Tallahassee, Fla. - Top ranked Florida State (33-4, 11-2) raced out to an early lead and pounded out 16 hits Friday evening to post a 14-1 victory over Virginia Tech (17-18, 4-12) on Mike Martin Field. Bryan Henry recorded his ninth win in 11 starts as he collected his fourth consecutive win in ACC play shutting out the Hokies on six innings of two hit baseball. Freshman Jason Stidham led all players with three hits in game one as he connected on his third home run of the season in the win. Senior Luke Tucker made his first appearance of the season and pitched a scoreless seventh.
"A solid game tonight," said head coach Mike Martin. "We had outstanding pitching, good defense, we ran the bases well, we bunted well, it was a game in which everything went our way. But at the same time I was very pleased with the way we took the game to the other team."
Henry (9-0) was once again impressive as he shut down the Hokies over six innings of work. The senior right hander allowed just two hits and one walk, while striking out nine Virginia Tech hitters. The Tallahassee, Fla. native set down the last eight batters that he faced, striking out the side in the fifth. He allowed just one Hokie to advance past first and never faced more than four batters in any inning. In three career appearances against the Hokies, Henry has yet to yield a run in 13 innings.
Henry got plenty of offensive support on Friday night as the Seminoles piled on 12 runs in the first three innings. Every batter in the Florida State starting line-up had a hit by the third inning, while six Seminole hitters registered at least two hits.
"It was one of those games that we played like we are capable of. I was very impressed with the way we approached our hitting. We got a couple of balls to sneak through early in the game and took advantage of them. It was a well pitched game by Bryan Henry and the rest of the guys that got in there," stated Martin.
"We definitely feed off each other," said Henry. "I try and get out there and work quick to keep my defense in the game. They do a great job behind me of making plays and then for them to come up to the plate and score five in the first makes things a lot easier for the both of us. We were able to get the lead and pound the zone with strikes."
Stidham had his second three hit ball game of the season and joined first baseman Brandon Reichert with three RBI's a piece. Buster Posey, Dennis Guinn, Ohmed Danesh and Reichert all registered two hits on the night as Florida State remained unbeaten at home in 2007. The Seminoles have now won 28 straight ball games inside Dick Howser Stadium this season including 12 in a row over Virginia Tech.
Florida State got on the board in the bottom of the first with five runs off Virginia Tech starter Greg Fryman (2-6). The Seminoles sent 11 batters to the plate in their first at-bat of the evening and once again came through with some clutch hitting as four of the five runs were scored with two outs.
Tony Thomas, Jr. led off the game with a walk, moved to second on his 19th stolen base of the season and scored the first run of the game on an RBI double off the right field fence by Posey. The Seminoles then executed five straight hits with two outs beginning with Dennis Guinn's infield single to third. Stidham laid down a beautiful RBI bunt single along the third baseline scoring Posey for a two-run lead. Designated hitter Ohmed Danesh knocked in a pair with a single through the right side plating Guinn and Stidham. Mark Gildea followed with a bunt single towards third and Reichert capped off the inning with an RBI single up the middle. Thomas made his second plate appearance of the inning, drawing his second walk.
Florida State batted around for the second time in the game in the third inning adding seven runs to take a 12-0 lead. Danesh started the inning with a double down the line in right and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gildea. Following a Reichert walk, FSU posted four consecutive RBI hits by Thomas, Hallberg, Posey and Jack Rye.
Stidham finished off the scoring in the third with his third home run of the season, a two-run shot over the right field fence. It was the first round tripper for the freshman third baseman since he hit a solo shot against Indiana on March 4.
"It felt really good tonight," said Stidham. "I really needed to get a couple of hits. I've been getting one hit games the past couple months, so I think I'm getting back into the stroke that I had earlier in the season. I feel a lot more comfortable in the box and I feel like I'm starting to hit the ball really well again."
The Seminoles made the score 14-0 on a two-RBI single by Reichert. Guinn reached on a Hokie fielding error to start the sixth and advanced to second on Stidham's third hit of the ball game. After a walk to Gildea loaded the bases for Reichert, the senior first baseman took the first pitch he saw from Fryman and bounced the ball up the middle scoring Guinn and Stidham.
Tucker entered the game in the top of the seventh and was untouchable in his first appearance of the season. The senior right hander threw a scoreless seventh as he walked one and struck out two. Tucker had sat out the first half of the season after suffering an internal impingement to his right shoulder.
"It was a late spring training for Luke," explained Martin. "I was just excited that he went out there and pitched. He's feeling good. He has done a lot of stretching exercises. We are just very happy that Luke Tucker is back with us."
"It was a relief," said Tucker in making his first appearance of the season. "It was great to go out there and get the cob webs out. It was such a rush to hear my name over the loud speaker and have everyone go crazy. It shows that the fans are always behind you, that they believe in you and that they are excited to see you out there. It really pushes you to go out there and do well."
Casey Whitmer pitched the eighth and gave up a lead off walk to Steve Bumbry. A pair of back-to-back groundouts moved Bumbry to third and he scored the Hokies only run of the game on Sean O'Brien's RBI single to right.
Jimmy Marshall closed out the game in the ninth as he induced three ground ball outs to give the Seminoles the victory.