Offense Continues To Struggle In 4-3 Loss

The Florida State Seminoles bounced back to even their series with Stanford with a 4-3 victory on Saturday. The Cardinal hitters mustered only seven hits on the afternoon and have now scored just 24 runs in seven games this season. On the bright side though, a new pitcher appears to have emerged out of the Stanford bullpen. Read on for all the details.

The Florida State Seminoles evened their series with the Stanford Cardinal with a 4-3 victory on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.  Florida State recorded just four hits, but jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and then held off a late Cardinal rally.  Stanford's offensive struggles continued as they failed to score more than three runs for the fifth consecutive game.

The scoring began in the top of the third inning when FSU scored two runs off Stanford starter Tim Cunningham.  Cunningham faced the minimum (one hit allowed) in the first two frames, but Chris Hart would put the Seminoles ahead to lead off the third with a solo homer to left field.  Two batters later, Kevin Richmond hit a routine ground ball to Tobin Swope at shortstop, but Swope mishandled the ground ball and Richmond reached safely.  Bryan Zech was up next and he singled to put two runners on.  After a Tony McQuade ground out moved the runners up to second and third, Cunningham uncorked a wild pitch allowing Richmond to score for a 2-0 FSU lead.

The Seminoles added another run in the top of the fourth to increase their lead to 3-0.  Tony Richie walked to start the inning and was then sacrificed over to second.  Jerrod Brown then stepped up and singled easily scoring Richie from second.  Cunningham then suffered from sub par control as he walked the next batters, throwing only one strike in the process, and was removed from the game.  Billy Paganetti, appearing in his first game as a pitcher, got out of the inning striking out Richmond swinging.

Meanwhile, senior lefty Matt Lynch was working in-and-out of trouble on the mound for the Seminoles.  Lynch walked two batters in the bottom of the first, but John Mayberry, Jr. flew out with two on and two out to end that threat.  In the bottom of the second, Tobin Swope singled with one out, but was quickly erased when Chris Lewis (who was making his first career start) grounded into a double play.  The bottom of the third saw Sam Fuld single and Carlos Quentin walk with two out but Ryan Garko popped out to first to end that inning.  Finally in the bottom of the fourth, Stanford broke through against Lynch.  With one out, Danny Putnam doubled to left and after a Swope pop out, Lewis delivered the clutch hit with a single up the middle scoring Putnam to cut the lead to 3-1.

So with the score 3-1 Florida State, Billy Paganetti put it into cruise control on the mound for Stanford.  The sophomore right hander worked a perfect 1-2-3 fifth inning recording two strikeouts.  In the sixth, he again set down the Seminoles in order on two ground outs and a pop out.  In the seventh though he would run into some problems.  Paganetti walked Chris Hart to lead off the inning and then hit Matt Sauls to put two runners on with no outs.  Kevin Richmond was up next and the Seminoles second baseman laid down a bunt only to have Paganetti come charging off the mound and fire to third to record the out on the lead runner.  It looked as if Paganetti might get out of the jam after that play, but he would then balk the two runners up to second and third base and then a wild pitch scored Sauls for a 4-1 lead.  Paganetti completed the inning and that ended his afternoon.  All in all, it was a very encouraging outing for Billy as he went 3 1/3 innings giving up no hits and just the one run.  He walked one and struck out three.  Paganetti wasn't throwing particularly hard but was locating his fastball well and mixed in a decent slider.  It looks like Coach Marquess may have found another arm to turn to out of the bullpen.

The Stanford hitters continued to struggle against Lynch in the middle innings picking up only one hit in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings combined.  Lynch was removed from the game after seven complete as he gave up just one run on five hits.  In the bottom of the eighth, with the score still 4-1, Sam Fuld led off by drawing a walk.  After a Quentin strike out, Ryan Garko singled up the middle to bring the tying run to the plate.  John Mayberry, Jr. stepped up to the plate and grounded into a fielder's choice forcing Garko out at second and moving Fuld to third.  Stanford then caught a break as relief pitcher Trent Peterson balked allowing Fuld to score to cut the FSU lead to 4-2.  After a Danny Putnam walk but two runners on, Tobin Swope blooped a single into center field scoring Mayberry, Jr. slicing the lead down to one run.  But FSU closer Daniel Hodges, the fourth Seminole pitcher of the inning, settled down after giving up the single to retire Chris Lewis on a ground out with the tying run at third base.

Stanford couldn't muster anything off Hodges in the ninth as the Florida State lefty (who led the team with 12 saves last season) set down John Hester, Brian Hall, and Sam Fuld in order on just six pitches.

Game Notes :
* Tim Cunningham picked up the loss this afternoon going 3 2/3 innings while giving up four hits and three runs (two earned).  After Paganetti threw through the seventh inning, Drew Ehrlich came on and fired two scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth (0 hits, 1 walk, 2 K's) in his first action of the season.

* Donny Lucy continued to struggle mightily at the plate as the sophomore catcher went down on strikes for the 11th consecutive time to lead off the bottom of the third.  Lucy was removed from the game in favor of frosh catcher John Hester when his spot in the lineup came up again in the fourth.  On the bright side, Lucy played solid defense in the four innings he was out there throwing out the only runner that attempted to steal.

* Florida State was without their All-American shortstop Stephen Drew who was feeling under the weather.

* Ryan Garko (2-for-3) and Tobin Swope (2-for-4) had multi-hit games for Stanford today.  Fuld, Putnam, and Lewis had the other three hits.

* Stanford's 11-game home winning streak was snapped with the loss today.

* Florida State hitters did not record a hit over the final 5 2/3 innings of today's game.

Florida State    0 0 2  1 0 0  1 0 0    -    4   4   0
Stanford         0 0 0  1 0 0  0 2 0    -    3   7   1

WP: Matt Lynch (2-0)
LP: Tim Cunningham (1-2)
S: Daniel Hodges (2)

HR: Chris Hart (FSU, 1)

Records: #3 Stanford 3-4, #4 Florida State 4-1

* The Seminoles and Cardinal will play the rubber game of this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at Sunken Diamond with first pitch scheduled for 1pm.  Ryan McCally (0-1, 4.15) is expected to start for Stanford while Florida State will likely go with Mark Sauls (1-0, 0.00).

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