Florida State registered double-digit hits for the tenth straight ball game and got a terrific performance by starting pitcher Michael Hyde as the Seminoles stayed unbeaten on the season with a 10-2 victory over Appalachian State (4-3) on Saturday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles pushed their record to 12-0 for just the fourth time in the program's 60-year history, making it FSU's best start since 1985.
"I was very pleased with the way Michael Hyde pitched and the way we played the game," said head coach Mike Martin. "We have a lot of respect for that ball club (Appalachian State). It was a club we knew we had to play well to beat. We got a huge break in the first inning when we didn't exactly get a great swing on a 3-1 pitch, but it fell in and we ended up scoring four runs out of it. That has a way of putting the other club behind the eight ball. They were fighting all afternoon to get back in the game and we just kept on them by scoring more runs."
Hyde (4-0) pitched a season-high 6.2 innings in game-two of the series as he set down 16 straight Mountaineers at one stretch to earn his fourth victory in as many starts this year. The senior right hander had good command all throughout the game as he struck out seven ASU batters, while not issuing a free pass.
"I felt really good out there today," said Hyde. "But its easy to go out there and throw and let your defense work with as good as our defense is. There were some balls that were hit well. Normally those balls won't be caught, but with our defense and the speed we have in the outfield, it made me look good today."
Caleb Graham threw 1.1 innings of solid relief as he entered the game in the top of the seventh with two on and two outs. He got Nick DeRose to groundout to end the inning.
"Our defense has been solid all year," said Graham. "As a pitcher, our main goal is to go out there and let them work by making good pitches that will get the batters out. Our defense did a great job today."
Florida State once again scored early and received some clutch hitting throughout the game as seven of the 10 runs were scored in the first three innings, while nine of the 10 runs crossed the plate with two outs. The Seminoles have now outscored their opponents 68-9 through the first three innings and have registered 64 runs on two-outs in 2007.
The Seminoles put up a four spot in the bottom of the first as D'Vontrey Richardson hit a two-out, bases loaded double to right field that dropped between three Appalachian State fielders. Mountaineer second baseman Wes Hobson fired the ball to home plate in attempt to throw out Jack Rye but the ball sailed over catcher Jerod Faggart and into the Appalachian State dugout. The runners at second and third were both awarded home as a result of the ball going into the dugout giving Florida State an early 4-0 advantage.
Florida State would add to its lead in the bottom of the third as Buster Posey started the inning with a double to right center to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Following a pair of outs and a Jason Stidham walk, designated hitter Tommy Oravetz laced a double to left field scoring Posey and Stidham. He would later score on an RBI single by first baseman Brandon Reichert. The base hit by Reichert would end the day for Mountaineer starting pitcher Jason Rook (1-2), as the right hander lasted 2.2 innings allowing seven runs, five earned, on six hits.
After giving up single to ASU designated hitter Andrew Franco to lead off the top of the second, Hyde proceeded to strike out the side in the second and then set down the next 16 Mountaineer hitters. The Tallahassee, Fla., native would yield just four hits in the ball game and has not given up more than five hits in each of his four starts this season. Hyde is holding the opposition to a .152 batting average, while accumulating a team-high 21 strikeouts.
"Michael was really cooking today," stated Coach Martin. "He was hitting with all three pitches. He was keeping hitters off balanced. It was pitching at its best."
Florida State would plate a run in the fourth thanks to an RBI single by Stidham. With two outs in the inning, Rye walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Stidham then singled through the left side as Rye slid just in front of the tag by the Mountaineer catcher. Stidham has now hit in all 12 games for the Seminoles this season.
Appalachian State would crack the scoreboard in the top of the seventh as left fielder David Rubinstein doubled to right center. He would come around to score on an RBI single to left by Faggart. The throw by Guinn was cut off by Stidham and the relay throw was not in time to get the sliding Rubinstein at the plate. Graham would replace Hyde in the top of the seventh and retire the side as he got DeRose to groundout on a bunt back to the pitcher's mound.
The Seminoles would push another two runs across the board in the eighth to reach double-digit runs for the ninth time in 12 games this season. Tony Thomas, Jr., also extended his hitting streak to 12 games as he sent a base hit to right field. The hit was also the tenth of the ball game giving the Garnet and Gold 10 consecutive games of double-digit hits, the longest active streak for Florida State dating back to 1996.
The Mountaineers would grab one more run in the top of the ninth off Seminole reliever Jimmy Marshall, but that was all Marshall would allow as he got Faggart to strike out looking to end the game.
"The biggest confidence booster right now for this team is our 12-0 record," said Hyde. "That is the main thing. A win is a win and any way you can get it will always build confidence."
The Seminoles and Mountaineers return to the diamond for the series finale on Sunday at 1:00 pm at Mike Martin Field. FSU is expected to send junior right hander Ryan Strauss (2-0) to the mound for his second straight start and third of the season. 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.
Hyde shuts down App. St. as FSU wins 10-2
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