CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 4 Florida State outlasted the No. 5 Virginia baseball team 12-11 in 10 innings Sunday afternoon in front of 3,742 spectators at Davenport Field. The wild contest capped a fantastic weekend of baseball. All three games were decided by one run in extra innings, marking the first time in program history that UVa has played three straight extra inning games. Virginia (19-2, 5-1 ACC) notched walkoff wins in each of the first two games and captured its second straight ACC series.
The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Cavaliers.
Both teams were resilient Sunday. Florida State (16-4, 4-2) avoided the sweep by twice rallying from deficits. Trailing by four runs in the eighth inning, Virginia came back with two in the eighth and two more in the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings, where Rafael Lopez’s solo homer in the 10th proved to be the difference.
Mike McGee (1-1) earned the win after pitching the final two innings for FSU. UVa’s Artie Lewicki (Fr., Wyckoff, N.J.) gave up the 10th-inning home run and took the loss to fall to 0-1 this season. FSU used six pitchers in the win while Virginia sent five pitchers to the mound. Walks haunted Virginia in the loss as the Cavaliers walked five batters, with the first four scoring.
Steven Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) led a 14-hit attack with a 3-for-6 effort. John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) hit a two-run homer as part of a two-hit day, while Stephen Bruno (So., Audubon, N.J.) and Kenny Swab (Sr., Kernersville, N.C.) each added a pair of hits.
James Ramsey hit a key three-run double and drove in five runs for Florida State. Lopez went 3-for-4 with three RBI and four runs scored.
Virginia’s offense kicked in quickly in the first inning. With one out John Barr (Sr., Ivyland, Pa.) rallied from 1-2 down to coax a walk. He stole second and Hicks followed with a walk. Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) then cranked a 3-2 pitch to right field for a single to score Barr and advance Hicks to second, and Proscia ripped a single through the hole at shortstop to bring Hicks around to score.
FSU broke into the scoring column with a three-run third inning to take the lead. Lopez drew a leadoff walk. Stuart Tapley followed with a single to left-center to move Lopez to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Gonzalez. Devon Travis then lofted a high fly ball to center which Reed Gragnani (So., Richmond, Va.) lost in the sun, resulting in a double. After Seth Miller struck out, Ramsey ripped a line drive off the tip of Keith Werman’s glove at second base, scoring both runners and giving the Seminoles a 3-2 lead.
The Cavaliers took the lead back with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Proscia led off with a single and scored on a Swab double to right-center. Bruno then ripped a single to left to move Swab to third, and Gragnani broke the tie with a groundout to second.
FSU forged ahead with a run in the sixth. Miller drew a leadoff walk and advanced on a sacrifice. He scored when Sean Gilmartin pulled a single through the right side of the infield.
UVa then scored three in its half of the sixth to grab the lead back. Bruno hit the first pitch of the inning just inside third base and down the left-field line for a double. He scored when Gragnani grounded back up the middle and off the glove of a diving Travis at second base. Werman moved Gragnani to second with a sac bunt, and Gragnani advanced to third on a single to center by Chris Taylor (So., Virginia Beach, Va.). Barr put down a suicide squeeze and executed it to perfection, beating out the bunt with Gragnani scoring to push the UVa lead to 6-4. After Hicks was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Hultzen beat out the throw to first on a fielder’s choice with Taylor scoring.
Florida State tied the game in the seventh with a two-out double from Ramsey. Lopez led off with a single off reliever Scott Silverstein (Jr., Brookeville, Md.). Shane Halley (Jr., Burke, Va.) took the mound and walked Tapley, got Gonzalez to fly out and walked Travis to load the bases. After Halley froze Miller on a called third strike, Ramsey lofted a fly ball down the left-field line; Barr made a diving attempt after a long run but was unable to corral the ball. All three runners scored easily on the double to tie the game.
The Seminoles added four in the eighth inning. The first four batters reached, with all four scoring. Jayce Boyd led off with a single and Sherman Johnson was hit by a pitch. Lopez doubled to right to score the runners and give FSU a 9-7 lead. Tapley then laid down a bunt and all hands were safe when the throw to third was late. Pitcher Whit Mayberry (So., Alexandria, Va.) then balked to force another run in and one out later Miller reached on a UVa fielding error, with pinch runner Tye Buckley scoring on the play to push the FSU lead to 11-7.
Virginia fought back with two in the eighth and two more in the ninth. Hicks hit a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth, his third long ball of the year. In the ninth Proscia reached on a throwing error and moved to third on a Swab single. One out later Gragnani grounded to Travis at second base, who slipped when pivoting to throw to second, then got up and threw errantly to first, allowing the runners to move to second and third while Proscia scored. Pinch hitter Ryan Levine (So., Montvale, N.J.) grounded out to bring in Swab with the tying run.
FSU wasted no time in grabbing the lead back in the 10th as Lopez launched a 1-1 Lewicki offering over the right-center field wall for his second home run of 2011. UVa threatened in the bottom of the 10th but left a runner on third base.
Virginia next plays on Tuesday and Wednesday as Towson comes to town for a two-game series. Both games will begin at 5 p.m.