Seminoles avoid sweep with wild win
Florida State gets 10th-inning homer from Lopez to beat Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Sunday is the first day of a new week, but it was also the end of a long week for the fourth-ranked Florida State baseball team.
Playing their fourth consecutive extra-inning game, the fourth-ranked Seminoles got a leadoff homer from Rafael Lopez in the top of the 10th inning and Mike McGee made it stand up in a wild 12-11 victory against No. 5 Virginia.
The Seminoles (16-4, 4-2 ACC) avoided a series sweep by registering their 23rd consecutive Sunday victory, dating to their 2009 ACC Tournament championship game loss to the Cavaliers (19-2, 5-1). In the process, FSU stopped Virginia's 13-game winning streak, which included a pair of extra-inning triumphs over the `Noles on Friday and Saturday.
It was the fifth consecutive one-run game involving the Seminoles.
On a day when FSU coach Mike Martin shuffled his lineup in an effort to avoid the series sweep, James Ramsey drove in a career-high five runs and Lopez knocked in three more.
McGee, who suffered a quadriceps strain in Friday's series opener, earned the win with two innings of relief. He finished off the victory by striking out series-long nemesis Steven Proscia with the tying run at second base in the home half of the 10th.
Virginia's offense kicked in quickly in the first inning. With one out John Barr rallied from a 1-2 count to coax a walk. He stole second and Hicks followed with a walk. Danny Hultzen then took a 3-2 pitch to right field for a single to score Barr and advance Hicks to second, and Proscia ripped a single through the hole at shortstop to bring Hicks around to score.
FSU broke into the scoring column with a three-run third inning to take the lead. Lopez drew a leadoff walk. Stuart Tapley followed with a single to left-center to move Lopez to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Gonzalez. Devon Travis then lofted a high fly ball to center which Reed Gragnani lost in the sun, resulting in a double. After Seth Miller struck out, Ramsey ripped a line drive off the tip of Keith Werman's glove at second base, scoring both runners and giving the Seminoles a 3-2 lead.
The Cavaliers took the lead back with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Proscia led off with a single and scored on a Swab double to right-center. Bruno then ripped a single to left to move Swab to third, and Gragnani broke the tie with a groundout to second.
FSU forged ahead with a run in the sixth. Miller drew a leadoff walk and advanced on a sacrifice. He scored when Sean Gilmartin pulled a single through the right side of the infield.
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UVa then scored three in its half of the sixth to grab the lead back. Bruno hit the first pitch of the inning just inside third base and down the left-field line for a double. He scored when Gragnani grounded back up the middle and off the glove of a diving Travis at second base. Werman moved Gragnani to second with a sac bunt, and Gragnani advanced to third on a single to center by Chris Taylor. Barr put down a suicide squeeze and executed it to perfection, beating out the bunt with Gragnani scoring to push the UVa lead to 6-4. After Hicks was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Hultzen beat out the throw to first on a fielder's choice as Taylor scored.
Florida State tied the game in the seventh with a two-out double from Ramsey. Lopez led off with a single off reliever Scott Silverstein (Jr., Brookeville, Md.). Shane Halley (Jr., Burke, Va.) took the mound and walked Tapley, got Gonzalez to fly out and walked Travis to load the bases. After Halley froze Miller on a called third strike, Ramsey lofted a fly ball down the left-field line; Barr made a diving attempt after a long run but was unable to corral the ball. All three runners scored easily on the double to tie the game.
The Seminoles added four in the eighth inning. The first four batters reached, with all four scoring. Jayce Boyd led off with a single and Sherman Johnson was hit by a pitch. Lopez doubled to right to score the runners and give FSU a 9-7 lead. Tapley then laid down a bunt and all hands were safe when the throw to third was late. Pitcher Whit Mayberry then balked to force another run in and one out later Miller reached on a UVa fielding error, with pinch runner Tye Buckley scoring on the play to push the FSU lead to 11-7.
Virginia fought back with two in the eighth and two more in the ninth. Hicks hit a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth, his third long ball of the year. In the ninth, Proscia reached on a throwing error and moved to third on a Swab single. One out later Gragnani grounded to Travis at second base, who slipped when pivoting to throw to second, then got up and threw errantly to first, allowing the runners to move to second and third while Proscia scored. Pinch hitter Ryan Levine grounded out to bring in Swab with the tying run.
FSU wasted no time in grabbing the lead back in the 10th as Lopez launched a 1-1 Lewicki offering over the right-center field wall for his second home run of 2011. UVa threatened in the bottom of the 10th but left a runner on third base.