FSU fall short in opener, face elimination

Florida State did not face Virginia in the regular season. And after the Cavaliers' performance Wednesday in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, the Seminoles might want to avoid them in future years as well.

Virginia hurler and ACC Player of the Year Sean Doolittle shut down FSU (39-18), and the No. 6 Cavaliers (45-12) won the opening round game at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville, 6-2. Doolittle (11-1), a sophomore, scattered four hits and struck out nine while allowing one run over six innings.

"Well from our standpoint it was just a situation where Sean Doolittle was extremely impressive," FSU Head Coach Mike Martin said. "He just did a great job spotting his pitches and he kept us off balance. You have to credit the great job he did."

Two other Virginia pitchers combined with Doolittle to strike out 15 Seminoles, handing FSU its first opening round defeat since 1994. A lack of timely hitting with runners on base hurt Florida State as they lost for the 14th time in its last 21 games. The 'Noles left seven runners on base.

FSU pitcher Bryan Henry (9-3) gave up six runs, five earned, in seven innings, but uncharacteristically did not record a strikeout. He fanned 95, second on the team, in the regular season.

Despite being outhit, Virginia stole five bases and did not commit an error.

"We knew going in they were a team that scrapped for all their runs just like we do," Henry said. "We knew it was going to be a dogfight and that's exactly what it was. They came out on top this time."

FSU's comeback bid fell short in the eighth. After Buster Posey's RBI single made it 4-2, Dennis Guinn doubled to put runners on second and third. The Cavaliers then brought in closer Casey Lambert, who struck out Ryne Malone to end the threat. Virginia added two runs in the bottom half of the inning to give them a four-run cushion.

UVA took a 2-0 lead on sacrifice flies in the first and third innings. Left fielder Brandon Guyer extended the lead with a solo home run in the fourth inning, just the fourth homer Henry allowed all year. They added another run off a Seminole error before FSU got on the board with Jack Rye's team-leading 12th home run to cut the lead to 4-1.

"Virginia does so much right," said Martin. "They are the epitome of a team that does not beat themselves. They're a well coached baseball team. I am very impressed with their staff."

Florida State will face elimination when they face North Carolina at 10 A.M Thursday. The Seminoles dropped two of three to the Tar Heels this season.

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