Florida State entered the game riding high off a series win over in-state rival Miami and looking for the season sweep against the other main rival in Florida. Ranked as high as 6th in the nation while UF is unranked in every pole, the Seminoles came into the game trying to get the sweep over the Gators for the first time since 2002 and the first sweep of more than two games since 2000. FSU had the advantage. Before Tuesday’s game, the Noles held a 125-100-1 record against the Gators. FSU was 71-38-1 in Tallahassee against UF.
Beating your biggest rival at home and getting a little bit of revenge for the damage they did last year would have been sweet. Florida had other plans and came away with the win, crushing the hopes and FSU fan was having for that taste of victory in every game against your top rival.
In what was the 5th largest crowd in Dick Howser Stadium with an announced attendance of 6,719, the Florida State Seminoles lost to bitter rivals Florida on the heel of four errors late in the game.
The Garnet and Gold came out looking ready to complete the sweep over Florida as they scored in the first and had a good pitching performance from former Sunday starter, Peter Miller. Making his first start against the Gators, Miller went a full five innings, only giving up two runs and breezing through the UF lineup early on. Florida would tag him with five hits and cause some struggles in the middle innings, but Miller held on and left the game with UF up 2-1.
Trailing entering the bottom of the fifth, DJ Stewart came to bat with one out and took a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence to tie the game. Stewart’s homerun was one of three hits as he came within a triple of completing the cycle.
With the Florida State up 3-2 in the 7th, the Noles began to falter. Two plays changed the momentum in favor of the Gators. Florida’s Harrison Bader stole second base of Billy Strode and Stephen McGee, but it was McGee’s errant throw which allowed the runner to advance to third. Shortly after the throwing error, a passed ball would bring the runner in and tie the game at three.
Florida State would gain some momentum back after key outs from Robby Coles in the 8th. Coles entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, yet managed to keep UF off the board.
It was in the following inning Coles would be tagged with the eventual game winning run.
Once again, Florida’s Bader would be the beneficiary of a Florida State error, this time a low throw from Jose Brizuela which should have been an out at first. Bader would get to third off a failed pickoff attempt. Shortly after, Florida would score the game winning run from a sacrifice fly to right field. Florida State would have three quick outs in the bottom half of the ninth to end the game.
MVP of the Game
DJ Stewart – It’s disappointing that a performance like Stewart had essentially went to waste. Stewart finished 3-4, bringing in two of FSU’s three runs. He also had an RBI on a solo homerun in the 5th and came within a triple of the cycle.
Things to work on
This one is pretty obvious and it’s been the main problem all year…errors. To add to the woes, all four of the Seminole errors came in the last three innings which essentially caused Florida State to lose the game. FSU had a 3-1 lead going into the 7th and errors brought in the tying and winning runs. The winning run in the 9th inning for Florida came in without a hit being recorded in the entire inning.
Quote of the Game
Mike Martin – “To sit here and smile takes an awful lot since I’m obviously very disappointed. We did not deserve to win. They played better.”
Florida State returns to their conference schedule with a three game series against the Duke Blue Devils. Duke has been one of the surprise teams in the ACC, sitting at 20-14 overall and 8-7 in the conference. Although not one of the top teams in the ACC, the Blue Devils can still cause a headache as they have already won games over Florida and Miami as well as a shocking series win over Georgia Tech this past weekend, including a 2-0 victory over Tech’s ace Buck Farmer.
Duke came away with a 17-2 win over UNC Greensboro in their Tuesday matchup and still face N.C. Central later today.
All-time Florida State leads the series over Duke 68-19 with a 36-7 record at home.
The first game is set for Friday at 6 p.m.