Greensboro, NC -- May 23, 2012 --
Top-seeded Florida State's (43-13) come-from-behind effort fell just short in the opening game of the 2012 ACC Tournament as the Seminoles fell to eighth-seeded Georgia Tech (33-24) 5-4 Wednesday afternoon inside NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C.
Florida State clawed its way back from a five-run deficit scoring three in the fifth and one more in the ninth as the Seminoles fell for just the second time in 14 one-run games this year.
"It was just a really well played college baseball game by both teams," said head coach Mike Martin. "It was two good clubs getting after it. We just happened to come out on the short end. But you have to of course credit Buck Farmer and Jake Davies for pitching and getting key hits for their team. It was just one of those things that you tip your hat to the other club. They deserved to win and got it done."
It also marked the third straight year the Garnet & Gold has lost the opening round game of the ACC Tournament. The last two years the Seminoles advanced to the conference finals winning the championship in Greensboro in 2010.
"We feel fine about the position we are in," said Ramsey on the team losing their last three ACC Tournament openers but bouncing back to advance to the finals the last two years. "We are staying in attack mode, that's ready to go and ready to win ball games. We can only control so much. We are going to continue to play our Seminole brand of baseball and not worry about everything else around us."
James Ramsey paced the Seminole offense with three hits including a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to cut the deficit to 5-4. The senior captain drove in two of the four Seminole runs, while Sherman Johnson and Devon Travis both recorded a hit and an RBI. Justin Gonzalez reached base on three of his four plate appearances with a single and two walks.
Georgia Tech's Jake Davies went 2-for-3 with two home runs as both were two-run shots and both came with two outs in an inning. The first came in the top of the first off FSU starter Scott Sitz, while the second came off reliever Brian Busch in the fifth to give the Jackets a 5-0 lead.
Buck Farmer improved to 8-3 on the year as the junior right hander went 6.0 innings allowing three runs on three hits as he walked five and struck out six.
"He (Farmer) is so effective because he mixes all three of his pitches for strikes," said Gonzalez. "He works his fastball in for strikes or the off-speed, he tries to get hitters to chase pitches and he did a good job of doing that today."
Sitz (3-3) suffered the loss for the Seminoles as he allowed four runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of work. He walked two and struck out three.
Georgia Tech wasted little time to crack the scoreboard in the opening game of the tournament as Davies hit a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the first to give the Yellow Jackets an early 2-0 lead. Davies took a 1-2 pitch from Sitz out of the park for his 10th round tripper of the season.
The Yellow Jackets added to their lead in the fourth on an RBI double down the left field foul line off the bat of Mott Hyde. With runners at first and second, Hyde laced a groundball just passed the diving glove of Johnson at third and down the left field line to score Daniel Palka. The Jackets looked to add more in the inning with two runners on and just one out, but Sitz would retire the next two batters that he faced on a strikeout and a groundout to keep the deficit at 3-0.
It took until the fourth inning for the Seminoles to record their first hit of the game when Ramsey registered a one-out hit to left. Stephen McGee followed two batters later with an infield single to third. The two Seminoles were left stranded when Farmer got Josh Delph to ground into a fielder's choice put out at second for the final out of the inning.
Davies extended Georgia Tech lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth thanks to his second home run of the afternoon. The senior first baseman ripped a 1-1 pitch off reliever Brian Busch over the wind screen in right center. Brandon Thomas scored on the play after drawing a two-out walk from Sitz.
Florida State cut into the deficit with three runs in the bottom of the fifth taking advantage of two walks and a hit-by-pitch from Farmer to open the inning. Gonzalez and John Nogowski drew back-to-back walks and Jose Brizuela was hit on the foot to load the bases. Johnson brought home Gonzalez for the first Seminole run of the game on an RBI groundout to first. Travis singled up the middle to score Nogowski, while Ramsey drove in Brizuela with the third run of the inning on a sac-fly to right.
"I was very pleased with the way we were able to get back into the ball game," added Martin. "But Buck did a good job of getting his team in the dugout. It could have been a lot worse but you have to credit him."
The Seminoles squandered a golden opportunity to cut into the Georgia Tech lead leaving the bases loaded in the seventh off reliever Alex Cruz. Johnson registered a single to right followed by a two-out single through the right side by Ramsey. An error by Palka in right allowed Ramsey to advance to second. With first base open, the Jackets intentionally walked Jayce Boyd to face McGee. The move paid off as the sophomore catcher grounded into a fielder's choice put out at second to end the threat and keep Georgia Tech's two-run lead intact.
Florida State drew within one of the lead in the ninth when Ramsey connected on a two-out solo shot to right center off Cruz for his team leading 12th home run of the season. Cruz then got Boyd to fly out to center on the next pitch to end the game and pick up his first career save.
Gage Smith, Kyle Bird and Hunter Scantling pitched well in relief as the trio worked a combined four scoreless innings in relief allowing just one run and one walk, while striking out three.
Smith retired all six batters that he faced over 2.0 innings of work as he did not allow a walk or a hit while striking out one. Bird issued one walk and struck out two in one inning of work, while Scantling faced four batters in a scoreless ninth allowing one hit.
Florida State will take Thursday off before returning to the diamond to face fifth-seeded Clemson on Friday, May 25 at 3:00 p.m. The game will broadcast live on the Regional Sports Network and in Florida on Sun Sports. Fan can listen to the game locally on 1270 AM and over the internet on Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can always receive in-game updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.
Every game of the ACC Tournament will also be live-streamed via the Internet by ESPN3. In addition, Sirius 93 will broadcast all 13 games live via satellite radio, and every game with exception of the Wednesday and Friday 7:00 p.m. games will also be broadcast live via satellite radio on XM 190.