TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Dick Howser Stadium was packed and rowdy for today’s game between Georgia and Florida State. A near-capacity crowd of 5,127 was on hand to see the Seminoles break open a close game in the late innings to win 8-2.
What set up on paper as a very good pitching matchup between Georgia and Florida State got off to a rough start for the Bulldogs. Righthander Trevor Holder suffered through a 35-pitch first inning that saw him walk two batters and hit a third. The good news for Georgia was that Holder allowed only one run.
Holder struggled again in the second, falling behind several FSU batters. This time the ‘Noles were able to break through with two big two-out hits—a double from left fielder Mike McGee and a single from second baseman Jason Stidham—that plated three runs.
Later in the inning, after a sharp single from third baseman Stuart Tapley put runners on first and third, Georgia coach David Perno had a meeting with Holder on the mound. Perno later recounted his conversation with his senior righty: "He had a choice of either coming out and being able to pitch Monday or staying in the game and saving the bullpen."
Holder chose the latter. As the "Animals of Section 4" serenaded Holder with their rendition of "Take Me Out of the Ballgame," he settled down. Holder retired 16 of the next 20, including 12 in a row at one point, and did not allow another run until the eighth. Holder left the game after throwing 125 pitches in a gutsy performance that even got a standing ovation from the Florida State fans in attendance.
The Seminoles’ two-out success came again against righthanded reliever Will Harvil. Harvil loaded the bases and got Stidham into an 0-2 hole. Stidham then smoked a line drive off of the chain-link fence in right-center for a three-run triple, making the score 8-2.
The story of the game was Florida State freshman lefty Sean Gilmartin, who was simply spectacular. Gilmartin held a powerful Bulldog offense in check, throwing nine scoreless innings. He had complete control, baffling Georgia batters again and again with a plus changeup, solid fastball, and tight curve. Gilmartin went to a three-ball count just twice in the game, walked none, and gave up just five hits. Gilmartin struck out six in the first complete game of the season by a Seminoles starter. It was the first pcomplete game by a Seminole since June 4, 2005, when Bryan Henry beat Auburn in the Tallahassee Regional.
"It was the type of game you just want to get excited about, but you can’t because there is a lot of baseball left to be played," Florida State coach Mike Martin said. "But Sean was just outstanding."
Georgia’s offense, which exploded yesterday for 24 runs, got its only runs from big first baseman Rich Poythress. Poythress belted his 25th homer of the year to give the Bulldogs their only two runs of the game.
Georgia will now take on Ohio State in an elimination game at noon tomorrow. The winner of that game will play Florida State at 4:00 p.m.