FSU rallies past UM thanks to 4-run ninth

Tony Thomas, Jr. and Mark Hallberg homer in the ninth to cap come-from-behind win

Top ranked Florida State (38-6, 16-3) entered tonight's contest without a come-from-behind victory in 2007 when trailing after eight innings. After Friday night, they now have one. The Seminoles scored four runs in the top of the ninth for a 7-6 victory over the Miami Hurricanes (26-18, 11-11) in game one of a three game set at Mark Light Field. Tony Thomas Jr. and Mark Hallberg hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth to cap a three-run Seminole deficit. Bryan Henry threw eight innings to earn his 11th victory of the season and Danny Rosen shut the door on the Hurricanes in their final at-bat for his eighth save.

The Seminoles were playing catch-up all evening long down by as many as four runs on Friday night. But the number one team in the nation kept chipping away at the Hurricane lead before finally taking its first lead of the game with one swing of the bat. Hallberg got his first hit of the contest smashing a 2-1 fastball from Dennis Raben (1-2) over the wall in right center which proved to be the game-winner. The hit also extended the junior shortstop's hitting streak to a career-best 10 straight games.

Center fielder Mark Gildea lead off the top of the ninth drawing a walk off Miami reliever Danny Gil. The `Canes went to the bullpen and brought on the lefty Raben, but the Seminoles wouldn't go quietly. Pinch hitter D'Vontrey Richardson hit a double to right which fell just inside the right field foul line. After a passed ball scored Gildea and moved Richardson to third, Thomas got a hold of a Raben pitch and crushed it over the wall in left to tie the game at six. Four pitches later, FSU would grab its first lead of the game thanks to Hallberg's solo shot to right center.

Four Seminoles had two hits on Friday night including Ruairi O'Connor, who got the start in left field, and designated hitter Travis Anderson. Anderson registered a pair of firsts in game one hitting a triple in the fourth and a solo home run in the sixth. FSU's first three-runs all came on two outs.

Henry went eight innings for the second straight outing and remained perfect on the season running his record to 11-0 in 13 starts. The senior right hander gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits. He issued three home runs, the most since giving up four round trippers to Florida in the 2005 NCAA Super Regional in Gainesville. Henry struck out seven and walked just one has he as now posted at least seven or more strikeouts in nine of this 13 starts this year. The win for Henry was his 29th career victory moving him into a tie for ninth all-time at FSU with Randy Choate (1995-97).

Seven of Florida State's 12 hits went for extra bases as they hit three home runs in a game for the fourth time this season. With tonight's victory, the Seminoles matched last year's ACC win total with victory number 16.

Miami used a pair of back-to-back singles in the first to grab a 1-0 lead. The Hurricanes put runners on first and second to start the game on singles by Blake Tekotte and Roger Tomas. After a fly out by Yonder Alonso advanced Tekotte to third, the sophomore center fielder would score on a groundout to first by Raben to give the Hurricanes a one-run lead.

The Hurricanes pushed their lead to 2-0 on catcher Richard O'Brien's first home run of the season. O'Brien took advantage of the wind blowing out to left by hitting a line drive over the wall. It was the third home run given up by Henry and the first since the second inning against Duke.

Alonso gave Miami a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third as he blasted a two-run shot to center field. With one out, Tomas registered his second hit in as many at-bats with an infield single to second. Alonso, the Hurricanes' RBI leader in 2007, then added to his season total connecting on a 2-2 offering by Henry for his 13th home run of the season.

Florida State finally got to Miami starter Scott Maine in the top of the fourth with two runs on two outs. After a pair of groundouts to third to start the inning, Travis Anderson hit his first triple of the season to deep right center after Tekotte tripped running back to field the fly ball. Jason Stidham drove in the Seminoles first run of the game on an RBI double to right center. Stidham ripped a line drive to the gap in right center falling in just under the diving glove of Tekotte. Gildea then ripped an RBI single passed the bag at third to make the score 4-2.

Miami pushed its lead back to four thanks again to the Hurricane first baseman. Alonso hit his second, two-run shot of the evening to make the score 6-2. Henry got Alonso to pop up in foul territory, but a gusty wind caused havoc on catcher Buster Posey's attempt to catch the fly ball. Posey was credited with an error on the play, his third of the season and first since February 11 against UNC Asheville. The drop would come back to haunt the Seminoles as Alonso hit the very next pitch off the top of the scoreboard in left. Tomas scored on the play after collecting his third hit of the night.

With one swing of the bat, Anderson got the Seminoles within three on his first home run of the season. The senior designated hitter got his first round tripper of the season blasting a two-out solo shot to left for a 6-3 Miami advantage.

Thanks to FSU's four-run ninth, Rosen came in to pitch the bottom half of the inning to earn his eighth save in nine opportunities. After giving up a single to Gus Menendez, the junior right hander got the next three outs to finish off the Hurricanes and complete the Seminoles first come-from-behind victory of year.

Florida State will return to the diamond on Saturday for game two of the series against the Hurricanes at Mark Light Field. First pitch is slated for 7:00 pm and right hander Ryan Strauss is expected to make his 12th start of the season. Right hander Enrique Garcia will take the mound for Miami. The game will be aired live on Sun Sports with Frank Forde and Keith Jones telecasting the game from Coral Gables. 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.


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