The hot hitting continued for No. 10 Florida State (5-0) as the Seminoles registered 14 hits en route to a 12-6 win over UNC Asheville (0-2) Saturday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. Catcher Buster Posey drove in three runs for the second straight game and led the offensive charge as one of three Seminole batters to post three hits on the afternoon. Second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. and Brandon Reichert also collected three hits in the win.
"With 14 hits, you certainly expect to win," said head coach Mike Martin. "You just don't expect to make four errors and win by six runs. It was a game that we played like we needed to after the errors occurred. It was a very good win for us today."
Starting pitcher Michael Hyde earned his second win in as many tries in 2007 throwing five innings allowing five runs, three earned, on five hits. The right handed senior gave up two walks while striking out two.
UNC Asheville started the game with an early 3-0 lead as the first four batters got on base for the Bulldogs. UNCA center fielder Kevin Mattison reached base on a fielding error and would come around to score the first run of the ball game on an RBI single by first baseman Elliott Arrington. It was the first run allowed by Hyde in 18.2 innings pitched, a streak dating back to last season. The top of the first also witnessed a pair of FSU errors. It was the first two blunders committed by the Seminoles this season, as Florida State started the season with a streak of 36 consecutive innings without committing an error, a span including 147 chances.
The Bulldog lead was short lived as Florida State answered with a three spot in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Mark Hallberg led off with a walk and moved to second as Thomas continued his torrid hitting with a single to right field. Posey knocked in Hallberg from second with a single to left field for the Seminoles first run of the game. Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Dennis Guinn and Jason Stidham tied the game at three.
"Both Mark (Hallberg) and Tony (Thomas) are doing a great job of working the count and making the pitchers work," said Posey. "They are swinging at good pitches and putting pressure on the opposing defense."
Hyde returned to the mound in the top of the second and settled in shutting down the Bulldogs for the next three innings. The Tallahassee, Fla., native did not allow a base hit until Arrington led off the top of the fifth with a single up the middle.
Florida State took the lead in the bottom of the second with yet another three-run inning. Center fielder D'Vontrey Richardson led off with single and moved to second as Reichert was hit by a pitch. Hallberg loaded the bases as he laid a sacrifice bunt down the first base line. Bulldog pitcher Graham Baughn attempted to tag Hallberg on the play but the ball flew out of his glove allowing Hallberg to reach first safely. With one out, Richardson scored on a wild pitch to give the Seminoles a 4-3 advantage. Designated hitter Jack Rye added to the Seminole lead as he hit a shot to left center plating a pair as Reichert and Hallberg would score on the play.
UNC Asheville cut the lead to 6-5 in the top of the fifth. Arrington led off the inning with a single and would later score on a wild pitch. Three batters later right fielder David Williams connected on a two-out double to center, scoring Kyle Smith who got his first hit of the game with a double down the line in left.
FSU would strike again in the bottom half of the fifth. Rye and Guinn started the inning with a walk and single, respectively. Stidham just missed his first collegiate home run as he knocked a high towering RBI double off the top of the fence in right center, scoring Rye from second. Right fielder Ruairi O'Connor recorded an RBI on a fielder's choice and Reichert drove in his first run of the game with an RBI infield single. Posey finished the scoring for the Seminoles in the fifth as he smashed a line drive single to left scoring O'Connor to make the score 10-5.
Ryan Strauss made his first relief appearance of the season taking over for Hyde in the top of sixth. Strauss worked two solid innings allowing just two hits and one unearned run, while striking out one.
Florida State would pad its lead in the seventh with two more runs to give the Garnet and Gold a 12-6 advantage. Richardson led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on Reichert's third hit of the ballgame.
"Yesterday they (UNC Asheville) stayed away, away, away and I tried to stay with that approach," said Reichert. "If they were going to throw me away, I knew I had to stay on the ball and hit it the other way. Luckily they threw me away, away, away again today."
With the second baseman playing deep, Thomas executed a beautiful bunt single driving in Richardson from third. Thomas would safely swipe second and come around to score as Posey knocked in his third run of the game with a single to right. Through his first five games, Thomas is hitting .650 (13-for-20) with 12 runs, four walks and three RBIs.
Pitchers Travis Burge and Caleb Graham would close the door on the Bulldogs in the eighth and ninth as the two combined for two innings of no hit relief.
The Seminoles have now posted multiple runs in 15 innings this season and have scored at least one run in 21 of the 40 innings they have played this year. Florida State has struck early in the first five games of the season outscoring its opponents 25-5 through the first three innings.
The two teams will return to Mike Martin Field for game three of the series on Sunday at 1:00 pm. FSU is expected to send sophomore Bo O'Dell to the mound for his first start in a Seminole uniform. Fans can follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM.
Seminoles defeat UNC-Asheville 12-6
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