May 9, 2009
ATLANTA – Sean Gilmartin’s RBI-single drove in the go-ahead run in a three-run ninth inning for Florida State, and the sixth-ranked Seminoles held off a Georgia Tech rally in the bottom half to capture an 8-6 victory Saturday in the middle game of an Atlantic Coast Conference baseball series at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Eighth-ranked Tech, which began the day with a percentage points lead in the ACC’s Coastal Division, saw its four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 32-12-1 overall and 15-8-1 in the ACC. FSU, the first-place team in the Atlantic Division, improved to 36-13 overall and 19-8 in conference play.
The teams conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday in a game regionally televised on SportSouth. Radio coverage can be heard on WQXI-AM (790).
“I told our team it’s going to be a pretty good battle tomorrow to see who can win this series,” said Tech coach Danny Hall. “We battled hard today, just couldn’t close it out in the ninth inning.”
Jeff Rowland’s two-out home run had given the Yellow Jackets a 6-5 lead in the eighth inning, but the Yellow Jackets’ bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Mike McGee singled off Patrick Long to start the rally, Jason Stidham drew a walk from Zach Brewster, and Stuart Tapley was hit by a pitch from Mark Pope to load the bases with no outs.
After Pope fanned Tommy Oravetz looking, he walked James Ramsey to force in the tying run. Gilmartin, a pinch-hitter, followed with a single to drive in Stidham and give FSU the lead. Rafael Lopez’ sacrifice fly gave the Seminoles their final 8-6 advantage.
John Gast (4-3), the third of four FSU pitchers in the game, earned the win after tossing three innings of solid relief, giving up Rowland’s home run but only one other hit while striking out three. Brewster (0-2), who issued the walk to Stidham, took the loss.
Tech didn’t go away quietly in the ninth, however, loading the bases on a Luke Murton single and a pair of walks to Matt Skole and pinch-hitter Chase Burnette against FSU closer Jimmy Marshall. But he got pinch-hitter Jason Garofalo to ground into a force play to end the game and secure his ninth save of the year.
Neither starting pitcher was a factor in the outcome. Tech’s Brandon Cumpton went five innings, giving up four runs, three earned. He walked one and fanned seven. FSU’s Brian Busch lasted 4-2/3 innings, surrendering five runs, three earned, on six hits. He walked three and struck out two.
“I thought Cumpton battled and did enough for us to win the game,” said Hall. “We’ll throw (freshman) Jed Bradley tomorrow.”
Oravetz paced FSU with a pair of two-run singles and had a career-high four RBI. Rowland had a triple in addition to his home run and scored twice for Tech.
As in Friday night’s game, Florida State struck quickly in the first, scoring twice in three hits, including a two-run single from Oravetz.
Tech answered just as quickly, however, parlaying an error, a hit batter and a walk into four runs. Rowland tripled to lead off and scored on Derek Dietrich’s booted ground ball. After Murton was hit by a pitch, Tony Plagman and Jason Haniger followed with singles to plate Dietrich. Skole drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Murton, and Plagman scored on Chris House’s sacrifice fly.
The Seminoles tied the game in the third, with Oravetz driving in both runs with his second single after Stidham was hit by a pitch and Tapley reached on an error.
Tech took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on an unearned run when Plagman walked and came around to score on an error. The Jackets gave back the run in the sixth when Jack Posey walked, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on a pair of wild pitches from Jacob.