No one said it would be pretty, and it rarely is against a bitter rival, but Florida State (23-2) managed to beat Florida (11-15) for the second time in just as many weeks. The 2-1 victory over UF secured the season series win for FSU as both teams are only scheduled to play each other one more time, an April 9 showdown in Tallahassee.
Once again, Luke Weaver pitched extremely well against Florida. Once again, Weaver only gave up three hits and one run against the Gators. The main difference this time around was in strikeouts and walks. In Jacksonville, Weaver was blazing with nine strikeouts and only walking one through six innings. At one point Weaver retired 11 straight.
Weaver’s only difficult innings came in the 2nd and 5th. For the 2nd inning, the leadoff hitter for UF got on with a single, but would quickly be out on a double play. The Gator’s Zack Powers would then double and later score off and RBI single from Connor Mitchell. The 5th inning could not have started any worse for Weaver as a fielding error allowed the leadoff batter on. Weaver himself would have a throwing error off a failed pickoff attempt. Weaver would get out of the inning unscathed and the game still tied at one.
The FSU bullpen was once again effective as Bryant Holtmann, Gage Smith, and Robby Coles combined for three innings of no hit ball. The trio gave up a walk and struck out one against their 10 batters faced.
Both Giovanny Alfonzo and John Nogowski finished with the only two RBIs for the Seminoles, but the game could have been a wider margin of victory.
Florida State had the bases loaded in the first inning with one out, yet they were only able to bring one across. In the second inning, FSU stranded two on. The third inning was a similar story in getting men on and not scoring. Through the first three innings the Noles stranded seven on base. Throughout the game, the Garnet and Gold stranded 11 batters.
The “big” inning came for FSU in the 8th when Jose Brizuela got on base with a double and later moved to third on a balk. Alfonzo would drive him in off a two-out RBI single to break the tie and give FSU their eventual 2-1 win.
MVP of the Game:
Luke Weaver – It seems like Weaver has been the main guy for FSU almost every Tuesday. This game was no exception as Weaver may have pitched his way into a weekend start. The run support wasn’t there for him, but Weaver still pitched as well as he has almost every start this year. Six innings, three hits, one walk, and one run, there is not much more you can ask for from a starter. Toss in his nine strikeouts and it is looking more and more likely that Weaver will get a shot at a weekend start.
Things to Work On:
The errors almost got this team in trouble tonight and it seems to be a recurring issue for the Seminoles this year, however the more eye popping number is how many were left on base. 11 men stranded. Florida State was able to get around this due to their great pitching from Weaver and the bullpen, but stranding 11 is never good in a low scoring ball game. At the same time, Florida is much better than their record reflects and there are no certainties in a rivalry game like this.
Florida State will remain on the road as they travel up to Blacksburg, Va., to face the Hokies in a three game weekend series.
Virginia Tech is currently fourth in the ACC Coastal Division with a 5-4 conference record. At 18-8 overall with wins over both Georgia Tech and Miami, VT is not a bad club, but certainly not in the upper echelon either. The Hokies were shut out 0-8 in their Tuesday matchup against VMI.
Virginia Tech currently has a 6-4 record at home while Florida State is 3-1 on the road only facing Florida and Maryland so far away from Tallahassee this year. The Seminoles currently hold a 39-8 all-time lead over the Hokies with a 10-2 record at Virginia Tech. Florida State has also won the previous five matchups while never being swept by VT.
The first pitch of the series is set for 5:30 p.m. on Friday.