Third-ranked Florida State (44-9, 22-6) got its first win in Atlanta since 2003 and tied the school record for the most ACC wins in school history as the Seminoles defeated Georgia Tech (31-21, 15-12) 17-2 Thursday night at Russ Chandler Stadium. FSU pounded out 15 hits and scored nine runs on two outs as the Seminoles snapped their eight game losing streak to the Yellow Jackets in game one of a three-game set. Jason Stidham registered four hits for the second time this season and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle as the freshman third baseman went 4-for-5 with a home run, double and two singles.
The 15-run win on Thursday night was the largest margin of victory over the Yellow Jackets since Florida State posted a 19-0 shut out back on April 28, 1985 in Atlanta.
"It was good win for us," said head coach Mike Martin. "Bryan Henry pitched obviously exceptional baseball. We know that Georgia Tech is just like Clemson in that they can come in a wear us out the next two games, so we have got to be ready to go to work."
The first four batters in the Seminole line-up collected two hits a piece including Tony Thomas, Jr., Mark Hallberg (2-for-5), Buster Posey (2-for-5) and Jack Rye (2-for-5). Thomas went 2-for-6 with two doubles, two runs scored and four RBI's. With two doubles, Thomas moved into a tie for third all-time for doubles in a single season as he tied John Ford-Griffin with his 30th on Thursday night.
Bryan Henry pitched six innings allowing two runs on five hits to pick up his ninth straight victory of the season to move to 14-0 in 16 starts. The senior right hander is just the third pitcher since 1992 to register 14 or more wins in a season. The last pitcher to reach the 14-win plateau was Richie Lewis in 1986. Henry struck out five and walked three as he threw 112 pitches. The Tallahassee, Fla. native struck out the side in his final inning of work in the sixth.
"What Bryan Henry has done this season is phenomenal," said Martin on Henry's undefeated regular season record. "You just don't do what Bryan Henry has done in the Atlantic Coast Conference; it is one of the hardest things to do and he did a great job this season."
Florida State took an early 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Travis Anderson in the top of the first. The Seminoles loaded the bases with one out on three consecutive singles by Hallberg, Posey and Rye. Anderson stepped in and hit a fly ball to right scoring Hallberg from third to give the Seminoles the one-run lead.
Georgia Tech threatened in the first and second leaving a combined four runs on base without scoring a run. The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases all on two outs against Henry but the senior right hander got Patrick Long looking on strikes on a full count to end the first. In the second, with one out and runners at first and third, Henry got Danny Payne to ground into an inning ending double play to close out the second.
The Seminoles looked as though they would go quietly in the third but back-to-back throwing errors by Yellow Jackets shortstop Michael Fisher prolonged the inning all with two outs. Rye and Anderson reached safely as Fisher unleashed a pair of wild throws over to first. With two outs, Jason Stidham hit a bloop single to left plating Rye and Anderson for a 3-0 advantage.
Florida State batted around in the fourth scoring four runs on three hits to push its lead to 7-0. Ruairi O'Connor got things started as he was hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Reichert and came around to score as Thomas hit a double down the left field line, for his first hit of the ball game. It was Thomas' 29th double of the season moving him into a tie for fourth place all-time for doubles in a season. Turner issued a walk to Hallberg and following a double steal by Thomas and Hallberg, Posey reached on an intentional pass. With the bases loaded, Rye singled up the middle driving in two. Stidham recorded his third RBI of the game as he snuck a two-out double passed the bag at first scoring Posey.
Turner's night came to an end after four innings as he allowed seven runs, five earned, on seven hits. He walked three and struck out two as he suffered his fourth loss of the season as his record dropped to 5-4.
The Yellow Jackets finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two-run homer by Wally Crancer. Crancer took a 3-2 offering from Henry and hit it over the wall in right center for his eighth round tripper of the season.
For the second time on Thursday night the Seminoles sent nine batters to the plate as FSU added four more runs on three hits in the top of the sixth. The Garnet and Gold quickly loaded the bases as the first three batters to come to the plate reached. Mark Gildea then hit a shot to the left field wall for a sacrifice fly scoring Rye. O'Connor got his first hit of the ballgame ripping a single to left driving in Anderson. Thomas stepped up to the plate and with two outs hammered his second double of game to the corner in left plating two as FSU increased its lead to 11-2.
Stidham made the score 12-2 as he connected on his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot over the wall in right center. It was his fourth round tripper of the season.
Florida State pushed two more runs across the plate in the eighth as Posey drove in Thomas and Hallberg with a two-out double to right center.
The Seminoles capped off the evening with a three-run ninth. Stidham posted hit number four with an infield single to second. Then three consecutive walks scored Stidham as Reichert drew a free pass with the bases loaded for his first RBI of the evening. Thomas finished the scoring as he collected an RBI on a fielder's choice groundout. The relay throw from second went wide of the bag at first allowing Ohmed Danesh to score.
Travis Burge came on at the start of the seventh and pitched the final three innings to pick up his first save of the season. The sophomore southpaw did not allow a hit as he tied a season-high with three innings of work. Burge struck out two and walked just one. The Seminoles kept the Yellow Jacket bats at bay setting down 13 of the final 14 batters including a stretch of 12 straight.
"Burge pitched great; it was his first save of the season," stated Martin. "I am very happy for him. He had a little extra zip tonight."
Florida State and Georgia Tech will continue game two of the series on Friday, May 18 at Russ Chandler Stadium. First pitch is slated for 7:00 pm and will be shown live on Sports South and Sun Sports. The Seminoles will throw Michael Hyde, while the Yellow Jackets will counter with right hander Eddie Turner. 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 dominates Georgia Tech in game one
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