Once again Florida State is off to a fast start in conference play. This time, the Seminoles (15-0, 3-0) swept Boston College (3-11, 0-3) to start the ACC season. Yes, FSU was expected to win these games with some ease considering BC was picked to finish near the bottom of the ACC in preseason. However, it is good to see FSU has come out strong against teams a little more meaningful than some of their previous competition thus far.
The 15-0 start is the school’s best start since 2007 when they opened with a school record 23 straight wins. The 15-0 mark also ties for the second best start with the 1975 club.
Florida State is now 21-4 all-time against the Eagles.
What to Take Away from the Series:
The main thing that came out of this series is that the pitching is really, really good. Even though it was against a weak Boston College team, the competition is still better than some of the earlier teams. Brandon Leibrandt was phenomenal on Friday, coming within five outs of a no-hitter. Scott Sitz wasn’t as good as he has been this season, but he still pitched much better than some outings from last year and came away with his third win. Peter Miller continued to show why he should remain the Sunday starter with one of his best days this year.
I know I’ve mentioned it in the past, but this team might be able to make up for the loss of Mike Compton considering how well both Sitz and Miller have performed early on this year.
Importance of the Series:
This series is important for the fact that FSU is now playing conference games. By all means, Boston College is not the best in the ACC, but they can still cause some havoc by pulling off a few upsets. Luckily for Florida State, they avoided the upset from BC. FSU still has a lot of conference games to go, but getting off to a fast start is crucial when it comes time to play for the championship in Durham, N.C. The Seminoles will continue their conference play this weekend with a trip up to Maryland.
Here is how each individual game broke down.
FSU once again got off to a fast start, just like many of the games up to this point. The Seminoles scored in each of the first three innings and again in the sixth to pull out to a 4-0 lead which would eventually be the final.
Brandon Leibrandt was fantastic on the mound, bringing a no-hitter late into the game. He would surrender the Eagle’s only hit with one out in the eighth inning, a single between short and third. Leibrandt walked four while facing 29. Leibrandt also finished throwing nearly 60 percent of his pitches for strikes (62 of 105).
Leibrandt ran into a few problems, but most of which were not caused by him. The Seminoles defense committed three errors throughout the game which allowed Boston College a great chance to score in the 2nd when they had two on with one out. However, BC ended the inning by hitting into a double play.
FSU didn’t fare as well as they have in earlier games at the plate. The main source of power this season, Marcus Davis, went 0-3 but brought in one with a groundout. Davis also scored a run soon after drawing a walk in the third. Giovanny Alfonzo was the only Seminole with multiple hits, going 2-4 and scoring a run. The one player who probably had the best day at the plate was Josh Delph. Although not registering a hit, Delph scored a run and drew four walks. Typical Florida State baseball, this team is very patient managing nine walks on Friday night.
MVP of the Game:
Brandon Leibrandt – You can’t say enough about Leibrandt. He carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and prevented Boston College from even getting a man on third base. The only hit allowed in the game was a single. Even while walking four and having sloppy defense at times behind him, Leibrandt was the main reason the Eagles were unable to capitalize on the extra opportunities given to them.
Things to Work On:
Once again, just like the opening series of the year, Florida State kept giving extra outs to the opposition. John Nogowski, Jose Brizuela, and John Sansone each had an error and giving BC and extra chance to break into the run column. Through 13 games, Sansone has committed three errors while Brizuela is now on his seventh. Granted Brizuela is playing one of the hardest positions on the field, but seven errors? If it wasn’t for Leibrandt pitching as well as he was, those extra outs could have resulted in a completely different game.
On to something we have yet to hear (or read) this season, Scott Sitz is not perfect and can’t go the entire season throwing scoreless innings. For the first time this season, Sitz gave up a run, actually he gave up four, but only one was earned. Still, even with giving up the runs, Sitz pitched well and gave the team the chance to win. He lasted 5.1 innings and struck out five while only walking two. Sitz threw about 64 percent of his pitches for strikes (61/96).
The first three in the lineup for the Seminoles (Josh Delph, DJ Stewart, and Marcus Davis) all had two RBI a piece, many of which came in the big second inning for FSU when the scored seven on Boston College. Delph got the RBI party started with both of his coming off a single. Not to be outdone, Stewart would follow with a triple bringing in both of his RBIs. Davis would then hit a sac fly to left to bring in Stewart. Stephen McGee would cap off the seven run inning with a solo home run to left.
Once again, the Seminoles gave their opposition extra outs to deal with. This time Florida State gave up some runs due to their mistakes, but was still able to limit any severe damage. It began in the third with a fielding error from Giovanny Alfonzo which brought in two run. Jose Brizuela had yet another error, this time in the sixth inning on a throw which brought in one. This was Brizuela’s eighth error of the year.
MVP of the Game:
Josh Delph – Although DJ Stewart and Marcus Davis both had two RBIs, Delph gave the team more opportunities by getting on base more. Like Stewart and Davis, Delph finished with 2 RBI, but he also scored two runs and finished with more hits (2-4) while drawing a walk. Sitz lasted a remarkable 22 innings, dating back to last year’s College World Series game against UCLA, of scoreless baseball before giving up two runs in the third to the Eagles.
Things to Work On:
Just like the last game, the extra outs will eventually bite FSU where it hurts. They did have one less error this game than last, but still wound up with two on the day. Yet again Jose Brizuela was the victim of the big E, bringing his total to eight this season. Yes Brizuela is playing a difficult position, but there is only so much you can defend a guy. He is now has a .784 fielding percentage this year after 14 games. Giovanny Alfonzo caused the other error in the game for the Seminoles.
If there is one thing you can say about this Seminole team, it’s that they can explode for a ton of runs in any inning and their pitching can shutdown just about anyone. Sunday’s game happened to flash a little of both.
Peter Miller pitched one of his best games, going 5.2 innings against the Eagles while striking out seven and walking two. Considering all the criticism he has received entering the season and after that first start he had this year, Miller appears to have almost everything going for him now. He is pitching well and he is getting a lot of runs put up to give him the lead. Even while giving up six hits, Miller was still able to hold BC off and prevent them from scoring runs. When Miller settled down, he was nearly unhittable. From the third to the sixth inning, Miller sent back 10 of the 11 batters he faced.
At the plate, Florida State put up three in the second to give Miller a lead to work with. All three of the runs came off a three-base fielding error from BC’s leftfielder Logan Hoggarth. FSU would continue to build a lead with one in the sixth from Jose Brizuela’s RBI single to center, bringing the score to 4-0 Noles. Brizuela would finish 3-4 with four RBIs and one run scored. The three hits and four RBI tied a career high for Brizuela.
Florida State would then put the game away in the 7th, scoring five runs off four hits. DJ Stewart started it with an RBI double. Stewart would later be brought home with Stephen McGee on a John Nogowski two RBI double. Nogowski finished 2-4 with two RBI and scoring two runs. Brizuela later recorded two of his four RBIs in that inning with a triple to right center.
MVP of the Game:
Jose Brizuela – As rough as Brizuela has looked on defense at third, he was able to ease the minds of many with his performance at the plate. He tied a career high in hits (3) and RBI (4) while pacing FSU to the big win and the conference opening sweep. Brizuela ended the day 3-4 while scoring a run with 4 RBI.
Things to Work On:
There is nothing major which sticks out from this game. The team had a surprisingly low amount of walks (5), relative to previous games this season, and left six on base. They did come through with a big inning in the 7th and got a great outing from their pitchers today. No errors to report from Sunday as they get ready to travel south for a big matchup on Tuesday.
As alluded to, the Seminoles will travel to Gainesville on Tuesday night for the first of three scheduled matchups against the Gators. Even with UF’s surprising record (8-9), this is still not a team the FSU should be sleeping on. Florida entered the season in the top 25. Since the start of the year, UF has suffered losses to Georgia Southern, Florida Gulf Coast, and North Florida amongst others. The FGCU series saw the Gators being swept. Recently though, UF has played a little better with a 2-1 series win over Miami the first weekend of March followed by two wins over Jacksonville. They just lost a weekend series to Indiana two games to one.
All-time, Florida holds a 54-43 record against Florida State in Gainesville and the Gators have won the last three meetings between the teams. The game is set to start at 7:00 p.m.
Florida State will then travel to Maryland for their first weekend road series. Maryland is currently 10-5 and 1-2 in the ACC. The Terps were swept by LSU to open the season before winning nine consecutive matchups against sub-par opponents. Maryland was able to upset Virginia in the series final against the Cavaliers and prevent the UVA sweep. The Terps will face Marist twice before the Seminoles come to College Park.