Junior Ryan Strauss fired seven strong innings to lead top ranked Florida State (35-4, 13-2) to an 8-5 victory over Virginia Tech (17-20, 4-14) Sunday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles pounded out 16 hits including 10 from the bottom four of the order to complete the three-game sweep of the Hokies. The win kept FSU perfect at home with a 30-0 mark in 2007, the fourth longest home winning streak in school history.
Mark Gildea and Brandon Reichert each registered three hits a piece as the two combined for three RBI's on Sunday afternoon. Gildea gave the Seminoles some breathing room in the eighth with an RBI bases loaded single to third, while Reichert capped off the inning with an RBI groundout to short.
"I was able to work deep into the count, 3-2, and was looking for a pitch that I could pull," said Gildea. "I put a good swing on a 3-2 slider and put it into play. This was a good win to get. Virginia Tech is a good team. We need to build up as much momentum as we can especially with Dennis Guinn leaving in the eighth with an injury and with some big games against Florida and North Carolina coming up next week."
Four Seminoles recorded two hits a piece including Mark Hallberg who posted a single and a double in game three to gather five hits in the series. Buster Posey registered two hits along with Jason Stidham and Danesh.
"We played a little different today," said head coach Mike Martin. "We didn't play quite as sound defensively as I would like to see us play, but we battled. We just did a very good job of preserving. We got Brian Chambers out there, who did a great job of getting us out of that jam in the eighth inning. I was very pleased with our approach to hitting today. We had some good at-bats; we didn't go up there and throw them away."
The three-game sweep also marked the first time Florida State swept its first three home ACC series since 2001.
FSU squandered a golden opportunity in the bottom of the second as they loaded the bases with one out and came away with nothing. Stidham started the inning with single to center, but was forced out at second on a fielder's choice by Danesh. Back-to-back singles by Gildea and Reichert loaded the bases for the Seminoles with one out. Virginia Tech starter Adam Redd (2-3) was able to keep FSU off the scoreboard as he got Thomas to hit a groundball force out at home and picked off Reichert at second base to close out the inning.
Virginia Tech was first to strike in game three as Redd helped his own cause driving in Warren Schaeffer on an RBI groundout to second. With one out, the Hokies registered two straight hits including a double down the right field line by Schaeffer, his first of three in today's game, and a bloop single to left by Sean O'Brien. Schaeffer would give Virginia Tech a 1-0 lead scoring on Redd's groundout to second.
The Seminoles countered with two runs in their half of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Mark Hallberg led off the inning drilling a double off the wall in right center for his seventh two bagger of the season. Next batter Buster Posey laid down an excellent bunt single down the third baseline. The throw by Hokie third baseman Bryan Thomas sailed over O'Brien at first advancing Posey to second and scoring Hallberg to tie the game at one. A wild pitch moved Posey to third and following a walk to Jack Rye, Dennis Guinn gave the Seminoles a 2-1 lead on an infield single to third.
Florida State added to its lead in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Gildea. Stidham posted his second hit of the game lacing a single through the right side of the infield. The freshman third baseman advanced to second on Ohmed Danesh's groundout to first and scored a batter later on Gildea's single to center.
The Seminoles scored three more in the bottom of the sixth taking advantage of a pair of Hokie errors. Hallberg led off the inning with a walk, Posey reached base on a fielding error and Jack Rye hit a bloop single to left to load the bases for Guinn. Guinn was hit by a pitch for his second RBI of the game and a 4-1 FSU lead. A throwing error by Hokie starting pitcher Redd on an attempted pick off at second went into right center scoring Posey from third. Danesh capped off the three-run sixth with a double to right plating Rye for a 6-1 Seminole advantage.
Strauss put together a solid performance after last weekend's shaky outing against NC State. The junior right hander went seven innings for the third time in league play to stay perfect on the season at 8-0. Strauss allowed one run on four hits while striking out four. The Tampa, Fla. native seemed to find a groove over the last four innings facing just two batters over the minimum.
"It was nice to get out there and show them (the coaching staff) that I can still pitch," said Strauss. "I wasn't within myself at NC State. Coach Shouppe and I got together after that start and made sure that today I was going to be myself. The big thing we worked on from last week was getting my head straight to the plate. I was pulling it off up at NC State. The defense was awesome today. It was nice to have them behind me and have them play as well as they did."
The Hokies got back into the game with a three-run eighth to cut the FSU lead to 6-4. Travis Burge came out of the Seminole bullpen and lasted just 0.1 of an inning as he gave up three runs on two hits and a walk. Schaeffer led off the inning with his second double of the game. The Hokie shortstop hit a one bouncer over the wall in left for a ground rule double. Guinn was shaken up on the play as he landed hard on his right knee after making a diving attempt on the play. Guinn would leave the game, walking to the Seminole dugout on his own power.
After O'Brien walked, Bryan Thomas doubled to left scoring Schaeffer and ending the day for Burge. Brian Chambers came on and faced three batters to get out of the inning with the Seminole leading by two. Luke Padgett drove in the third Hokie run on groundout to short, while right fielder Jose Cueto's RBI single up the middle made the score 6-4.
Florida State would add those two runs in the eighth thanks to RBI's by Gildea and Danesh to increase the lead to 8-4.
Matt Fairel pitched the ninth and allowed one run, unearned, on two hits. Schaeffer made the score 8-5 as he collected his fourth hit of the game on an RBI double to right center, scoring pinch hitter Anthony Sosnoskie.
Guinn suffered a right knee sprain and will get a MRI done this week. Results of those tests will revealed at a later time.
Florida State will return to the diamond on Wednesday, April 18 as the Seminoles will face Florida for the third and final time at Mike Martin Field. First pitch is slated for 6:00 pm and right hander Bo O'Dell will take the mound against the Gators, making his fifth start 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.
FSU sweeps VT with 8-5 victory
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