FSU falls to UM in ACC Tournament

Tony Thomas, Jr. hits a home run and a double in the loss.

Third-ranked Florida State (47-10) dropped game two of the 2007 ACC Baseball Tournament falling to Miami (36-21) 9-3 Friday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Tony Thomas, Jr. went 2-for-4 with a home run and a double, while Mark Gildea registered two hits in the loss. The Seminoles must now defeat Clemson on Saturday and have Wake Forest beat Miami to advance to Sunday's championship game.

Miami's Eric Erickson moved to 10-3 on the year as he pitched eight effective innings allowing three runs on seven hits. The freshman southpaw matched his career-high for innings pitched on Friday night as he struck out four and walked just one as he handed the Seminoles their first loss on Friday night in 17 games.

Jemile Weeks and Richard O'Brien provided the big hits in the win as both Hurricane batters drove in a game-high three RBI's. O'Brien hit a three-run homer in the second, while Weeks gave the Hurricanes the lead for good with a two-out, two RBI single in the fifth.

"Tonight Miami just took us to the woodshed," said head coach Mike Martin. "Eric Erickson is a very impressive pitcher. He's poised; he's got good stuff and locates well. He's a guy I am not looking forward to facing for the next two years."

Florida State got off to a good start in game two as Thomas led off the game with a double off the wall in left center. It was his team leading 32nd of the season. With Mark Hallberg at the plate, Thomas easily stole third and would score on a groundout by Hallberg to give the Seminoles an early 1-0 lead.

Miami grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second on O'Brien's three-run home run. Weeks started the inning beating out an infield single to short. Following a one-out walk to Gus Menendez, O'Brien unleashed his third round tripper against the Seminoles this year taking a 3-2 offering by FSU starter Ryan Strauss over the wall in right for the first home run hit in this year's tournament.

The Seminoles cut into the Hurricane lead with one swing of the bat courtesy of Thomas. With one out in the top of third, Thomas hit a solo shot just inside the foul pole in left for his 11th home run of the season. It was just the second round tripper given up by Erickson all year.

Miami pushed its lead to 5-2 on a key two-out hit by Weeks in the bottom of the fifth. A hit-by-pitch and an intentional walk came back to haunt Strauss and the Seminoles as Weeks delivered a two-out, two-RBI single through the right side of the infield to score Blake Tekotte and Yonder Alonso. The next batter Mark Sobolewski reached on a fielding error ending the evening for Strauss. Brian Chambers came on out of the bullpen, and after giving up a walk to Menendez to load the bases, got O'Brien striking out to end the inning.

Strauss' night ended after 4.2 innings as he was charged with five runs on six hits. He walked three, struck out one and hit a batter as Strauss did not make it out of the fifth inning for the fifth straight outing. The loss was his third of the season.

"Ryan, I thought he made one pitch I'm sure he wishes he had back. He made some good pitches; Miami just did a good job of hitting him. The one hit he wishes he had back was the ball to Weeks (in the fifth), when he singled to right. We were trying to throw that ball in a different spot," explained Martin.

Florida State strung together a little two-out action in the sixth to cut the deficit to 5-3. After two quick fly outs by Buster Posey and Jack Rye, designated hitter Travis Anderson roped a double down the left field line for his seventh two-bagger of the season. Freshman Jason Stidham followed with a single to right scoring Anderson from second.

The Hurricanes erupted for four runs on five hits in the bottom of the sixth to increase their lead to 9-3. Miami recorded four straight RBI hits including three after two outs in the innings. Weeks hit a triple to the gap in left center off Travis Burge scoring Dennis Raben all the way from first. Sobolewski followed with a single to left to cap the four-run sixth. Bo O'Dell came on to get the final out of the inning as he got Menendez to groundout to the mound.

Chambers and Burge combined for an inning in relief as they allowed four runs on five hits, two strikeouts and a walk.

O'Dell threw a perfect 1.1 innings, while Trent Jarvis threw a scoreless eighth as he walked a batter and struck out one.

Florida State will return to the diamond on Saturday as they will square-off against Clemson on the third and final day of pool play at 2007 ACC Baseball Tournament. The Seminoles must defeat the Tigers on Saturday and then get a Wake Forest victory over Miami to advance to Sunday's championship game.

"We are going to throw Bryan Henry tomorrow and of course a lot of things have to happen. I know that Wake Forest is capable of beating anybody in the country, so it will be interesting to see what happens on Saturday if we can beat Clemson.

"Clemson is a very good baseball team. They are well coached and they have good pitching. It will be a ballgame in which we will have to do the little things successfully in order to win," explained Martin.

The game will be televised live on FSN South and Sports South. 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.

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