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May 7, 2012
Sloppy play in the field and on the basepaths caught up to Florida State on Monday night.
Hours after earning the No. 1 ranking in all four major polls, the Seminoles (39-8) didn't play up to the billing, piling up miscues on the way to an 8-5 loss in its series finale with Maryland at Dick Howser Stadium.
The Seminoles (39-8, 21-3 ACC) watched its 4-0 lead evaporate with all of the mistakes, which ranged from fielding errors to wild pitched to bad baserunning to allowing the game-winning and insurance runs - that's two runs - on a single suicide squeeze in the eighth.
"It was ugly," said FSU coach Mike Martin, whose team heads to Stetson for a two-game set on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The most notable missteps came in the eighth inning. Tied at 5-5, Florida State allowed Maryland's leadoff hitter on base with a throwing error from Justin Gonzalez, which was followed by a single and a sacrifice bunt to get runners on second and third with only one out. Maryland's Kyle Convissar then laid down a suicide squeeze, which scored the eventual winning run. But as FSU reliever Robert Benincasa lobbed the ball to first for the out, the second Maryland runner rounded third and beat the play at the plate to make it 7-5.
And when it seemed FSU would show signs of life in the bottom half of the eighth, its spurt was spoiled with a baserunning error. After Stephen Spradling was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, pinch hitter Devon Travis, who was out of the lineup due to a ingrown toenail, ripped a double to left field. But Spradling was caught in a rundown after circling third base, which turned a potential two-on, one-out situation into Travis on third with two outs. FSU would not score in the inning. Spradling was picked off the bases twice on Monday night.
"(The baserunning errors) were obviously disappointing, but I hope we got them out of our system because we certainly did make some mistakes on the bases that we haven't made this year," Martin said. "There's no excuse for it from a coaching standpoint, we just have to do a better job of working on that."
Maryland, which was 4-64 all-time against FSU entering Monday, added another run on a wild pitch in the ninth to make it 8-5.
FSU also had three misplays in the outfield that led to multiple Maryland runs.
Florida State's offense was sparked by Sherman Johnson, who was 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI.
FSU starter Luke Weaver cruised through the first three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth. Maryland would score three times in the frame and Weaver was replaced by Hunter Scantling before making an out in the top of the fourth. Leading 4-0, FSU allowed Maryland to score three times in the fourth, a spurt sparked by a Jayce Boyd throwing error with one on and none out. Mack Waugh (3-2) earned the loss.
Martin hopes his team will move on from this sloppy affair and quickly turn its focus to the Hatters on Tuesday.
"You don't dwell on this," Martin said. "If you dwell on it, you will stay up half the night ? all I can think about is that we're leaving (for Stetson) in 10 hours."
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