Noles Win with Late Inning Comeback

USA TODAY Sports

The top ranked Florida State Seminoles lost their first series of the year in Atlanta but came back late in Sunday's game to avoid the sweep.

SUNDAY - FSU 5-4 (Recap by Ariya)

The Seminoles were looking to salvage a game against Georgia Tech after losing their first series of the year. Some clutch hitting and fantastic relief work helped Florida State to a 5-4 comeback win Sunday.

Much like the first two games the Noles would find themselves in an early hole, trailing 4-0 after just one inning. Bryant Holtmann would last just a third of an inning, marking his first bad start as a weekend starter. The junior gave up four runs on four hits, most of the weak contact variety, before giving way to Gage Smith.

Smith would hurl a career high 6.1 innings of shutout ball, giving up just four hits on the afternoon and striking out five. Smith provided yet another big lift for this Seminole team when he was called upon, giving Florida State a true shutdown pitcher.

Meanwhile, the bats were once again getting guys on base to no avail leaving base runners stranded inning after inning, a common theme during the entire weekend. In the 5th inning the Noles would find some fortune as DJ Stewart, who went 2-for-5 on the afternoon, singled in Josh Delph. A wild pitch later allowed another FSU run to score, cutting the Jackets lead to 4-2.

Florida State would come to bat again in the 8th looking to cut into Georgia Tech's lead. Two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with no outs for the Seminoles. Georgia Tech's Dusty Isaacs would register back-to-back strikeouts of Brett Knief and John Sansone bringing up Jameis Winston as a pinch hitter.

Winston would work a full count walk to bring in a run, cutting the Georgia Tech lead to one. Josh Delph, who went 3-for-4, had the perhaps the biggest Seminole at bat of the weekend as he drove a single up the middle to score two runs giving FSU its first lead of the weekend.

With a one run lead, the Noles went to Winston in the 9th for the close. After giving up a leadoff single to the Tech batter, who was later thrown out by Ladson Montgomery, Winston would retire the side to pick his fifth save of the season. The win improved Florida State to 27-8 on the season and 14-4 in the ACC.

FRIDAY - FSU 3-5

Florida State got off to a rough start Friday night in Atlanta as they were in a big hole by the end of the first inning. Luke Weaver wasn't sharp as he has been the majority of the season as his inability to close out hitters when ahead in the count came back to hurt him. Three hits, a defensive miscue and a hit batter plated five runs for the Jackets and the Noles were down 5-0 at the end of the first inning.

The Seminoles hitters were kept off the board for the first five innings as Josh Heddinger did a good job of mixing his pitches and keeping batters off balance as he struckout a season high five batters and walked only one. Florida State got themselves back in the game in the sixth inning with two runs on three hits. They would tack on another run in the seventh and had a golden opportunity to tie it up with their best hitter at the plate, bases loaded and one out Stewart lined a shot up the middle but the shortstop had him played perfectly and was able to double off Smit at second.

The Noles had more opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings but could not get the runners home, something that they have been struggling to do recently. The silver lining in that is they are still very good at getting runners on base, the more you do that the better chance you have at scoring runs. It was also nice to see Luke Weaver shake off that rough first inning and extend himself to seven innings in which he allowed the Seminoles a shot to get back into the game.

SATURDAY - FSU 4-12

Another frustrating start for the Noles on Saturday afternoon as they were able to get two runners on with no outs in the first two innings but came away with no runs in both. In the preview I mentioned that Mike Compton was very hittable but as long as he limited extra base hits and walks he could be competitive. In the fourth inning a walk, single, double and triple led to his shortest outing of the season and the Noles found themselves facing another 5-0 deficit.

Taylor Blatch, Kenny Burkhead and Brandon Johnson did their best their best to hold the Jackets in check but it just wasn't their day. A walk, hit batter, error and five hits in the fifth inning put the game out of reach as Georgia Tech went up 11-0 on Florida State as Tech's starting pitcher kept hitters in check through six innings allowing no runs and only five hits, while walking only one and striking out five. The Noles avoided a shutout in the seventh inning when Justin Gonzalez had a two run triple that was followed up by a monster homerun by DJ Stewart to center field.

Its been tough to watch the Noles this past week as the offense is struggling to score runs and the pitching has not been as sharp as it was earlier in the season. The most important point to remember is that Florida State is only on a three game losing streak, those three games account for less than five percent of the total season. If the trend of low scoring games continue over the next week or so and if Leibrandt is out for an extended period of time then concern might be warranted.

The Seminoles look to avoid a sweep today at 1PM. Game is televised on RSS and ESPN3.

Go Noles!

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