In the renewal of their rivalry with an undefeated and 14th-ranked Florida State squad last seen losing twice to its hosts in Athens, the Diamond Dogs opened the two-game series with the Seminoles in a Tuesday night outing that was at once decisive and inconclusive.
Despite the fact that Ryan Peisel turned a 3-1 pitch into a flyout to lead off the first inning, the game got off to a solid start for the Classic City Canines, as Michael Demperio parked a single in center field and Gordon Beckham followed that up with the home run that gave the visitors a 2-0 lead. Joey Lewis later reached on a fielding error, but the Bulldogs produced no other baserunners for the remainder of the frame.
The Seminoles gave no ground in the bottom of the canto, as Tyler Holt got the proceedings underway with a base hit and, after Jason Stidham popped up, Buster Posey singled through the right side to advance the F.S.U. center fielder to second base. A Jack Rye double plated a pair of runs. Subsequent walks by Tony Delmonico and Ohmed Danesh went for naught, but the home team had tied the game.
F.S.U. shortstop Tony Delmonico went hitless in one at-bat with one walk and was portrayed by Jonathan Dasteel during the first season of "Hill Street Blues" . . . which is an unbelievably obscure 1980s cultural reference, even for me.
Bryce Massanari put the first pitch of the second stanza into play and reached base on a throwing error. After Lyle Allen stared at a called third strike, Matt Cerione drew the walk that allowed Peisel to advance the runners with a base hit. When the Georgia third baseman took second base on the throw, Massanari scored an unearned run to give the Diamond Dogs possession of the lead once more.
Demperio walked to load the bases and another run was forced home when Beckham was plunked. Rich Poythress walked to add to the visitors' advantage; by the time Matt Olson grounded out to end the inning, the Red and Black had taken a 6-2 lead on a one-hit, four-run frame.
Although Stuart Tapley led off the home half of the canto with a base hit, Holt grounded into a double play and the inning ended swiftly. Consecutive doubles by Allen and Cerione in the top of the third frame extended the Georgia lead to 7-2 and a pitching change from Dean Weaver to Alex McRee at the midpoint of the stanza resulted in Florida State going three up and three down in the bottom of the third.
Beckham walked on four straight pitches to begin the fourth inning, but the Bulldog shortstop was caught stealing, so the bases were empty for Poythress when he doubled to center field. After Lewis reached on the fielding error that allowed the Red and Black first baseman to take third base, the Seminoles switched pitchers and Tyler Everett proceeded to walk Olson with his first four throws to home plate.
After a sacrifice fly by Massanari bought home an unearned run and a wild pitch allowed both remaining baserunners to advance, Allen popped up to end the visitors' turn at the plate. Before F.S.U. could come back up to bat, however, the long-threatened inclement weather finally arrived, necessitating that the balance of the contest be postponed until 2:00 on Wednesday afternoon, when play will resume for what now will be an afternoon double-header.
At the time the game was delayed, the first five batters at the top of the Bulldog order (Ryan Peisel, Michael Demperio, Gordon Beckham, Rich Poythress, and Joey Lewis) had combined to go four for ten with a trio of walks and, between them, they had batted in six runs. All of Florida State's runs, by contrast, came off of the bat of Jack Rye.
Hopefully, the postponement will not blunt the Classic City Canines' momentum, so that the Red and Black will continue their dominance during the resumption of a game in which the Seminoles already have committed a trio of errors and the Diamond Dogs have scored at least one run in every inning of play. With any luck, David Perno's squad will close the deal in the continuation of the first game and will see that performance carried over into the second outing.
Stay tuned. . . .