Florida State was fresh off a come from behind 12-6 win at Jacksonville earlier in the week on Tuesday. Luke Weaver (5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) took the mound for Game 1 of the series and while not as sharp as we have seen him, was still effective in 5 innings of work. Georgia was intent on swinging early and often in the count against the Seminole ace, connecting on quite a few base hits early in the count. The Dawgs' did an admirable job of battling Weaver as well when they did get behind in the count, driving up the pitch count for Weaver (94 pitches).
"I felt good," said Weaver. "I felt like the fastball I was pounding it. The change-up was really good, better than it's been in a while. I threw some good sliders for first pitch strikes and got a strikeout with it. This team (UGA), my hats off to them, I thought I was throwing the ball well, but they were just getting hits."
The Seminole bullpen would pick up where Weaver left off as Billy Strode and Gage Smith combined for 4 innings of two hit ball (4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K).
Florida State would strike first in the game as a DJ Stewart RBI groundout would plate Josh Delph who doubled down the right field line to open the game. An RBI single for UGA in the 4th would knot the game at 1-1. The Noles' would blow the game open in the bottom of the inning plating 6 runs with a little help from Bulldog pitching. FSU walked or was hit by pitch 6 times in the inning and would bring the runners in on RBI singles from Danny De La Calle (1-4, 2 RBI) and Brett Knief (1-2, 1 RBI) to give the Noles' a 7-1 lead. Georgia added to 2 more runs in the 6th thanks to a long home run over the fence in right off the bat of Jess Posey, the younger brother of former Seminoles Buster and Jack. Posey (3-4, 2 RBI) had fantastic game, undoubtedly stoked to face the team he grew up rooting for. Florida State Head Coach Mike Martin noted it was strange to see a Posey in the other dugout.
Florida State would add one more run in the bottom of the 8th on a Justin Gonzalez (1-4, 1 RBI) double to left field plating Ben Deluzio and putting the finishing touch on an 8-3 win for FSU.
Final: 8-3 Florida State
WP: Luke Weaver (2-0)
LP: Ryan Lawlor (1-1)
Official Attendance: (5,024)
The 9th largest crowd in Dick Howser Stadium history (6,568) watched Brandon Leibrandt start the Saturday game of the series. Much like game 1 Georgia was aggressive early in the count, getting 3 hits and a run in the first inning off the Seminole southpaw. The junior from Alpharetta, GA settled down the following 4 innings to finish with a solid outing (5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). Florid State tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the 2nd on a Ben Deluzio double to left field plating Jose Brizuela. UGA tacked on 2 more runs in the 3rd inning on a 2-Run HR by Hunter Cole (2-4, 3 RBI) giving the Dawgs' a 3-1 advantage. Florida State would respond in the bottom half of the inning with a long ball of its own. DJ Stewart (2-3, 3 RBI) connected on his first home run of the season, sending a blast over the right center field wall that is probably still going as I type this. The 2-Run shot would bring the score to a tie again at 3-3. Georgia re-took the lead in the 6th via a Lance McCance RBI single up the middle. Doing what they had done all game the Noles' responded with a run in the bottom of the 6th as Danny De La Calle (2-5, 3 RBI) singled to left field, bringing home John Sansone and bringing the score to 4-4. Florida State would then break the game open in the 7th with four runs highlighted by De La Calle's second hit of the game, this time a 2 RBI single to center field. With an 8-4 lead, the Seminoles tacked on 2 more runs in the 8th via a Sansone RBI double down the line in left field and an RBI infield single from Deluzio. With Florida State holding a 10-4 advantage, Jameis Winston would finish the game in the 9th, pitching a perfect inning and striking out 2 batters giving the Noles' the series win and eventual sweep of the Bulldogs.
Final: 10-4 Florida State
WP: Gage Smith (1-0)
LP: Jared Cheek (0-2)
Official Attendance: 6,568
Sunday's game was cancelled due to rain and will not be rescheduled.
Georgia came into the weekend with some poor results losing to Georgia Southern twice as well as Kennesaw State during the middle of the week. However, you would not have guessed they'd have those losses with the way they played this weekend. Hunter Cole and Jess Posey give them 2 very good power bats and their approach at the plate should see them have some success this season. Florida State wore the UGA pitchers out with typical patient at-bats, working the count and extending pitch counts. Florida State walked 18 times this weekend in just 2 games continuing their fantastic discipline at the plate. It's simple, if you aren't going to throw strikes, you will not be successful against FSU. Seminole batters don't beat themselves and don't extend the strike zone. It's something DJ Stewart noted after Saturday's game.
"That's Florida State baseball. We're going to make you throw strikes and you if you don't do it, we're just gonna take it and turn it over to the next guy", said Stewart. "We're going to make you work every single time you pitch to us."
Something I have been impressed with all season from the Seminoles is their ability to stay mentally even throughout ball games. They have already been put into some pressure situations this season and have followed through in every game, playing a full 27 outs. That says something about the leadership and experience of this team from both the plate and on the mound. All around the country I have seen some top teams go down when facing a close game. For this FSU team to have shown otherwise thus far is very encouraging. Do however note that we have only played 2 series thus far, so there is plenty baseball left obviously. The first test of the season will be this weekend against a bitter rival from the Top 25.
Weekend MVP: RP Gage Smith (3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)
Gage Smith gets the MVP nod for the weekend, as he was brilliant in two separate outings coming from the pen in high-pressure situations. On Friday the RS Senior pitched 2.1 innings of shutout ball coming in the game and shutting the door on the UGA bats. Saturday Smith was brought on in the 6th inning with 2 outs and the bases loaded for the Bulldogs as FSU trailed 4-3. Smith induced a groundout to end the threat and keep the game from getting away for the Seminoles. Smith has been a steady force all season long and came up big yet again for the Seminole pitching staff.
I know he is in total control of his emotions and of the situation that's around him.' I am very pleased with Gage," said Martin.
Florida State heads to Tampa this Tuesday to take on the New York Yankees of the MLB in an exhibition. Mike Compton will get the start for FSU after his Sunday start was washed out by rain. Following the battle with the Yankees FSU returns home to face the 14th ranked Miami Hurricanes this weekend in a Top 25 battle. Miami is fresh off a series win over the Florida Gators this past weekend in Coral Gables.