Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Challenge Stirs 'Noles Richie HR Sparks Late Rally Past UF

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Challenge Stirs 'Noles Richie HR Sparks Late Rally Past UF

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union sports writer

TALLAHASSEE -- If the character of a baseball team is revealed in the face of adversity, Florida State coach Mike Martin has got to like the makeup of his top-ranked Seminoles.

Trailing 4-1 with just two hits off Florida starter Keith Ramsey as they headed into the bottom of the sixth, the Seminoles summoned their best effort down the stretch. Tony Richie sparked FSU's third consecutive come-from-behind victory with a two-run homer in the sixth and the Seminoles exposed the Gators inexperienced bullpen during a six-run seventh, pulling away for a 9-4 victory at chilly Dick Howser Stadium.

"I think it showed a lot of character for our team," Richie said. "It just shows we're mentally tough and we're ready to play whoever."

The Seminoles (17-4) are beginning to develop a knack for coming from behind, after rallying from an early 2-0 deficit for a 5-4 win in Friday's series-opener in Gainesville. Eight times this season the Seminoles have trailed heading into the fourth, and on five occasions they've come back to win.

Four of those wins have come against top-10 teams: two against Florida and one each against Stanford and Arizona State.

"I'm extremely proud of our ballclub to come back like we did," Martin said, pointing toward the Florida dugout. "That ballclub over there is for real. That's a definite regional team."

First-year Florida coach Pat McMahon certainly likes the way his team has opened up the season, but realizes the Gators must develop some bullpen depth if they're going to reach their full potential.

"Keith Ramsey pitched extremely well," McMahon said. "We know that Florida State is an outstanding offensive club, a veteran club and an experienced club in their ballpark. Any time you walk the number of guys we do, you open the door for big-run innings and that's what we did.

"With our young pitching staff, that's something we have to work through, and we will work through. …

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