Three-run eighth lifts #6 FSU over UVa.
No. 6 Florida State scored three runs in the eighth inning to erase a 3-1 deficit and earn a 4-3 win over the Virginia baseball team Sunday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. Stephen McGee’s RBI groundout proved to be the difference for FSU, which clinched a series victory over UVa for the first time since 2008.
Kyle Crockett (So., Poquoson, Va.) allowed three runs in the eighth inning and took the loss. Crockett (0-1) struck out three straight batters before walking a batter and hitting another before giving up a bloop single to James Ramsey to load the bases in the eighth. before Justin Thompson (Sr., Radford, Va.) came on in relief.
The loss spoiled a great outing from UVa starting pitcher Branden Kline (Jr., Frederick, Md.), who tied a career high in tossing 6.1 innings. He allowed one unearned run, four hits and no walks while striking out six.
Florida State reliever Bryant Holtmann (1-0) earned the win after firing a scoreless eighth inning. FSU starting pitcher Mike Compton worked 6.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned), three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Reed Gragnani (Jr., Richmond, Va.) had a pair of RBI for the Cavaliers (11-7-1, 2-3 ACC). Mitchell Shifflett (So., Midlothian, Va.) scored twice for UVa. McGee had two hits and the go-ahead RBI for Florida State (16-2, 5-0).
UVa jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Shifflett led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a Keith Werman (Sr., Vienna, Va.) sacrifice bunt, which was booted by Compton, allowing Werman to reach. After Chris Taylor (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Gragnani hit a chopper to first which scored Shifflett. Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) lined the next pitch to right-center to score Werman.
FSU got a run back in its half of the third. John Nogowski reached on a fielding error at second by Gragnani to start the inning. One out later Sherman Johnson doubled down the right-field line. Devon Travis followed with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Both pitchers cruised through the next three innings until Virginia broke through for a seventh-inning run. With one out Shifflett drew a walk and moved to second on a Werman bunt single. Taylor reached on a fielder’s choice, just beating out a throw to first on a potential double-play grounder. That hustle proved key when Gragnani ripped a single to center to plate Shifflett.
FSU got its lone lead in the eighth inning with a three-run rally. With one out, Crockett walked Johnson and then hit Travis with a pitch. With the outfield playing deep, James Ramsey blooped a single into left field to load the bases. Thompson came on in relief and gave up a long fly ball to right-center by Boyd, with the ball bouncing off the glove of Mike Papi (Fr., Tunkhannock, Pa) as he crashed into the wall. The double scored a pair to tie the game. McGee then hit a slow grounder to third, and Bruno’s only play was to first, with the go-ahead run scoring.
UVa looks to avoid a series sweep as the teams conclude the series at 7 p.m. Monday in a game that will be televised by ESPNU. The game will mark the first of ESPNU’s new ACC Monday programming.