SMALL BALL, LONG BALL
With his team down just 1-0, FSU starter Bryan Henry appeared to have escaped a jam when Justin Tordi hit a two-out flare over the mound with two runners on in the fourth. As it turned out, the ball dropped into no-man's land between Henry and shortstop Ryne Jernigan, allowing Tordi to beat it out and drive in the go-ahead run.
"They got some breaks early on," Henry said. "They definitely benefited hitting a few balls just out of the reach of some of our guys."
Gavin Dickey, a Tallahassee native who has dueled Henry on the little league and prep levels, followed with the game's telling hit. After working the count full, Dickey dumped a single to left to drive in two more.
"A very important swing of the bat for us," UF coach Pat McMahon said. "We're opportunistic with two outs and that has got to continue."
"I remember that one well because we put up the screen (over the short porch in right) after that one," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "They were flying out that day."
On Friday, catcher Brian Jeroloman triggered the beginning of the end for Henry (9-3) with an opposite field blast over the right field wall. After Brandon McArthur hooked a shot to left, right fielder Brian LeClerc had a tough act to follow.
"It's always in the back of your mind when the two guys in front of you have gone deep," said LeClerc, who fell into a quick 0-2 hole with massive cuts before poking the next pitch the other way to right.
"I was proud that I was able to make an adjustment after being selfish with my first two swings. I just ran into it."
Henry, meanwhile, was left to finish the inning as Martin chose not to get his bullpen into action. Neither commented on that decision, though Henry did recall the exact thought that crossed his mind on the mound.
"Talk about being on an island," he said. "You're out there by yourself and there's nothing you can do."
SECOND TIME AROUND
UF fared much better against Henry the second time around. Losers to the sophomore 4-2 back in May, the Gators appeared more comfortable at the plate Friday night.
"(Facing him before) helped a little bit because we knew the patterns that he comes with," McArthur said. "He's also around the plate, so that helps. Every pitch was a strike or almost a strike."
Henry downplayed the idea that repetition bred recognition.
"The scouting report on me is that I am going to throw strike and let me defense work," he said. "That's the way I pitch and that's how I'll pitch if I get to go again this year."
"You can't say enough about the way they played tonight. They put some good swings on good pitches."
Boss - from nearby Dunnellon – baffled the Seminoles the entire night, surrendering only Danny Wardell's solo homer in the fifth. In his final start at McKethan Stadium, the senior scatted six other hits in the 122-pitch, complete game outing.
"You have to look at that game as the Tommy Boss show," Martin said. "He did a beautiful job of pitching. He totally dominated us."
The crowd of 5,250 – the largest of the season – showed its appreciation early and often.
"It's the loudest I've ever heard it out there," Boss said. "They helped me through it."