Behind a solid outing by Bo O'Dell and home runs by Mark Hallberg and Dennis Guinn, the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles (32-4) avenged an early season loss to Jacksonville (21-18) defeating the Dolphins 7-2 Tuesday evening at Dick Howser Stadium. The first four batters in the Seminole line-up combined for nine hits and six runs as FSU extended its home winning streak to 27 games.
"It was a good win for us," said head coach Mike Martin. "I thought Bo O'Dell pitched very well. We were able to get three other guys some work tonight and I thought all of them threw well too. It was a game that we really needed to win. We played well last weekend at NC State. We knew we had a conference series coming up this weekend, so we certainly wanted to keep everything going. We played solid baseball and got the job done tonight."
Guinn and Hallberg each recorded two-run home runs in the bottom of the third to push the Seminoles' win streak to 25 straight games over the Dolphins on Mike Martin Field.
"We got two big home runs, one out of Hallberg and the other out of Guinn," stated Martin. "It was certainly unexpected from Hallberg. We started the runner at first. It was a hit and run and Mark really got all of it."
Tony Thomas, Jr. raised his season batting average to .493 as the junior second baseman went 4-for-5 with a double, three singles and a stolen base. Buster Posey, Jack Rye and Jason Stidham each registered two hits a piece in the win.
Jacksonville quickly got on the board in the top of the first on an RBI single by Pete Clifford. Kevin Ferreira drew a lead off walk off Seminole starter Bo O'Dell (3-0). He advanced to second on a wild pitch and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chuck Opachich. Clifford gave the Dolphins an early 1-0 lead with his RBI single to right field.
In the third, the Seminoles grabbed the lead on a pair of two-run homers by Hallberg and Guinn to take a 4-1 lead. Thomas led off the inning with his second hit in as many at-bats, singling to left off JU reliever D. J. Ackley (0-2), who entered the game at the top of the inning. Hallberg then took a 3-1 offering off the scoreboard in left for his second home run of the season. A single by Jack Rye ended the evening for Ackley, who faced just four batters.
Tim Brown came out of the pen and gave up the second home run of the inning, a two-run shot to Guinn. Guinn blasted his fourth round tripper of the season over the wall in left to give the Seminoles a three run lead. It was the junior left fielders second straight game in which he hit a home run as he hit another two-run shot in Sunday's 6-5 win over NC State.
Florida State added to its lead in the fifth to take a 5-1 advantage. The Seminoles loaded the bases with one out on a Posey single up the middle, and back-to-back walks to Rye and Guinn off JU's fourth pitcher of the evening in left hander Garrett Dunlap. After Jacksonville's fifth pitching change of the evening brought Carson Andrew to the mound, Posey would cross the plate thanks to a two-out passed ball by Andrew.
O'Dell settled down after giving up a run in the first as he pitched a career-high six innings on 90 pitches. The sophomore right hander gave up just one run on five hits, while striking out three. After the one-run first, he allowed just one runner to reach second and registered all three strike outs in the final two innings. The Kissimmee, Fla., native has now struck out at least two or more batters in seven of his eight appearances this season.
"I felt really good out there," said O'Dell. "The result came out pretty much how I wanted it tonight. I thought I threw the ball pretty well."
The Seminoles increased their lead to 7-1 on Guinn's third RBI of the game and a wild pitch by Dolphin pitcher Matt Davis. The inning started with a double to left center by Posey followed by a single to right by Rye. Jacksonville would make its seventh pitching change of the evening in the seventh as Davis replaced David Yates, who was ineffective as he faced just two batters. Guinn would drive in Posey on a sacrifice fly to center, while Rye came around to on a wild pitch by Davis.
Travis Burge, Matt Fairel and Caleb Graham each pitched an inning in relief. Burge threw a scoreless seventh as he faced just three batters posting a strike out and a walk.
Fairel pitched the eighth and gave up an unearned run to make the score 7-2. Opachich recorded a one-out double down the line in left and a walk to Clifford, followed by an RBI groundout to McCallister scoring Opachich from third.
Graham closed the door on the Dolphins in the ninth as he did not allow a run striking out two of the four batters that he faced.
Florida State will remain at home for a three-game set this weekend against Virginia Tech. First pitch for game one is slated for 7:00 pm on Friday, April 13 and will be televised live on Sun Sports. Saturday's contest will start at 4:30 pm, while Sunday's contest is set for a 1:00 pm. 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.
FSU avenges earlier loss to Jacksonville
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