In the first game of the Tallahassee Regionals, Florida State head coach Mike Martin praised Scott Sitz, calling it "the Scotty Sitz show." The second game was the same story, but with Luke Weaver on the mound for the Seminoles. When all was said and done, Florida State (41-19) walked away with the 11-0 win over Troy (46-15).
"We’ve had a number of guys [in FSU history] go out and pitch similar to Luke Weaver," Head Coach Mike Martin said. "But in an environment like this and a lot at stake, he really was the dominating factor of the game."
Dominating is one of many words to describe Weaver’s performance. The sophomore righty shutout Troy for eight innings while only allowing four hits. To add to his growing status as the ace of the Seminoles, Weaver’s career high 14 strikeouts were the most from a single pitcher for FSU since Tyler Chambliss’ 15 in 2006.
"[Weaver] has pitched very well in the last two and a half months since he was put in the rotation," Martin said. "Tonight he was very effective with his fastball on both sides of the plate. I thought his slider has improved literally on a weekly basis. His changeup continues to get better. He has thrown it a few more times now, which makes his fastball more effective."
Even more impressive with his pitching performance was that Weaver had been feeling ill just three days prior to the game.
For the first part of the game, Troy starter Tanner Hicks went pitch for pitch with Weaver, bringing a scoreless game into the 5th inning.
Starting with a Seth Miller walk, the Seminoles would begin to pick apart Trojan pitching. John Sansone brought in Miller as FSU’s first run of the game off a groundout to second. Josh Delph would then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, bringing in Giovanny Alfonzo. With the bases now empty, freshman DJ Stewart came to the plate and launched the ball over the fence in right center. Florida State, now leading 3-0, would not turn back as Troy had very few opportunities to get on the board with the way Weaver was throwing.
Stewart’s homerun was his fifth of the season. He would finish 2-3 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Hicks would leave the game after six innings and giving up four runs on four hits. He walked six as well as striking out six on 111 pitches.
After getting Weaver out of the game, mainly due to his 115 pitch count, Troy’s pitching would implode.
Entering the 9th inning with a 5-0 lead, Florida State would pull away and secure the win off a six run inning. Brett Knief would start things off for FSU in the 9th, getting on base with a double to left center. Stewart quickly brought him in with a double of his own. Just an inning after hitting his first homerun of the season, John Nogowski would high tail it to third base with a 2-RBI triple to right field. Not to be outdone, Miller hit a triple of his own to bring in Nogowski. Miller ended the night 2-3 with two runs scored and the one RBI.
Now standing at 2-0 in regional play, Florida State awaits the outcome of the elimination game to determine who they face next. Still a long way from Omaha, the Seminoles are feeling more confident and determined after these first two games.
"I want to get back to Omaha," Stewart said on the possibilities ahead of the team. "I’ve never been, it’s my first year here. I want to do it for guys like Seth [Miller]. We’ve never won. [I want to] especially do it for coach [Martin]. He’s been there so many times, but we’ve never won it. That’s what I’m here for."
Having a similar mindset, coach Martin agreed with Stewart on trying to get back to the College World Series.
"It’s always good for the young guys get a taste of [the College World Series]," Martin said on going back to Omaha. "But these guys want to eat a meal They don’t want to just taste it. That’s just the way they’re made."