TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Third-ranked Florida State (12-1) suffered its first loss of the 2010 season falling to top-ranked Virginia (11-2) 5-0 Friday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles were held to a season-low three hits while the shutout was the first since being blanked by Bucknell in the opening game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional in 2008.
The loss also marked the first time that FSU failed to win its conference opener since March 15, 2002 when the Garnet and Gold fell 11-10 to Virginia in Charlottesville. The Seminoles bounced back to take the final two games and claim the series victory over the Hoos.
For the second year in a row, Virginia's Danny Hultzen (3-1) baffled the Seminole offense scattering two hits over six innings of work. The sophomore southpaw was perfect through the first 4.2 innings before Sherman Johnson broke up the no-hit bid with a double off the wall in straight away center. At one stretch, Hultzen struck out five of the six batters that he faced including striking out the side in the third. He finished the game with six strikeouts and zero walks.
"All I have to say is (hats off) to that bunch," said head coach Mike Martin. "That was a beautiful game of baseball. You can't say enough about all three of Virginia's pitchers, certainly Danny pitched beautifully. It was just a beautiful, well pitched game on their part and they deserved all the credit.
"He threw the change-up well, he threw the curve ball late when he needed it, but the fastball, I think he hid that pitch very well, it got up on our guys very quickly," said Martin on the performance of Hultzen on Friday.
Entering Friday night's game, the Seminole pitching staff had given up just two home runs in their first 12 games. Virginia hit three in game one including two off FSU starting pitcher Sean Gilmartin (3-1).
Gilmartin finished the evening throwing six plus innings allowing four runs on 11 hits as he walked three and struck out six. Hunter Scantling worked the final three innings allowing just one run on one hit as he tied a season-high with three strikeouts.
"We went with a few more sliders tonight," said Martin on Gilmartin's performance. "The fastball wasn't locating quite as well as he normally locates it."
Dan Grovatt paced the Cavalier offense on Friday night going 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. The junior right fielder connected on a two-run shot in the fifth and a solo shot in the ninth for his first multi-home run game of his career. Designated hitter Stephen Bruno left the park in the sixth for his second home run of the season.
Virginia scored the game's first run in the third compliments of an RBI infield single off the bat of Steven Proscia to short scoring Tyler Cannon from third. The run came on two outs as Cannon got things going with a sharp single to center. He moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a base hit dribbler by Grovatt that landed toward the third base side of the pitcher's mound. Proscia then stepped in and hit a ball that Stephen Cardullo had to back hand at short. The senior from Coral Springs, Fla., tried to go to second for the final out of the inning, but Grovatt just beat the throw to the bag.
The Seminoles did make some outstanding plays on defense. Johnson made a great leaping grab on a sharp liner off the bat of John Hicks to start the fourth. The Seminole third baseman then made a fantastic diving stab on a ball headed down the left field foul line off the bat of Hicks in the fifth. Johnson quickly got to his feet and threw a strike over to first for the second out of the inning.
Cardullo made a great play to register the final out in the fourth. On a ball bounding up the middle off the bat of Phil Gosselin, Cardullo gloved the ball with his back hand and flipped the ball to Justin Gonzalez at the bag at second, who made a nice pick to get the third out of the inning.
Rafael Lopez registered the only other hit off Hultzen as the junior catcher led off the sixth with a single to left. Jayce Boyd was responsible for the third hit of the night singling back up the middle to start the bottom of the ninth off Kevin Arico.
"I congratulated them on playing very well for the first 13 games," said Martin of his post-game speech. "You just have to understand in this game, you can't get up, you can't get down, you have to be ready to go the next day. We are playing a very good Virginia team the next two days, then we take a day off and play a very good Florida team. There's no rest here. We can't get down. We have to be ready to go tomorrow."
The Seminoles return to the diamond on Saturday, March 13 in the middle game of the series against No. 1 Virginia. Fans can listen in locally on 100.7 FM and on the web at Seminoles.com. First pitch for game two on Saturday is set for 6:00 p.m.
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