June 1, 2012

CBI Live: #3 Samford 5, #2 Mississippi State 0

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Seminoles edge scrappy UAB

By Andrew Krause



Tallahassee, Fla. – James Ramsey (left) drove in two runs as Florida State held off a gritty UAB team Friday night in the second game of the Tallahassee Regional. 


Scott Sitz and Michael Busby traded zeroes and worked quickly through the first two frames until the Seminoles (44-15) struck in the bottom of the third. After a pair of one-out walks, Ramsey (2 for 4, double) singled through the right side to drive in Sherman Johnson.  However, Busby (8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) was able to induce Jayce Boyd into an inning-ending double play to keep the Seminoles at bay. 


Indeed, for most of the night Busby was able to keep the Seminole offense at bay. 


“He showed a beautiful balance of composure and competitiveness,” UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. “He gave us an opportunity to win.”


Ramsey had similar praise for Busby, saying, “He’s a competitor more than anything, he pitched out of a lot of jams. It was tough because he was working inside and outside on the corners.”


In the top of the fifth, the Blazers (32-29) were able to string together some hits and knock Sitz (4.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 B, 8 K) out of the game. Ryan Prinzing led off the inning with a single and advanced to third when Ivan De Jesus doubled down the right-field line. With the infield playing back, John Frost’s groundout to shortstop was enough to drive in Prinzing and tie the game at 1. 


Sitz was relieved by Gage Smith, and with a runner on third base and one out, it appeared that the Blazers had the Seminoles on the ropes. However, the Seminoles were able to squeeze their way out of the jam. Patrick Palmeiro drove a 1-1 pitch from Smith into the ground and hit a high hopper down the third-base line. De Jesus, the runner at third, broke for home, but FSU’s Johnson at third snagged the ball and made a strong throw home that beat De Jesus.


“We were running on contact there,” De Jesus said. “I thought it was going to be over his head, and I ran as fast as I could but the third basemen made a really good throw.”  


“Well, we were in to cut off the run and when he hit it I just tried to go up and catch it,” Johnson said of his play. “When I caught it – to be honest with you – I thought he was going to beat it, but that was the only play I had…we were playing in for a reason. I just threw it, and we got the big play.”


Smith retired the next hitter, Jeff Schalk, and FSU escaped without any further damage.


“That was great,” said Smith. “Honestly, that was hit high. I was pumped after that. I was ready to go.”


In the bottom of the fifth, the Seminoles capitalized off of that momentum. Johnson (0 for 1, 2 BB, 2 R) worked a walk and later scored when Ramsey came through with a two-out double on a 1-2 pitch. 


“It was a fastball. It was up and away, off of the plate,” Ramsey said. “It was a real good pitch. I was lucky to put a good swing on it.” 


“They are very tough to put away,” Busby said. “Ramsey can hit. I got him 0-2, but I couldn’t make that one pitch I needed.” 


Smith (3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) ended up pitching into the eighth inning and was able to quell the Blazers’ offense, providing the Seminoles with some much needed quality relief work.


“We had a bunch of key defensive plays,” he said. “Our defense played great. It’s not hard to pitch when you got that behind you.”


In the bottom of the ninth De Jesus (2 for 5, 2 2B) hit a one-out double and advanced to third base on a deep fly out to center field before FSU closer Robert Benicasa forced Palmeiro to pop up to third base to end the game for his 14th save.


“Obviously it was a well-played game by both clubs,” FSU head coach Mike Martin said. “I was very pleased with our guys.”  Ramsey, the Seminoles’ captain, echoed those sentiments saying, “We played real fundamental baseball today. We went back to Florida State baseball, and that’s what we need to do from here on out.”


While the play Johnson made in the fifth inning certainly loomed large, Shoop lamented other missed chances.


“Most games come down to a fine line,” Shoop said. “We had some opportunities, but we left 12 men on base. I thought we played well, but if we come through with some two-out hits tonight, then we’re feeling awfully good right now.”


Florida State will take on Samford in the winners’ bracket at 7 p.m. Saturday night on ESPN2; UAB and Mississippi State will meet at 12 p.m. in an elimination game.


(photos courtesy of FSU Media Relations Office)