The University of Miami baseball team appeared they were going to beat the number one ranked team in the country Friday night as they took a 6-3 lead into the top of the ninth.
Miami gave the ball to two of their most reliable relievers, Danny Gil and Dennis Raben, but because of a combination of fielding mistakes and bad pitching, the pitchers could not preserve the win.
Miami allowed Florida State to extend the inning when a fly ball hit by pinch-hitter D'Vontrey Richardson's fly ball was overrun by substitute right fielder Nick Freitas as it dropped just inside fair territory.
Florida State (38-6, 16-3) made Miami pay for their fielding mistakes, scoring four runs in the ninth inning to take a 7-6 lead and victory.
Second baseman Tony Thomas and shortstop Mark Hallberg powered the Seminole attack, hitting by back-to-back home runs off Miami reliever Dennis Raben, as FSU stole the first game of the series away from UM.
"Florida State has an outstanding club, but we gave them too many outs," Miami coach Jim Morris said. "The bottom line is we have got to catch fly balls. We have got to make plays."
"The scoreboard shows no errors, but we know that there were plays that should have been made."
Alonso hit two home runs, driving in four runs to carry Miami (26-18, 11-11) offensively in the loss.
Miami Starting pitcher Scott Maine threw 7.2 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs while striking out four batters and walking one hitter.
"I thought [Maine] pitched outstanding," Morris said. "The early runs he gave up in the beginning of the game should not have been allowed—we missed a foul ball that should have been caught."
Friday's loss was the third no decision of the year for Maine.
"It seems like the team doesn't put everything together when I am on the field—what can you do," Maine said.
Florida State starting pitcher Bryan Henry (11-0) allowed six runs on eight hits to stay unbeaten on the year.
Miami took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI from Dennis Raben, scoring centerfielder Blake Tekotte from third base.
Richard O'Brien sent the first pitch of his at bat over the left field wall in the second inning to give Miami a 2-0 lead.
First baseman Yonder Alonso hit a two-run home run (13) in the third inning, sending a 2-2 pitch over the centerfield wall, 400 feet away, to extend Miami's lead 4-0.
"I hit a curve ball, and I was just trying to put the ball in play," Alonso said. "We need to take a step back and take a look at the whole picture because there are still two games to play in the series."
A pair of fielding mistakes in the fourth inning by Tekotte led to two runs in the fourth inning. Tekotte slipped while attempting to catch a long fly ball hit by FSU designated hitter Travis Anderson, which was ruled as a triple.
The next FSU batter, third baseman Jason Stidham, hit a line-drive shot to Tekotte which he made a sliding attempt to catch, but the centerfielder could not hold onto the ball as Anderson scored from third and Stidham ran safely to second base.
FSU centerfielder Mark Gildea hit a single down the leftfield line to score Stidham from second base as FSU cut into Miami's lead 4-2.
Alonso hit his second two-run home run of the night off FSU starting pitcher Bryan Henry (14) on a 2-2 pitch over the left field scoreboard to give Miami a 6-2 lead in the fifth inning.
"We have to see how they come out and play tomorrow," Morris said. "We'll find out tomorrow how they bounce back from a loss like that. Offensively we knocked in some runs, our infielders played well, Maine pitched good, but we just didn't close it out."
Notes: Freshman Mark Sobolewski extended his hitting streak to 15 games in the sixth inning with a single to centerfield…Friday's game was the third multi-homer game of the season for Alonso…After his Friday night start versus FSU, Scott Maine has allowed six earned runs in his last four starts...The game was sold out with 2,763 fans in attendance Friday night.
David Lake can be reached at email@example.com
Alonso's Two Home Runs Not Enough in Game 1
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