The Florida State Seminoles knocked off the Georgia Bulldogs 8-2 on Saturday evening due in part to a clutch postseason performance from freshman Sean Gilmartin.
The game was a pitcher’s duel for the first seven innings, but the Seminoles never trailed and finally pulled away late in the game. Second baseman Jason Stidham had five RBI, with three coming off a triple in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Gilmartin’s outing was key to keeping the Florida State bullpen fresh for the remaining games this weekend. The lefthander threw a complete game, allowing just five hits before the crowd of 5,217 at Dick Howser Stadium.
Gilmartin’s outing was challenged by Georgia’s starter, Trevor Holder. Although Holder allowed four runs in the first two innings, he settled down and retired 12 batters in a row in the middle innings.
However, as the pitch count swelled, the ‘Noles began to realize that Holder would not be able to finish the game and the late innings would be handled by the Georgia bullpen.
With one out in the bottom of the 8th inning, UGA turned to reliever Will Harvil to keep the Seminole scoring drought rolling.
But Jason Stidham had other plans.
After striking out Tyler Holt, Harvil gave up a single to Stephen Cardullo and walked Mike McGee. With the bases loaded, Stidham laced a ball off the right field screen and circled the bases for a triple that cleared the bases.
Georgia had only one shining moment on offense, and it occurred in the top of the 4th inning when first baseman Rich Poythress crushed a Gilmartin pitch off the scoreboard in left field for a two-run homer. Poythress now has four home runs in the Tallahassee Regional.
The Poythress home run was one of just three hits recorded yesterday by the top four hitters in Georgia’s lineup. The 3-for-16 hitting day for the Dawgs’ 1-4 hitters was a far cry from the damage done against Ohio State on Friday afternoon, where those players went a combined 8-for-17 with 14 RBI.
The Dawgs will face Ohio State today at noon in an elimination game, with the winner facing Florida State at 4 p.m. Keep in mind that the winner of the UGA/OSU game would have to beat Florida State twice in order to advance, as both teams are now in the loser’s bracket and the ‘Noles remain in the winner’s bracket.
If Florida State lost the 4 p.m. game today, they will get another shot tomorrow at 7 p.m. to win before being eliminated.
One thing we do know is that the Seminoles will go with sophomore Mike McGee to start today’s game. He is usually the Sunday starter for FSU, so today will be a comfortable day for him. So far this season, McGee has accrued a 5-2 record with a 4.22 ERA. The rightie has walked 41 batters this season, the most of any pitcher on the staff, and control will be a key to keeping the score down.
Oh, and he is one of the offensive heroes of the season for the ‘Noles as well. His opponent will have their hands full indeed.
As we all know, Georgia beat Ohio State 24-8 in the first meeting between the two teams. The most intriguing question concerning the first game is: will UGA head coach David Perno “call off the dogs” if the game yet again gets out of hand?
With another game immediately after the elimination game, the winner will need to conserve runs in order to not wear out in the first game.
My predictions for today: Georgia spanks Ohio State 12-1, and then goes on to beat FSU tonight 9-7.
Let’s hope I’m wrong again!