Senior Ryan Strauss twirled his first career
complete game to lift No. 1 Florida State (32-3) to a 4-2 victory over No. 24
Florida (24-13) in front of a Dick Howser Stadium
record crowd of 6,737 fans on Tuesday night. The right-hander (5-0) scattered
seven hits and registered six strikeouts in defeating the Gators for the second
time this season. The Seminoles overcame a 2-0 deficit with four unanswered
runs to capture the rubber match of the regular-season series.
Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) cranked his sixth homer of the
year with two down in the first to give the Gators a 1-0 lead. There was a
slight delay in Figueroa’s trip around the bases as the umpires discussed if
his ball over the right-field screen was fair or foul.
An RBI grounder by sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.)
in the second resulted in a 2-0 lead for the visitors. Senior Bryson Barber (Pensacola,
Fla.), who finished 3-for-4, had led off
with his second double of the season off Strauss and moved to third on a
sacrifice bunt by senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.).
Junior Buster Posey (3-for-4) tied the game at 2-2
in the third with a two-out double off the screen in right. Sophomore Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.)
(0-3) retired the first two batters in the frame before yielding a single into
center field by freshman Tyler Holt (2-for-4). Sophomore Jason Stidham then sliced a base-hit into right for runners on
the corners and Posey clubbed his team-leading 16th two-bagger to even the
FSU seized a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice
fly by sophomore Ohmed Danesh.
Junior Tony Delmonico singled and raced over to third when junior Tommy Oravetz connected on a 3-2 pitch through the right side of
the infield. After Danesh’s second sac fly, freshman
Stuart Tapley poked a hit for two runners aboard and Mullaney had Holt ground out. The right-hander worked five
innings, allowing nine hits and three runs, and had one strikeout.
Locke (Tampa, Fla.) took over in the sixth and
permitted a one-out pinch-hit single by freshman Mike McGee and a two-out
single by Holt. The southpaw had Stidham ground out
to Pisani at first base to bring the Seminoles’ total
to eight runners left on base. They would end up with 12 stranded on the night.
Senior reliever Josh Edmondson (LaGrange,
Ga.) recorded two quick outs
in the home part of the seventh before walking senior Dennis Guinn. A fielding
error by Townsend on Delmonico’s grounder resulted in runners on first and
third and Edmondson answered with a strikeout of freshman Jack Posey.
The Gators threatened in the eighth, as sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.)
earned a free pass with one down and junior Avery Barnes (High Springs,
Fla.) delivered a single into
right field. However, Strauss worked out of trouble by having sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
fly out to shallow left and induced an inning-ending grounder by Figueroa to
preserve the 3-2 advantage.
Florida State tacked on an insurance run in
bottom of the eighth on a squeeze bunt by Holt to complete the 4-2 margin. McGee
started the frame with a single up the middle, stole second and was sacrificed
to third by sophomore pinch hitter Stephen Cardullo.
Although Holt bunted to Edmondson, McGee slid underneath the tag applied by
junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.)
and the runner reached on a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) came
out of the bullpen for Edmondson (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R)
and fanned Stidham on three pitches before giving way
to sophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.).
After a wild pitch, the righty walked Buster Posey intentionally and was
replaced by junior J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville,
Fla.). As Holt was stealing
third base, LaCoste uncorked a wild pitch to give FSU
two men in scoring position. The southpaw came through with a key K of senior
Jack Rye to keep the Gators within striking distance.
FSU held a 12-7 advantage in hits, as three players
turned in multiple-hit outings. Barber and Barnes (2-for-4) accounted for five
of the Gators’ seven hits. Florida journeys to
weekend to face No. 17 Kentucky (26-8/7-8 SEC) at Cliff Hagan Stadium. UF (9-6)
is currently in a three-way tie for second place in the Eastern Division with South Carolina and Tennessee,
three games behind No. 7 Georgia (12-3).