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March 25, 2012

Wake Forest salvages series finale with 7-5 win

Fourth-ranked Florida State (21-3, 8-1 ACC) fell to Wake Forest (17-9, 4-5 ACC) 7-5 in the series finale Sunday afternoon on Gene Hooks Field inside Wake Forest Baseball Stadium.

The loss snapped FSU's seven-game win streak, while it was the first for the Seminoles in league play this year. It also marked Florida State's first loss in Winston-Salem since 2008.

The Seminoles trailed all afternoon and made a valiant effort to pick-up the come-from-behind win but fell just short in their quest to stay undefeated in the league. After trailing by as many as six runs on Sunday, Florida State scored two in the seventh, one in the eighth and one in the ninth to cut the deficit to two. But it wasn't enough as the Seminoles finished their run of eight games in nine days with a 7-1 record.

"I am pleased with this baseball team," said head coach Mike Martin. "Accomplishing what we did playing eight games in nine days and earning seven wins is a credit to our baseball team."

In the ninth, the Seminoles had the go-ahead run at the plate in John Holland, but Wake Forest closer Michael Dimock got Holland to fly out in foul territory to Demon Deacon third baseman Carlos Lopez for the final out of the game.

Florida State made all its noise in the ninth with two outs as John Nogowski began the rally with a single to right. Giovanny Alfonzo pinch ran for Nogowski at first and moved to second on a walk by Jose Brizuela. Sherman Johnson kept the inning alive with a single through the right side to score Alfonzo. But Dimock needed just one pitch to pick-up his seventh save of the season getting Holland on the very next pitch to fly out to end the game.

"I am proud of our guys," added Martin. "We had a chance to go ahead in the ninth. We had the winning run at the plate. After getting a run in the ninth, we kept chipping away. A credit to our baseball team the way we fought to get back in it."

James Ramsey and Nogowski led the Seminoles with two hits each in the loss. Ramsey homered in the fifth for his team leading ninth home run of the season and his third of the series. Johnson finished 1-for-3 on Sunday as the senior third baseman reached base on five of his six plate appearances drawing a single, three walks and reaching on an error.

Peter Miller (3-1) suffered the loss as the sophomore right hander went 2.2 innings giving up three runs on five hits as he walked one and struck out three. All three runs allowed by Miller came off two home runs, the first two allowed by Miller this year.

Wake's Brian Holmes (5-0) remained perfect on the year as the junior southpaw went 5.0 innings allowing a run on two hits. He finished with eight strikeouts but walked a career-high six.

Florida State threatened in the first when Holmes issued three walks to load the bases, but the junior lefty got Justin Gonzalez swinging on strikes for the third out to keep the game scoreless.

Johnson was one of those three Seminoles to draw a walk in the first inning to extend his streak of reaching base safely to all 24 games this year.

The Demon Deacons took the early lead in game three on a solo home run by Lopez to start the bottom of the second. The Wake third baseman took a 1-1 pitch from Miller out of the park to right for his eighth home run of the season. The Deacs threatened to add more as Mark Rhine and Kevin Jordan put together back-to-back base hits, but Miller settled down and registered a pop up to short and a fielder's choice groundout to second to keep the Seminole deficit at one.

Wake increased its lead to 3-0 on its second home run of the afternoon. Pat Blair reached on a single to left and scored a batter later on Mac Williamson's home run to right The Demon Deacon center fielder took advantage of the short perch in right as his fly ball kept carrying just beyond the 300 foot fence in right for his eighth home run of the year.

Brandon Johnson was charged with a run in the fourth as he retired the first two batters to start the inning on a pair of fly outs before hitting Evan Stephens on the arm. Mack Waugh entered the game and gave up a two-out RBI double to Blair as Stephens scored from second to give the Deacs a 4-0 advantage.

Ramsey got the Seminoles on the board in the fifth as he connected on a solo shot to right. The senior captain hit a line drive out of the park to right on a 2-1 pitch from Holmes to cut into the Wake Forest lead at 4-1.

The Deacs responded with two more runs in the fifth to push their lead to 6-1. With runners at second and third and two outs, designated hitter Jack Carey bounced a base hit back up the middle off Waugh to plate a pair.

Wake Forest added an unearned run in the sixth for a 7-1 lead. Blair drew a one-out walk off Waugh, stole second and third and scored on an errant throw by from behind the plate on the steal attempt at third.

Florida State cut the deficit to 7-3 scoring twice in the seventh. Ramsey opened the inning reaching on a walk and moved to second on a single through the left side by Jayce Boyd. Both runners advanced 90 feet on a passed ball. Gonzalez drove in the first run of the inning on a groundout to first. Boyd later scored on an RBI single through the middle by Nogowski.

The Seminoles added a run in the eighth when Johnson walked for the third time on Sunday, moved to third on a double by Ramsey and scored on a sac-fly to right off the bat of Boyd.

Brian Busch looked impressive in his 1.2 innings of work as the senior lefty allowed one hit and struck out three. Hunter Scantling pitched a perfect ninth as he faced the minimum and struck out two.

Florida State will now travel to Jacksonville where they will face No. 1 Florida at the Baseball Grounds on Tuesday, March 27. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports, while fans can listen to the game locally on 1270 AM and over the internet at Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can receive updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.



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