TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fifth-ranked Florida State (1-0) started the 2010 season on the right foot thanks to an 11-3 victory over Georgia State (0-1) Friday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles fought back from an early two-run deficit rattling off nine unanswered runs en route to their 12th victory in a row on opening day.
Senior Stephen Cardullo picked up where he left off following his junior All-American season by going 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored, two walks and four RBI. Mike McGee also turned in a fine performance collecting a pair of hits including his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth. The junior left fielder finished the game with two runs and three RBI.
"I really think it was a typical opening day," said head coach Mike Martin. "I was very pleased with our guys offensively. I thought we had some timely hitting, some big hits from Mike McGee and Stephen Cardullo. But you look at how things started and of course it seems to have started with Tyler Holt."
Sophomore Sean Gilmartin (1-0) settled down after a shaky first two innings to earn the win in his first start on opening day. Gilmartin worked seven innings allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits as he struck out seven. The southpaw got stronger as the night went on as six of his seven strikeouts came from the fourth inning on while retiring 16 of the last 19 batters that he faced.
"I don't know if I've ever seen Sean Gilmartin the least bit un-nerved, but I thought the first couple of innings he was not the Sean Gilmartin that I knew," Martin said. "The third inning came around, and it was Sean Gilmartin. I was very pleased with his outing. It was great to get seven innings from a guy on opening day."
"After the first couple of innings, I started settling down a little bit," said Gilmartin. "I was just trying to get those jitters out of the way. I really wasn't making the pitches I wanted to make, so I was more upset at myself. After the third and fourth inning, I really started to settle down and make my pitches. But also knowing that our guys are going to come out here and score some runs is a big help."
Tyler Everett was fantastic out of the bullpen pitching the final two innings to preserve the win. The junior right hander finished the game tying a career-high with five strikeouts. Everett struck out the side in the eighth and got the final two Panther hitters out on called third strikes to close out the game.
The win kept the Seminoles undefeated against the Panthers at home as the Garnet and Gold moved to 18-0 all-time inside Dick Howser Stadium. The victory also marked the 12th win in a row for the Seminoles in the series as it was the first time these two teams met since 1993. With 11 runs on Friday night, Florida State has now scored double-digit runs in the series in 20 of the 28 previous meetings including a current streak of six in a row.
Georgia State grabbed the early led on Friday scoring twice in the top of the second. Carter Sackett got things started drawing a leadoff walk from Gilmartin and moved to third following a single to right by Rob Lind. Sackett gave the Panthers the early lead one batter later crossing home plate on a fielder's choice put out at second off the bat of third baseman Brandon Williams. After a double off the fence in right center by Jonathan Kolowich put runners on second and third with only one out, GSU shortstop Justin Malone sent a sac-fly to center scoring Williams to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The lead was short lived as the Seminoles struck for four runs in the third to take the lead for good. After back-to-back walks by Tyler Holt and James Ramsey to start the bottom half of the inning, Cardullo brought them both home drilling a double off the fence in right center to tie the game at 2-2. GSU starter David Buchanan (0-1) then issued his third walk of the inning to Mike McGee before giving up an RBI single to Stuart Tapley which gave the Noles a 3-2 advantage. Buchanan was lifted after the base hit by Tapley leaving the game after just two plus innings of work in his Georgia State debut. Charley Olson came in and gave up an RBI groundout to Sherman Johnson to close out the scoring for the Seminoles in the third.
"I thought (David) Buchanan threw the ball very well," added Martin. "I was very impressed with him. He is going to be a very difficult pitcher as the season goes on."
FSU would come right back in the fourth with three more runs all on two outs to take a commanding 7-2 lead. Holt drew a one out walk and took second on his first stolen base of the season and 50th of his career. He moved to third on a groundout to first by Ramsey and scored a batter later on Cardullo's infield single to third. McGee would clear the bases with one swing of the bat lacing a line drive over the right field fence on a 0-1 offering from Olson for his first home run of the season.
The Seminoles increased their lead to 9-2 in the sixth as the top of the order once again did a great job of getting on base. Holt led off the inning with a triple to right center and after Ramsey drew his third walk of the game, Cardullo picked up RBI number four of the evening driving in Holt on a sacrifice fly to left. After a balk and a stolen base put Ramsey at third, McGee would find the hole through the left side of the infield driving in Ramsey.
The Panthers cut into the lead in seventh as Williams drilled a double off the base of the wall in left and scored as Cardullo's relay throw from Taiwan Easterling in left sailed passed Justin Gonzalez at second and into the first base dugout. The run would not faze Gilmartin as he sandwiched a walk between a fly out and a groundout to conclude a very successful 2010 debut.
FSU added two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh as Ramsey dropped in a two-out, two-run double down the left field line scoring Rafael Lopez and Holt for the 10th and 11th runs of the game.
Holt finished the evening tying a career-high with four runs, while Ramsey tied a career-high drawing three walks. Freshmen Jayce Boyd and Justin Gonzalez registered their first collegiate hit on Friday. Boyd singled up the middle in the bottom of the second in his first at-bat, while Gonzalez led off the bottom of the eighth with single to left. Parker Brunelle also picked up a single to left in the eighth.
"It is," said Martin on a pair of Seminoles recording their first collegiate hit. "For Gonzalez, I was very pleased for him getting his first hit. And of course, Jayce got a base hit on his first AB."
"It's always awesome to have Opening Day finally," said a relieved Holt. "Get out here and compete against someone else besides your own pitching staff. It's been a long wait."
The Seminoles return to the diamond on Saturday, February 20 at 2:00 p.m. for the middle game of a three-game set against Georgia State on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The game will air live over the web on Seminoles.com All-Access, while fans can listen in locally on 100.7 FM and on the web on Seminoles.com. Junior right hander Geoff Parker will take the mound for the Seminoles on Saturday, while the Panthers will send out left hander Aidan Francis.
FSU Wins Opener 11-3
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