May 7, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The seven-year monkey finally came off the Dolphins' backs as junior catcher Brad Simmons went 3-for-3 with a home run and a career-high four RBI to lead the JU baseball team to a 7-6 shocker over No. 3 Florida State, Wednesday evening in front of 4,316 fans at Dick Howser Stadium.
JU (25-24), which last won at Howser Stadium with a 7-4 decision on April 29, 2001, has now defeated the Seminoles in back-to-back season for the first time since 1993-94. The win also gave the Dolphins their third win over a ranked opponent this season (No. 25 UCF, No. 17 Florida) and back-to-back seasons with victories over the Gators and Seminoles.
The Dolphins, which held an early 4-0 lead, fell behind 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth before rallying for three runs in the top of the eighth inning and never looking back.
FSU (40-8) had its 25-game winning streak against the Dolphins snapped after leaving eight runners on base and committing a game-high three errors in the field.
"I felt it was a huge game for us because things haven't been going well," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. Our pitching staff made some big pitches and we made some big plays but we didn't back down when they took the lead back from us. Right know we know we have what it takes to beat anyone but we still have to see if this is the turning point we've been looking for."
Junior Tim Brown (3-4) earned the win after allowing one run on two hits with three walks and a strikeout in 2.2 innings of relief. Freshman Matt Loosen notched his second save after hurling a scoreless inning in the ninth. Sophomore Carson Andrew, who retired the first 10 batters he faced, earned the no-decision after allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in five innings of work.
"We needed a huge effort from Carson to put us into position to get a lead and then Brad hit the huge home run early. "When you are playing one of the best teams in the country, it's important to make them catch you instead of you chasing them."
Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth, FSU had a runner on first base with no outs but Loosen entered for an injured Brown and got All-America candidate Buster Posey to ground into a double play to short for the first two outs. After a walk to Jack Rye, Loosen sealed the contest by getting Dennis Guinn to fly out to left to end the game.
Jimmy Marshall (4-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on one hit with three walks and a strikeout in 0.2 innings of work.
Along with Simmons, junior left fielder Kyle Fleming went 2-for-4 to lead the Dolphins with multiple hits.
Jason Stidham, Tony Delmonico and Ohmed Danesh each finished with multiple hits to lead the Seminoles. Posey, who entered the contest hitting .462, ended the game 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
The Dolphins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second when Simmons hit a two-run homer and junior right fielder Thomas Myers scored from third on a wild pitch.
Sophomore first baseman Alex Martinez drew a walk to lead off the inning and then Simmons cleared the bases with a towering shot over the right-field fence. Myers followed with a walk and then advanced to third on a bunt single to third by Fleming. In the next at-bat, McGee's first pitch to freshman third baseman Jamaal Hawkins bounced short and got away from Posey, allowing Myers to score.
JU increased the lead to 4-0 in the top of the third when Myers hit an RBI single with two outs.
With two outs, Martinez reached on a fielding error by Delmonico at short and then advanced to second on a walk to Simmons. Myers followed with a base hit down the right-field line to score Martinez.
The Seminoles cut the deficit to 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Jack Rye hit an RBI single to center. FSU still threatened with runners on second and third with two outs but Hawkins snared a hard line drive to third by Delmonico to end the inning.
FSU cut it to 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth when Tyler Holt hit a two -run single. The Seminoles still threatened with runners on second and third with one out but Andrew struck out Posey swinging and Rye looking to end the inning.
The Seminoles took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Guinn scored on a fielding error from the outfield and Tommy Oravetz hit an RBI triple to left center. FSU still threatened with runner on third and only one out but Brown struck out Stuart Tapley swinging and got Holt to fly out to center to end the inning.
The Dolphins recaptured the lead, 7-5, in the top of the eighth when sophomore second baseman Tony Bernazard scored on two consecutive errors and Simmons hit a two -run single with two outs.
With one out, Bernazard hit a single up the middle and then stole second base. On the play, Posey's throw rolled into center field allowing Bernazard to go to third. On his way to third, Holt's throw from center rolled into the Dolphin dugout allowing him to tie the game with two outs. After three consecutive walks to senior shortstop Matt Lopez, senior designated hitter Matt Dobbins and Martinez, Simmons connected on a single into right center to score two runs.
The Seminoles cut the deficit to 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth when Tapley hit a sacrifice fly to center. FSU still threatened with the tying run on third base and two outs but Brown got Holt to ground out to second to hold the lead.
JU will continue its non-conference road trip this weekend with Dallas Baptist beginning on Friday at 9 p.m. ET. The game can be followed on GameTracker on JUDolphins.com.