Florida State Opens ACC Play With Series Win

USA TODAY Sports

In the last conference series between these two teams the Florida State Seminoles defeated the Maryland Terrapins twice over the weekend where starting pitching was the star of the series.

Friday:

(Recap by Ariya Massoudi)

Florida State and Maryland opened their ACC schedules Friday as both teams sent their ace pitchers to the hill. The game saw a tight game throughout as both Maryland's Jake Stinnett (6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) and Florida State's Luke Weaver (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) both controlled the opposing line-up. Weaver in particular had his best outing of the year, commanding the strike zone early and often in counts. Head Coach Mike Martin was impressed with his ace pitcher's outing

"Very dominating early", said Martin. "That was big time stuff, we wanted to get him over 100 (pitches) and we did." (Weaver finished with 106 pitches)

The Seminoles struck first in the 3rd inning after Ben Deluzio (1-3, 3 RBI) was hit by a pitch and came around on a Justin Gonzalez (1-3, 2 R) single to 3rd base. The 3rd basemen fielded the ball cleanly, but threw the ball away at 1st allowing Deluzio to score from 2nd. Maryland took the lead in the 5th as Luke Weaver issued a walk to Blake Schmit followed by a 2-Run HR to left field off the bat of #9 hitter Jose Cuas (3-4, HR, 3 RBI), who came into the game hitting .056 on the season. The Noles would respond in the bottom half of the inning as the "Animals of Section B" belted O'Canada. Danny De La Calle (2-3, 2 R) and Josh Delph (2-4, 1 R) would both single followed by a Gonzalez walk. With the bases loaded and one out, a passed ball would allow De La Calle to score tying the game at 2-2. Stinnett would get out of further trouble getting Jose Brizuela (1-5, 1 RBI) to pop out with the bases loaded. The score would stay even until the 7th inning when FSU busted the game wide open. The Noles scored 6 runs in the inning highlighted by a Brizuela RBI double off the fence in right-center field and a Deluzio 3 RBI triple to the gap in left-center field. Deluzio's hit was a sight to see as the freshman reached 3rd base with ease standing up. Coach Martin's eyes were glued to Deluzio throughout the hit.

"My eyes did not stay on the ball, and there's only one or two guys I've done with in my career", said Martin. "One was this cornerback we had here a while back (Deion Sanders); another one was with Shane Robinson."

With an 8-2 lead, the Seminoles added 7 runs in the 8th highlighted by a 2 RBI double to right field by DJ Stewart (2-3, 3 RBI) and a 2 RBI single to center field by Tallahassee product, Gage West (1-1, 2 RBI). True freshman Taylor Blatch would give up a run in the 9th to the Terps' as he closed out a 15-3 Florida State win in the opening game of the 3 game series.

Final: 15-3 Florida State

WP: Luke Weaver (3-1)

LP: Jake Stinnett (2-2)

Official Attendance: 4,065

Florida State: 15-12-2

Maryland: 3-8-1

Saturday:

(Recap by Ariya Massoudi)

Game 2 saw another pitcher's battle, as Brandon Leibrandt (7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) and Mike Shawaryn (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) were both in a groove on the mound. Unfortunately for FSU, the big inning that had become a fixture this season was not found on Saturday against the Maryland true freshman. Florida State would muster only 5 hits off of Shawaryn, who had complete control of the strike zone on the afternoon. Head Coach Mike Martin was impressed with Shawaryn.

"He was literally dominant, the way he changed speeds and kept us off balance", said Martin. "Not to get a sniff off of him for seven innings was quite an accomplishment for them."

Marlyand took the early lead in the 1st inning after the opening batter reached on a throwing error by Leibrandt. The runner would score on an RBI groundout by Brandon Lowe later in the inning to give the Terps a 1-0 advantage. From there both pitchers kept the opposing bats in check. Brandon Leibrandt was excellent in his outing setting a season high in strikeouts with 8, not walking a single batter on the day. Leibrandt acknowledged he felt good on the mound.

"I felt like I had good stuff", said Leibrandt. "One of those days where I was really attacking the zone."

The score remained 1-0 in Maryland's favor until the 6th inning when the Terps extended the lead to 3-0 via a Kyle Convissar (2-3, 2 RBI) 2-Run home run to left field off Leibrandt. The Noles would threaten in the 7th getting the bases loaded for Ben DeLuzio who would promptly ground into a double play to end the Seminole threat. Marlyand added two runs in the 8th inning on a 2-RBI double down the left field line by LaMonte Wade, pushing the score to 5-0. Jim Voyles (1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) made his season debut for FSU in the 8th pitching a solid 1.2 innings of hitless ball to give the Seminole bats a chance. The Noles finally scratched a run in the 8th of Shawaryn as Brett Knief (1-3, 1 RBI) delivered an RBI double to right field cutting the lead to 5-1. With runners on 2nd and 3rd Jose Brizuela popped out to the short stop ending the Seminole threat. Maryland closer Kevin Mooney struck out the side in the 9th to hand Maryland a 5-1 win, forcing a Sunday rubber match.

Final: 5-1 Maryland

WP: Mike Shawaryn (4-0)

LP: Brandon Leibrandt (2-1)

Official Attendance: 4,801

Maryland: 5-7-1

Florida State: 1-6-2

Sunday:

(Recap by RaysnNoles)

Like the previous two games both starting pitchers came out strong. Mike Compton faced the minimum through the first 3.2 innings while Jared Price made easy work of the Seminoles hitters the first time through the order.  The Maryland right hander would hit a wall in the 4th inning as he faced six batters without recording an out.  DJ Stewart led off the inning with a walk and was moved to third by a Knief double, another walk to Brizuela loaded the bases for Nogowski and he came through with a 2 run double to put Florida State on the board.  A single, an error, a sacrifice fly and another single would add up to a big inning for the Noles as they plated 6 runs in the fourth.

The real story of the game was Mike Compton who made just his third start since coming off of Tommy John surgery and sitting out a year rehabbing.  The right hander earn MVP of the Series honors by performing a feat that hasn't happened in over a decade, not since Rhett James in 2004 has a Florida State pitcher thrown a complete game shutout.  Compton pounded the strikezone with his fastball and slider striking out a career high 10 batters while walking none, he allowed two singles and never had a runner reach second base.

Final: 7-0 Florida State

WP: Mike Compton (2-0)

LP: Jared Price (1-2)

Official Attendance: 4,059

Maryland: 0-2-1

Florida State: 7-7-1

Thoughts:

(Recap by RaysnNoles)

A series win to open conference play accompanied with a series win against a solid USF ball club puts the Noles at 12-2 on the season, about as good as you can ask for.  The Seminoles pitching staff was brilliant and continues to get better with each start this season.  For the weekend the three starting pitchers threw a combined 23.1 IP allowing 12 hits and 5 earned runs while issuing only 1 walk and recording 28 strikeouts. Those numbers against a conference opponent are staggering and shows what promise this staff has moving further into the season.

The offense was once again excellent scoring 23 runs against a pitching staff that had allowed only 31 total in their first 10 games.  I think we are at a point in the season where there should be some concern with certain individuals, Gonzalez really is struggling and has 15 strikeouts in his last 34 plate appearances, better production from the 2 hole hitter is needed.  First baseman John Nogowski continues to struggle against right handed pitching, Casey Smit does not, a platoon system probably should start like it did last year.  DJ Stewart however continues to be one of the best players in the country as he reached base 9 times in 14 plate appearances this series scoring 3 times and driving in 4 runs.

The baserunning by Florida State can be frustrating at times but their ability to control opposing teams on the bases might be the best I have ever seen.  Maryland had been averaging 3 stolen base attempts per game coming into this series, they attempted just 2 in the 3 games this weekend.  De la Calle threw out a runner trying to steal second by 10 feet and Leibrandt picked off another at first, the 20th of his career.

After the game Mike Martin said this is the best Maryland team he has ever faced and I would have to agree, the could probably make it to the expanded format of the ACC Tournament. The Noles played great baseball this week going 5-1 and should keep that number two national ranking.

Up Next:

The Seminoles have another two game series this week as they travel to UCF on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then on Friday they host North Carolina State and Carlos Rodon for what should be a tremendous baseball weekend.

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