Top ranked Florida State (37-6, 15-3) dropped its first ACC home contest of the season losing to No. 2 North Carolina (33-9, 14-7) 10-6 on Sunday afternoon. The Tar Heels pounded out 20 hits in game three, the most given up by the Seminoles all season and the most allowed since May 8, 2004 at Virginia. Mark Gildea led the offensive charge for FSU registering his second, three-hit game of the series going 3-for-4 on Sunday with a run scored and a walk.
Brandon Reichert got the Seminoles back within two of the Tar Heels in the sixth with a two-out, two RBI double down the line in right. But it was as close as FSU would get as the Tar Heel bats were too much for Florida State on Sunday. Tim Federowicz, Josh Horton and Kyle Seager each registered three RBI's, while the Tar Heels' Seth Williams led all batters with four hits.
"Today was one of those games that I was very proud of the way we kept fighting," said head coach Mike Martin. "We made some mistakes and were able to overcome them and keep ourselves in the ball game. We have a couple opportunities but it just wasn't meant to be. You really have to credit North Carolina; they did a great job."
North Carolina quickly got out of the gates with three straight base hits off Florida State starter Ryan Strauss (8-1) in the top of the first. With the bases loaded, Josh Horton gave UNC an early 1-0 lead on a soft liner to left fielder scoring Reid Fronk. After Strauss got Chad Flack looking on strikes for his second strikeout of the inning, second baseman Kyle Seager laced a single back up the middle scoring two more for a 3-0 advantage. Horton was tagged out by Jason Stidham at third after running passed the bag to end the threat.
The Seminoles countered with two in the bottom of the first thanks to four straight hits to cut the deficit to 3-2. Tony Thomas, Jr. began the Seminole first with a triple off the top of the fence in right center off North Carolina starter Luke Putkonen (6-1). Mark Hallberg followed a batter later with an RBI single to right to score Thomas. After a Buster Posey infield single, Jack Rye hit an RBI double to right center plating Hallberg from second to trim the Tar Heel lead to one. Putkonen closed the door on Florida State striking out the next three batters to end the inning.
UNC got two more runs in the fourth to push its lead to three. Federowicz got the big hit, a two-out, two RBI single with the bases loaded to move the score to 5-2. That ended the afternoon for Strauss as the junior right hander lasted 3.2 innings giving up career-highs in runs (5) and hits (10) against the Tar Heels. Matt Fairel came on in relief and got Horton to groundout to Reichert at first to close out the inning.
"Ryan pitched well. We had one mistake on a bunt that cost us a big out. And as a result of that, it got Ryan into a high pitch count. That's why we went out and got him early because of the number of pitches that he threw," stated Martin.
The Tar Heels added another run in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Flack and Seager. Caleb Graham started the inning on the hill for the Seminoles and gave up a double down the line in right followed by an RBI double to right center by Seager. It was Seager's third RBI of the game.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Luke Tucker was called on out of the bullpen for his third appearance of the season. He got Williams to line out to Thomas at second for the final out of the inning.
Tucker went back out to pitch the sixth and allowed just one hit while facing four batters.
Florida State cut into the Carolina lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 6-4. Reichert came up with a clutch two-out hit lacing a two-RBI double down the line in right scoring Ohmed Danesh and Gildea. After Danesh reached on a fielder's choice groundout, Gildea singled to center ending the afternoon for Putkonen. Reichert then stepped in against Tar Heel closer Andrew Carignan and ripped a 2-2 offering down the line in right to score two.
Putkonen settled down after a rocky first and pitched 5.2 innings giving up four runs on eight hits. He struck out six and walked two to run his record to 6-1 on the year.
The Seminoles put runners on first and third with two outs against Carignan in the bottom of the seventh, but the ACC leader in saves in 2007 got Danesh swinging on strikes to end the inning.
North Carolina pushed its lead back to four with two runs in the eighth off Bo O'Dell, the Seminoles fourth reliever of the afternoon. Williams and Dustin Ackley registered a single and double, respectively and both came around to score. Federowicz knocked in his third run of the game on a sacrifice fly to right plating Williams. With a drawn in infield, Horton recorded his second RBI of the afternoon with a single up the middle.
FSU scored a pair of unearned runs to get within two of the Tar Heels at 8-6. The Seminoles took advantage of a rocky eighth by Carignan as the UNC pitcher issued three walks, a hit by pitch and had a fielding error committed behind him. Posey hit a short hopper to Horton who misplayed the ball scoring Reichert. After a walk to Rye, Stidham collected an RBI drawing a bases loaded walk to score Hallberg. The Tar Heels went to the bullpen and Federowicz came on to get Tommy Oravetz to line out keeping UNC's lead at two.
The Tar Heels would add two more in the ninth off Danny Rosen, who was making his third appearance of the weekend. RBI singles by Williams and Horton gave UNC a 10-6 lead.
Federowicz went back out to pitch the ninth and earned his second save of the season. The Seminoles made some noise putting runners on first and second with two outs on a Gildea single and a Thomas walk, but Federowicz got a called third strike on Hallberg to close out a three hour and 47 minute contest, the longest game of the season.
Florida State will head back on the road for a three-game ACC series against Miami down in Coral Gables next weekend. First pitch for games one and two are slated for 7:00 pm, while the game time for the series finale on Sunday was pushed back to a 12 noon start due to travel restrictions. Fans can also follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM. Saturday and Sunday's contest will be televised live on Sun Sports.
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