The unpredictability of baseball reared its head once again Wednesday night in Tallahassee.
After a 97-minute wait for the game's first pitch, Florida Gulf Coast (11-18) jumped on Seminole starter Scott Sitz right away. Although the Eagles would later add to a pair of first-inning runs, that was all they would need on the way to an unlikely 5-1 win over second-ranked Florida State (24-5).
"In all honesty, you just tip your hat to that club," said Seminole head coach Mike Martin. "They did a great job. We made no errors. We obviously did things we needed to do to get ourselves back in the ball game and just happened to hit some balls at people."
With two outs and a runner on in the top of the first, Sitz (1-2) allowed back-to-back RBI hits to the meat of the Gulf Coast order. But after Sean Dwyer doubled to left center to open the scoring and Brandon Bednar tacked on a second run with a single, Sitz quickly righted the ship. The junior righty retired the next 16 Eagles he faced in order, finishing with a career high in strikeouts (nine) and innings pitched (six).
As for the Seminole offense, it was held to just three hits for the second time in three games. Twice the bases were left loaded in the game, including a dramatic fly out off the bat of shortstop Justin Gonzalez in the eighth.
Representing the tying run, Gonzalez brought the crowd to its feet as he hit a 3-1 fastball to the deepest part of Mike Martin Field. The ball ended up in center fielder Ryan Gebhart's glove just a couple of feet from clearing the center field fence.
"That's about as hard as I can hit a baseball," Gonzalez said after the game.
Although Wednesday served as another light-hitting affair, Martin said he would be more concerned if the outs weren't hit sharply at fielders. Instead, he said it will be the job of the coaching staff to keep the players heads up and move on to a weekend series with Georgia Tech.
"It was a good baseball game," Martin said. "We got out of some jams to keep ourselves in it. I'm proud of our ball club for fighting, obviously disappointed. But, we can't dwell on this. We've got to move on to the next one."
Pitching in a controlled start, Gulf Coast starter Harrison Cooney looked like anything but the 5.60 ERA listed next to his name on the probables' list. Cooney (1-2) was impressive in his four innings, earning the win after allowing no runs on one hit and two walks while striking out three.
On the flip side of the deviation from the numbers, FSU relievers Kyle Bird and Gage Smith had uncharacteristic outings as the pair was charged with three runs combined while recording just one out. Bryant Holtmann, Hunter Scantling and Brian Busch recorded the final eight outs without allowing a run.
"You look at numbers and you can become, it can be very deceiving," Martin said. "This is the greatest game in the world in that it is the most unpredictable game."
With his walk in the third inning, Sherman Johnson has now reached base safely in each of the 29 games the Seminoles have played this season. It was one of three walks for Johnson on the evening.
Although the Seminoles registered just three hits, it wasn't as if there was a lack of baserunners. The 'Noles earned seven walks and stranded eight runners on base.
Florida State moves on to face Georgia Tech in Atlanta, with game one scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. EST.