TALLAHASSEE-Clinging to a 7-5 lead with two runners on in the ninth inning, a flu-ridden Chris Perez unleashed a radar gun-busting fastball to strike out Florida State’s Dennis Guinn and preserve a crucial series win for Miami.
Perez, who was too sick to leave the hotel Saturday, nailed down victories for Carlos Gutierrez and Scott Maine on Friday and Sunday to lead the Hurricanes past the No. 2 Seminoles. Gutierrez allowed two runs on five hits in six innings to improve to 8-3, while Maine overcame a rocky first inning to strike out a career-high eight and pick up his sixth victory. Both starters dealt with hostile crowds at Dick Howser Stadium.
As a staff, the Hurricanes struck out 13 Seminoles on Sunday.
Freshman left fielder Blake Tekotte emerged from a 7-for-51 slump with a pair of home runs, highlighting a 3-for-4 afternoon. Tekotte’s three hits tied a career high. Junior designated hitter Richard O’Brien blasted a home run and knocked in two runs to help reduce FSU starter Barret Browning to his shortest outing (three innings) of the year.
Friday’s win featured another dramatic moment for Miami. Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning against Florida State ace Bryan Henry, Danny Valencia jacked a 3-2 fastball off the left field scoreboard with the bases loaded for his first career grand slam and a 5-2 Hurricane advantage. Valencia’s grand slam was the first the Seminoles have allowed this season.
FSU made it interesting in the last few innings, however. Buster Posey doubled off the high wall in right field to score All-America Shane Robinson in the seventh to make it a 5-3 game. Perez entered for the eighth and ninth innings and loaded the bases in each frame. The junior closer induced a Robinson fly out in the eighth and escaped from the ninth with a force out at second to clinch the series opener.