Second ranked Florida State (43-8, 21-5) had never lost a game this year when leading any time after the third inning; that was until Saturday afternoon. No. 16 Clemson (33-18, 16-10) scored three runs in the top of the ninth to take game two of the series 7-6 at Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Mark Gildea posted his fifth three-hit ball game of the year going 3-for-4, while Ohmed Danesh hit a two-run homer in the third to pace the Seminole offense in the loss.
Walks came back to haunt Florida State as six Seminole pitchers combined to issue nine free passes. Of those nine walks, four came around to score. Luke Tucker (0-1) entered the top of the ninth looking for his second save in as many tries with the Seminoles leading 6-4. After getting Addison Johnson to groundout to second base to start the inning, Tucker gave up a single to Marquez Smith squeezed in between walks by Wilson Boyd and Andy D'Alessio. With the bases loaded, Taylor Harbin doubled down the left line scoring Boyd and Smith to tie things up at six.
Head coach Mike Martin went to the bullpen and brought on Michael Hyde. The Seminoles intentionally walked designated hitter Ben Paulsen to set up a force out at any base and hopefully an inning ending double play. Hyde looked like he did just that as he got catcher Doug Hogan to ground to third. Jason Stidham threw on to Tony Thomas, Jr. at second for out number two, but Hogan just beat out the relay throw at first to score D'Alessio giving the Tigers the one-run advantage.
Tiger reliever Alan Farina (4-2) picked up the victory working 4.1 innings of shut out baseball. He kept the Seminole bats at bay for pretty much the entire game as he gave up two of his four hits in the ninth. The junior right hander walked none and struck out six.
Florida State tried to work its two-out magic in the ninth as Buster Posey kept the game alive sending a 1-2 offering to right center off Farina. Jack Rye followed sending a ball to the gap in right center moving Posey to third. D'Vontrey Richardson stepped to the plate looking to at least tie the game with one swing of the bat, but Farina struck out Richardson to end the game.
Clemson grabbed an early lead on a solo home run by Boyd. The freshman right fielder took a 2-1 offering from Rosen and hit it over the fence in right for his first collegiate home run and a 1-0 lead.
Florida State erased the one-run Clemson advantage in its half of the first tying the game at one. Thomas led things off with his third double of the series hitting one to the gap in left center. Following a walk to Mark Hallberg, Posey laid down a sacrifice bunt moving the runners up a base. Rye stepped in and grounded out to second base, scoring Thomas to tie the game.
The Seminoles would add a pair in the second to take a 3-1 lead. For the second straight inning, the Seminole lead off batter reached as Stidham hit a triple off the fence in right. Travis Anderson blooped an RBI single to right to score Stidham. The senior designated hitter would then move to second as Mark Gildea reached on a bunt single placing the ball perfectly in the hole between the pitcher's mound and first base. Clemson quickly got two outs recording a double play groundout. With Thomas on first after drawing a two-out walk, Tiger starter Daniel Kopp had Thomas in a pick-off at first but his throw went into the ground scoring Anderson and allowing Thomas to reach third.
Florida State increased its lead in the third on Danesh's two-run homer and an RBI single by Gildea. Rye got things started with a single up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Danesh then blasted his second home run of the season taking the second pitch he saw from Kopp over the fence in right center. Stidham followed the home run with a single to right, advanced to second on a groundout by Anderson and scored on Gildea's single to right. Stidham raced around third on the play and slid safely under the tag at home for a 6-1 advantage.
Clemson threaten in the fourth as the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs off Seminole starter Danny Rosen, but the junior right hander got Hogan swinging on strikes on a full count to keep the lead at five.
The Tigers bounced back in the fifth to score two as they cut the deficit to 6-3. The first two batters reached on a walk and a single, respectively by Alex Lee and J.D. Burgess ending the afternoon for Rosen. Travis Burge came out of the bullpen and recorded the first two outs on a fielder's choice groundout and a strikeout. Smith stepped in and lined a shot down the left field line for a two-RBI double. The inning ended on a play at the plate thanks to Rye's second outfield assist of the season. D'Alessio followed Smith's double with a single to right, but Rye came up firing as he threw a one bouncer to Posey at the plate to cut down Smith.
Rosen recorded the no decision in his third start of the season as he went four innings allowing three runs on four hits. The junior right hander struck out six but walked three throwing 82 pitches.
Clemson made the score 6-4 in the sixth thanks to an RBI single by Alex Lee. Paulsen got a one-out walk off Brian Chambers and would score two batters later on Lee's single through the right side.
Matt Fairel pitched two innings of relief in game two allowing just one hit. He walked two and struck out three as he kept the Tigers off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth innings.
Florida State will return to the diamond on Sunday in the series finale against the Tigers at Mike Martin Field. FSU will honor its seniors as well as pay tribute to all the mother's in ballpark on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 1:00 pm and right hander Ryan Strauss is expected to make his 13th start of the season. Right hander D.J. Mitchell will take the mound for Clemson. 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. The game will also be shown live courtesy of ACC Select.
Clemson rallies in the ninth to beat FSU
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