Baseball rallies late but falls to No. 8 Florida State, 5-3
Taylor Ratliff
Taylor Ratliff
In a statewide broadcast, the young 2011 Dolphins proved they can play with the big boys as the JU baseball team rallied late but eventually fell to No. 8 Florida State in a close contest, 5-3, Tuesday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium.

JU (2-2) trailed 5-1 through seven innings but scored two runs in the eighth and had runners on base before its rally was stopped short.

FSU (4-0) scored three runs in the first two innings before padding its lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth.

“We had our opportunities but we fell short,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “This was a big test for this young team and we were right there. FSU played great defense today and they got some solid pitching performances. Now we can use this experience to grow even more as we progress through the year.”

Senior Chris Kaminski (0-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits with four walks and three strikeouts in four plus innings of work. The bullpen held strong with freshmen Will Flor, Adam Maxon and Chris Anderson combining for two scoreless innings. Junior Sean Green also chipped in with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Gary Merians (1-0) got the win after allowing one unearned run while scattering five hits with three strikeouts in five innings. Daniel Bennett got the save after striking out three in two shutout innings.

Freshman third baseman Taylor Ratliff led the Dolphins by going 3-for-4 while junior first baseman Kevin Lehane and sophomore center fielder Dan Gulbransen each drove in a run.

Mike McGee finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead the Seminoles while Devon Travis also added multiple hits.

FSU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Rafael Lopez hit an RBI single to left with the bases loaded and two outs. On the same play, junior left fielder Jonathan Murphy gunned down James Ramsey at the plate to end the inning.

The Seminoles increased their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second when Eric Arce hit an RBI single through the right side and Ramsey drew a bases loaded walk. FSU still threatened with the bases loaded and two outs but Kaminski got Jayce Boyd to fly out to right to end the inning.

JU cut the margin to 3-1 in the top of the third when freshman second baseman Chris Moye scored from second on a fielding error by Boyd at first. With the bases loaded, Murphy grounded back to Merians on the mound and forced the runner at home. On the ensuing throw to first, Boyd dropped the throw from Lopez at the plate, allowing Moye to score.

The Dolphins looked to even up the contest in the top of the fifth when Murphy hit a towering shot to left with a runner on first but Seth Miller snared the ball just over the fence to end the inning.

FSU increased the margin to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Boyd hit an RBI double to left center.

The Seminoles made it 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth when McGee hit a sacrifice fly to center with one out.

JU cut the margin to 5-3 in the top of the eighth when Gulbransen hit an RBI single to center and Lehane hit a sacrifice fly to right.

JU will play at the friendly confines of John Sessions Stadium for the next 13 games beginning with a four-game set against Samford. The series will start on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and the contest can be followed on ASun.TV or livestats by logging onto JUDolphins.com.