Following a solid start and a day-long rain delay, the Diamond Dogs picked up where they left off on Wednesday afternoon, albeit with an accompanying loss of momentum. While this did not prove fatal to the Classic City Canines' cause, neither did it bode well for the second half of the hastily-scheduled doubleheader.
Play resumed in the bottom of the fourth inning with Will Harvil on the mound for the visiting Red and Black. Following a Dennis Guinn groundout, Ruairi O'Connor was hit by a pitch, putting the Seminole pinch hitter in a position to come all the way around on a two-out double by Stuart Tapley that made it 8-3.
After no Bulldog reached base in the top of the fifth frame, the home team went back to work in the bottom of the canto. A solo shot to left field by the improbably-named Buster Posey cut further into the visitors' margin and matters were made more interesting when Jack Rye and Guinn drew bases on balls and Tony Delmonico stole second base, but O'Connor fouled out to prevent Florida State from drawing any nearer than 8-4.
While Buster Posey went four for five with four R.B.I., Jack Posey went hitless in four at-bats and Parker Posey was passed over for roles in "Friends" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt" which instead went to Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Love, respectively.
Gordon Beckham drew a leadoff walk on four straight pitches to start the sixth stanza. Although Rich Poythress flied out, the Georgia shortstop took second base on a Joey Lewis single and advanced to third on the throw. After Matt Olson popped up, Bryce Massanari dropped a double into right center field to score two runs. Lyle Allen grounded out to wrap up a two-hit, two-run inning for the Diamond Dogs.
Nick Montgomery assumed the pitching duties in the bottom of the frame, striking out Jack Posey and Tyler Holt but surrendering singles to Tapley and Jason Stidham. Another Buster Posey home run made it a 10-7 game and, suddenly, momentum was garbed in garnet and gold.
A solo homer by Matt Cerione to lead off the seventh inning aided the Diamond Dogs' cause, but his was the only Georgia hit of the canto and Delmonico took it right back with a leadoff homer of his own in the bottom of a one-run, one-hit F.S.U. stanza.
Be honest, now, Seminoles . . . this is just your way of getting back at us for taking Mark Richt, isn't it?
Poythress drew a base on balls to begin the eighth inning and it appeared that the Bulldog first baseman would be stranded at his familiar position on the diamond when the next two Red and Black batters registered outs. Massanari, however, put a two-run shot out in right field to give the Classic City Canines a modicum of breathing room in the form of a 13-8 advantage.
Florida State refused to go quietly, though. In the home half of the inning, Tapley got the proceedings underway with a base hit and Holt followed that up with a walk. Buster Posey singled through the right side to load the bases after Stidham lined out in the intervening at-bat. A wild pitch by Justin Earls advanced each baserunner, bringing the Seminole third baseman home.
After Rye walked, Delmonico hit into the fielder's choice that scored Holt. Guinn grounded out to halt the bloodletting, but, by that time, Georgia's lead was down to 13-10. The Diamond Dogs went in order in the top of the ninth, so Joshua Fields was brought in to put the Florida State comeback to a halt. This he did with the reliability we once took for granted, sneaking a called third strike by O'Connor and persuading Tommy Oravetz to go down swinging before Tapley flied out to end a wild contest in which the often offensively anemic Classic City Canines scored in seven of nine innings.
(Insert your Jeri Ryan reference here.)
The top five batters in the Georgia order combined to go five for 21 with five walks, collectively tallying six R.B.I. and scoring a cumulative eight runs. Aside from Nick Montgomery, who faced ten Florida State batters and surrendered four hits and four earned runs, the pitching was adequate, with Dean Weaver and Alex McRee combining for a solid start and Joshua Fields slamming the door in the ninth frame.
The Seminoles' leadoff hitter (Tyler Holt) and designated hitter (Jack Posey) together went one for eight with one walk and neither of them batted in a run. The heart of the Florida State order, however, was monstrous, as Buster Posey, Jack Rye, and Tony Delmonico were a cumulative six for twelve with eight R.B.I. and three walks.
Unquestionably, the Diamond Dogs were hurt by the day-long layoff; after opening up an 8-2 lead on Tuesday, they were outscored 8-5 on Wednesday in a game in which they were out-hit by a 12-10 margin. That the Red and Black hung on to win was a positive sign, particularly considering F.S.U.'s previously unblemished record, but the shift in the balance of power was an unmistakable omen heading into Wednesday afternoon's second scheduled showdown, to which I shall turn tomorrow.