COLLEGE BASEBALL: Seminoles Suffer First Loss of 2015 Season at JU

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A late ninth inning rally was to no avail Wednesday night in Jacksonville as No. 12 Florida State (3-1) suffered its first loss of the 2015 season falling to the Dolphins (2-2) 5-3 inside John Sessions Stadium.

The Seminoles had the tying run at second base in the ninth but Nathan Disch struck out Josh Delph for the final out of the game to preserve the win and pick-up his first save of the season.

Trailing by three heading into the ninth, the Seminoles pushed a run across when Danny De La Calle smashed a bases loaded RBI single over the out stretched glove of JU left fielder Austin Hays. With the base runners not sure if Hays would come up with the catch, the runners advanced just one base resulting in a run down with De La Calle being thrown at first.

“It was just a great fight that we put up (in the ninth),” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “Unfortunately things did not go our way. We have to throw this one away and be ready to go this weekend.”

The Seminoles, who finished the game with just four hits, registered two in the ninth including De La Calle’s RBI single and an infield single by Taylor Walls for his first collegiate hit. The loss Wednesday night snapped Florida State’s nine-game win streak in the series as it marked Jacksonville’s first win over FSU since April 14, 2010.

“You have to credit Jacksonville,” added Martin. “They did a good job; we made some mistakes that were unfortunate but it’s over with and we have to put our attention to a very, very good Georgia team.”

Jacksonville starter Jeff Tanner (1-0) was the story on Wednesday as the redshirt junior right hander worked 5.0 strong innings giving up just two runs on two hits as he walked two and struck out a career-high eight batters.

“He really did a nice job tonight,” said Martin. “For a guy that hasn’t played in a long time he was very impressive tonight.”

Making just his second appearance since missing the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, Tanner kept the Seminole bats at bay as seven of his eight strikeouts were recorded in the first three innings. The eight strikeouts eclipsed Tanner’s previous high of four set on three separate occasions in 2013.

The JU bullpen was equally impressive as three relievers combined for seven more strikeouts. Spencer Stockton worked the sixth and seventh innings striking out five of the seven batters that he faced. In all, four Jacksonville pitchers combined to register 15 strikeouts on the evening.

Bryant Holtmann (1-1), making his first start of the year, suffered the loss as the senior southpaw allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits in 3.0 plus innings of work.

Florida State used five pitchers on the night. Drew Carlton followed Holtmann and worked 3.0 innings allowing an unearned run on one hit as he finished with four strikeouts. Derek Vail, Alec Byrd and Jim Voyles all saw action Wednesday night. Voyles worked a perfect eighth inning retiring the side in order on a pair of groundouts and a strikeout.

Jacksonville grabbed the early lead on Wednesday afternoon taking advantage of a Seminole error to plate a run in the first. Holtmann issued walks to the first two Dolphin hitters that he faced before getting Connor Marabell to hit a groundball right back to the mound. But an errant throw by the Seminole southpaw over to the bag at second brought home Cameron Gibson for the first run of the ballgame.

It wasn’t until the top of the fourth when the Seminoles recorded their first hit of the afternoon as DJ Stewart led off the inning with a double to the gap in right center. The junior outfielder would score three batters later to tie the game at 1-1 on a sac fly to the warning track in left by Quincy Nieporte for his first RBI as a Seminole.

The tie was short lived as the Dolphins answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead at 3-1. JU recorded three straight hits off Holtmann to open the inning with the third hit, a two-run double down the line in left by former Seminole JJ Gould, giving Jacksonville a two-run cushion.

Holtmann would exit after the hit by Gould coming out of the game due to a blister on his throwing hand. Carlton came in and got the Seminoles out of further danger retiring the side in order with three consecutive groundouts to end the inning.

Florida State drew within one of the JU lead in the fifth plating a run on its second sac-fly of the afternoon. Walls drew a walk off Tanner to open the inning and moved to third on a single to left center by De La Calle. Delph followed with a sac-fly to left to score Walls and cut the deficit to 3-2.

Jacksonville got the run back in the bottom half of the inning taking advantage of FSU’s second error of the game. Gibson led off the inning with a double to left off Carlton, moved to third on a groundout to second by Marabell and scored when Sansone could not squeeze a short pop fly over his shoulder off the bat of Hays.

The Dolphins pushed their lead to 5-2 with a run in the seventh off Vail but it could have been more if it wasn’t for a pair of nice defensive plays from the left side of the infield. With the bases loaded and a run already in, Alec Byrd got Hays to hit a groundball to short that Walls turned into a double play with an out at home and then to first. Dylan Busby followed with a nice back handed play at third and then made a strong throw to first to get Dillard for the third out of the inning.

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