The game got off to the worst possible start for the host squad, as Georgia pitcher Brooks Brown gave up a leadoff home run to Florida State's first batter, Shane Robinson, who began a 2-for-3 night at the plate with a bang. Tony Thomas, Jr., began the third inning with a base hit to left field and he came around to score following a Robinson walk and a Jack Rye single, giving the Seminoles a 2-0 advantage. The visiting team's lead grew to 3-0 when Danny Diaz hit a solo shot to left field in the fifth frame.
Brooks Brown gave up six earned runs, seven hits, and three home runs in six innings of work. (Photograph by Diane Cebula/Athens Banner-Herald.)
Meanwhile, the Red and Black were unable to get anything going offensively. The top of the Georgia order went quietly in the bottom of the first frame and Josh Morris's leadoff double to start the second inning was squandered when each of the next three Bulldog batters struck out. An error and a pair of fielder's choices produced baserunners for the Diamond Dogs in the third stanza, but none of them came around to score. Likewise, a pair of walks in the fourth inning came to naught for the home team.
The Red and Black went into the bottom of the fifth frame trailing 3-0 at the halfway point of the contest. It was then that the Bulldogs at long last got to work with their bats. Matthew Dunn reached first base on an error and Jonathan Wyatt took advantage of the F.S.U. miscue, punching a single through the left side to advance the Georgia second baseman. Joey Side's subsequent home run tied the game heading into the sixth frame.
If the 3,351 fans on hand for Saturday evening's contest at Foley Field included the F.S.U. Cowgirls, it's no wonder the Diamond Dogs were too distracted to play their best.
Unfortunately, the 'Noles retook the lead in the top of the ensuing inning. Rye drew a base on balls and Buster Posey knocked a base hit up the middle. Ryne Malone's sacrifice bunt advanced both Sunshine State baserunners and, after the Florida State right fielder was picked off at third base, a walk to Dennis Guinn set up the Travis Anderson home run that made the score 6-3.
The Seminoles gave back a portion of the recovered ground in the bottom of the sixth stanza. Between them, the four F.S.U. pitchers used during the inning plunked Bobby Felmy, surrendered a single to Jason Jacobs, and walked Dunn and Wyatt, which made the score 6-4 in favor of the visiting squad.
The last three innings were without scoring but not without drama. The bottom of the ninth commenced with a leadoff walk by Side to bring the tying run to the plate. Gordon Beckham, who had failed to get a hit in any of his first four at-bats, was overdue, but the Bulldog shortstop grounded into a double play to end the rally. After that, the contest ended with a whimper when Morris grounded out to the Seminole third baseman.
It got a bit confusing in the ninth inning when F.S.U. fans, determined to squelch the budding Bulldog rally, began the Seminoles' traditional war chant, complete with the tomahawk chop, and Georgia baseball fans, having been influenced heavily by the nearby Atlanta Braves, countered with . . . um, the tomahawk chop.
Florida State recorded twice as many hits as Georgia (8-4) and Seminole starting pitcher Tyler Chambliss posted his 12th victory of the season. The loss dropped the Diamond Dogs to 42-20 on the year, necessitating that the Red and Black play an elimination game at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow against Jacksonville, which defeated Sacred Heart earlier on Saturday. The winner of Sunday's early outing will face the 'Noles at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow evening.