Noles Escape Maryland with Series Win

Ryan Syrkus

The Florida State Seminoles played some pretty uninspiring and ugly baseball this weekend. That being said the Noles still finished the weekend by winning a conference series on the road and moved to 18-1 on the season and 5-1 in the ACC.

Ryan had the weekend off and so I will be covering the recaps, Friday's game was available to watch online but Saturday and Sunday's games were not so I am just going to post some highlights from the game recaps.

Friday - Florida State 3, Maryland 5

Friday night the Noles lost their first game of the season after jumping out to an early lead thanks in part to one of Stephen McGee's three hits on the night. The junior catcher had 3 of the 5 hits on the night for Seminoles batters. Maryland quickly countered with a run in the bottom of the first on a double, a stolen base and a fielder's choice. The Noles took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth when a controversial and blatantly wrong call was made by the third base umpire. On a double steal the runner trying to take third was thrown out by at least five feet as he slid into the glove of Jose Brizuela. The umpire made the wrong call and with runners at 2nd and 3rd a single to center gave the Terps a 3-2 lead. The Noles bullpen did well to clean up after Leibrandt and to hold the deficit to only one through the seventh but in the bottom of the 8th everything fell apart. Florida State started that half of the inning tied at 3 but reliever Robby Coles had zero control and a leadoff triple would eventually score on his 2nd wild pitch of the inning.

The Seminoles bats never got going although they did manage to get on base 12 times, four by McGee. Credit to the starting pitcher for Maryland as he threw strikes and let his defense carry him. The same can't be said for Brandon Leibrandt, after a fantastic start a week ago he struggled with his control, was constantly behind batters and finished the day with only 2 strikeouts to 2 walks.

Saturday - Florida State 7, Maryland 6

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - No. 5 Florida State (17-1, 4-1 ACC) overcame three errors and an early three-run deficit to even the series against Maryland (12-6, 2-3 ACC) with a 7-6 victory Saturday afternoon inside Turtle Smith Stadium.

Trailing 4-1 after the first three innings in game two, the Seminoles rallied for two runs in the fourth and four more in the sixth to take a 7-4. But an error by Florida State in the seventh and ninth innings led to a run in each inning opening the door for an exciting finish.

With Florida State ahead 7-5 entering the bottom of the ninth and Robby Coles on the mound looking for the save, Maryland quickly made noise putting the first two batters on following a single by Kyle Convissar and a walk to Kevin Martir. The Seminoles recorded their first out of the inning on a tough play by Giovanny Alfonzo, who made a nice play in the hole at short to field a groundball and throw out the runner at second. Coles then got Michael Montville to line out softly to Alfonzo for the second out. With runners still at the corners, pinch hitter Greg Olenski sent a sharp groundball to short that Alfonzo could not field cleanly allowing Convissar to score to keep the inning alive as the FSU lead dwindled to 7-6. But Coles responded and got the final out of the game to earn his third save of the season as Anthony Papio grounded out to John Sansone at second to end the game.

Sitz, who threw 100 pitches on Saturday, had problems all afternoon closing out an inning as the Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native did not retire the side in order through his 6.2 innings recording the first two outs in an inning four times.

"I am thankful for the hitter's today for having my back," added Sitz. "I didn't have my best stuff today. I was telling Steven (McGee) in the dugout, `I am going to have an inning where I don't let a guy on.' And somehow I kept letting a guy on. That's mostly because I didn't have any of my off speed stuff working today. I probably threw 90 percent fastballs. I just couldn't figure my off speed stuff. Luckily I was able to get out of some jams when I needed to."

Stephen McGee continued to swing a hot bat as the junior catcher finished with two hits including a solo home run which sparked the four-run sixth inning. John Nogowski went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Jose Brizuela and Sansone both drove in two runs to pace the Seminole offense in the win. Brizuela connected on a two-out, two-run double in the fourth to cut Maryland's lead to 4-3. Then in the sixth, Sansone came through with what turned out to be the game-winning hit as the freshman second baseman laced a two-run single to left center to give FSU a 7-4 lead.

Thoughts: Florida State had 16 baserunners and continually put pressure on Maryland to stop them from scoring, anytime your offense scores 7 runs you should win. The bullpen was again a little shaky and I think it is the Noles biggest weakness at this point in the season.

Sunday - Florida State 4, Maryland 3

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - No. 5 Florida State (18-1, 5-1 ACC) ran out to an early lead and then hung on for a 4-3 victory over Maryland (12-7, 2-4 ACC) on an overcast and chilly Sunday afternoon inside Turtle Smith Stadium.

Seth Miller paced the Seminole offense on Sunday with three hits on a triple and a pair of singles as FSU out hit Maryland, 10-9, for the first time in the series. Jose Brizuela and Giovanny Alfonzo both registered two hits and drove in a run in the win.

Florida State grabbed the early lead in the rubber game scoring three runs in the top of the third. Miller opened the inning with a triple down the left field line and scored a batter later on Stewart's RBI groundout to second. Back-to-back one-out walks to Stephen McGee and Marcus Davis would come back to haunt Maryland starter Jake Stinnett (1-2) as FSU put together consecutive two-out RBI singles by Brizuela and Alfonzo to plate a run. Brizuela tried to score from first on Alfonzo's hit to left center but the sophomore third baseman was thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning.

FSU pushed its lead back to three with a run in the fourth to take a 4-1 advantage. The Seminoles loaded the bases with one out on a walk to Josh Delph, a single by Miller and a walk to DJ Stewart. McGee brought home Delph as he drew a walk with the bases loaded. The inning would come to an end as Davis grounded into a double play.

The Terrapins cut the deficit to 4-3 scoring twice in the fifth off Miller. Cleary led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to third on Charlie White's first hit of the series on a double to left. LaMonte Wade drove in Maryland's second run of the game on a sac-fly to center and Kyle Convissar followed with an RBI single up the middle to score White. A single to left by K.J. Hockaday ended the afternoon for Miller after 4.2 innings.

Thoughts: Once again Florida State had a lot of baserunners, 23 in all and for only four of them to score that is just bad luck. The Sunday starter Peter Miller lasted less than five innings, if weekday starter, Luke Weaver, has another solid outing this week he needs to be looked at for the weekend.

All in all Florida State did not play great baseball this weekend and to still come out of it with a series win on the road is excellent. They have two games this week against Stetson who is pretty bad and then things get really tough. The Seminoles host Georgia Tech this upcoming weekend who are coming off a pounding of Boston College, scoring 31 runs in the three games.

Go Noles!

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