Tallahassee, Fla.- The No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (32-10, 16-6 ACC) had the game within reach. They led the 3-1 after five and had a chance to win it in the ninth before falling to No. 1 Virginia (36-7, 17-5 ACC) 5-3 in 10 innings.
“I’m very disappointed,” head coach Mike Martin said after the game. “They beat us fair and square. They deserved to win.”
The teams entered the ninth inning with the score tied 3-3. The Cavaliers went down in order in the top half of the inning giving the Seminoles a chance to win in walk-off fashion. Jose Brizuela popped out to start the inning and then John Sansone and Justin Gonzalez singled to give the Seminoles two on with only one out. The Cavaliers chose to intentionally walk Ben DeLuzio loading the bases.
Pinch hitter Ladson Montgomery struck out for the second out after fouling off the first two pitches of the at bat. The Seminoles weren’t done yet though. Virginia’s Whit Mayberry fell behind Josh Delph 3-0 and the Seminoles were one pitch away from a win. With the crowd of 4852 on its feet Josh Delph watched strike one on the outside corner. The crowd noise continued to swell, but Mayberry kept his cool and fired across another strike filling the count. The moment proved to be too much for Delph as he grounded out to second base sending the game to extras.
“That was mentally tough man. I don’t know a lot of player that could do that,” Gonzalez said. “He made three great pitches…Just unfortunate it didn’t go our way. Delph had a great swing, just got in on him a little bit.”
Luke Weaver pitched well in seven-plus innings of work striking out 5. He gave up two homeruns though including an eighth inning bomb by Virginia’s Mike Papi that tied the game. The homer came on Weaver’s 100th and final pitch of the game.
“He was throwing pretty well in the seventh,” said Martin on the decision to send Weaver out for the eighth. “When you have the guy you’re comfortable with on the mound you don’t just want to say ‘you’re through.’”
In a game of inches Florida State was on the wrong side of the ruler Friday night. Gonzalez doubled off the top of the wall in right-center field in the fifth inning, just missing a homerun, Jameis Winston just missed striking out Virginia’s Derek Fisher in the tenth before Fisher hit an RBI double to win the game, and Mayberry barely caught the edge of the strike zone on a 3-0 pitch to Josh Delph with the bases loaded in the ninth.
“Baseball stinks sometimes,” said Weaver after the loss. “Just got to come out here the next day and the day after that and make it not stink.”
Florida State will look to even the series tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
-D.J. Stewart left the game fifth inning with inflammation in his ankle. Stewart hurt his ankle a few weeks ago and missed Wednesday’s game because of it. Martin said after the game that Stewart should be fine and able to play tomorrow. Stewart was 2-2 at the plate before leaving, extending his on base streak to 62 games.