TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fifth-ranked Florida State (32-10, 16-6) dropped a heartbreaker to top-ranked Virginia (36-7, 17-5) falling 5-3 in 10 innings Friday night in game one of a three-game series on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
The Seminoles grabbed a 3-1 lead after five innings but could not make the lead hold up as the Cavaliers scored single runs in the sixth and eighth innings before regaining the lead for good on Derek Fisher’s two-out, two-run double to the gap in right center in the 10th.
“I'm very disappointed, they beat us fair and square, they deserved to win,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “It was just a game that you have to be ready to go tomorrow. There's not anything you can do about it, there's not anything you can say, you tip your hat to them.”
Florida State had a chance for the walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth loading the bases off Whit Mayberry (4-1) with one out. John Sansone registered a one-out base hit to left and moved to third when Justin Gonzalez recorded a single up the middle. After an intentional walk to Ben DeLuzio loaded the bases, Mayberry came back and got pinch hitter Ladson Montgomery swinging on strikes and then Josh Delph to groundout to second to retire the side and force extra innings.
“He made great pitches, the catcher did a great job of blocking the balls that were in the dirt,” added Martin on Mayberry’s performance in the ninth. “It was very impressive, a very impressive team.”
UVa’s Daniel Pinero led off the top of the 10th with a single to left off Gage Smith (4-1). Martin went to the bullpen and called on Jameis Winston, who registered two quick outs on a strikeout and pop out before Nick Howard kept the inning alive with a single through the left side. Fisher followed with his third double of the game taking a 3-2 pitch from Winston to the gap in right center scoring Pinero and Howard to give the Cavaliers a 5-3 advantage.
Howard worked the bottom of the 10th and struck out the side for his 14th save of the season.
“It was a good ballgame,” said Martin. “I would have enjoyed watching it from a fan’s standpoint. A lot of excitement, you had a great athletes on the field; it was a heck of a ball game.”
The Cavaliers broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth when John La Prise unloaded a solo shot over the fence in right center off FSU starter Luke Weaver for his first home run of the season.
The Seminoles answered right back scoring three runs off Virginia starter Nathan Kirby in the bottom of the fifth. Sansone was hit by a pitch to open the inning and scored when Gonzalez hit a long fly ball off the top of the fence in right center. The ball caromed back into the field of play for an RBI double. After a DeLuzio bunt single put runners at the corners, Delph gave Florida State a 3-1 lead on a single through the left side.
“To get the momentum, to get three runs like that, we knew we were in the driver’s seat but things didn’t go our way tonight,” said Gonzalez. “We just couldn’t put more runs across tonight.”
Virginia responded right back with a run in the sixth to close the gap at 3-2. Joe McCarthy led off the inning with a double down the line in right center and moved to third on a single to center by Howard. McCarthy scored a batter later as Weaver got Fisher to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
Mike Papi tied the game at 3-3 in the eighth with a solo shot to right. The junior first baseman took a 1-0 pitch from Weaver over the fence in right for his team leading eighth round tripper of the season.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision on Friday night. Weaver went 7.0 plus innings allowing three runs on nine hits as he struck out five and did not walk a batter. Kirby went 6.0 plus innings and was charged with three runs on seven hits as he walked one and struck out seven.
“I felt really good actually, but they are ranked No. 1 for a reason,” said Weaver. “They came today with their bats and hit some really good pitches. For the most part, they did a really good job of staying inside the zone. It was just a tough, grind out type of game, we really gave it our all but it is just one of those things that baseball stinks sometimes.”
Mayberry worked 3.0 shutout innings in relief giving up two hits and two walks, while recording one strikeout.
Smith suffered his first loss of the season as the redshirt senior right hander allowed a run on two hits.
DJ Stewart and Gonzalez led the team with two hits apiece in the loss. Stewart’s single in the first extended his streak of reaching base to 62 straight games.
The loss was Florida State’s first in extra innings this year as the Seminoles dropped to 3-1 in 2014.
Florida State and Virginia are back at it for game two of the series on Saturday, April 26 with first pitch set for 6 p.m. The game will broadcast live on ESPN3. Audio will be available on the Seminoles.com All-Access player. Locally fans can listen to the game on 100.7 FM.
As always, fans can receive in-game updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball. Also, do not forget to like the Seminole Baseball team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FSUBaseball and to follow the team on Instagram (NoleBaseball). Live stats will be available via gametracker.