out to second for the third out of the inning.
Stetson pushed its lead back to three at 5-2, plating a pair of runs of Kyle Bird in the seventh. Brennan led off the inning with a double over the head of Brizuela in left. Rasmussen reached on a hit-by-pitch, while both runners advanced when Bird was charged with a balk. Theisen drove in Brennan on a sac fly, but not before a nice diving catch by Ramsey to record the out. The senior captain almost completed the double play, as Brennan slid just in front of the tag by McGee at the plate. The second run came across on a two-base fielding error by Boyd to give the Hatters a three-run advantage.
Florida State will stay on the road and return to ACC play, as the Seminoles travel to face Clemson for a key Atlantic Division matchup beginning Saturday.
FSU late rally comes up short at Stetson
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