A late barrage of runs aided #4 Florida State to a 13-3 victory over the Stetson Hatters Wednesday afternoon.
Through five innings the Seminoles and Hatters were knotted at 3-3 setting up what seemed to be another close game between the in-state foes. Florida State had other ideas pushing across ten runs in the last three frames to give themselves double digit runs for the first time since April 6th against Notre Dame.
After a John Sansone single in the 6th, Ben Deluzio ripped an RBI triple to right-center field and would later score on Casey Smit's SAC fly pushing FSU's lead to 5-3.
In the 7th the Noles added five runs on just one hit, highlighted by John Sansone's two-run double to the gap in left-center field.
Leading 10-3 in the 8th Florida State pushed across three more runs on five hits thanks in large part to RBI singles by John Nogowski and Ladson Montgomery.
True freshman Taylor Blatch received his first career start tossing two and a third innings giving up one hit and two earned runs, while walking two and striking out one. Blatch lost his control in the 3rd inning and was replaced by Peter Miller, marking a disappointing first start.
John Sansone went three-for-five, while Danny De La Calle and John Nogowski each had two hits to pace the Seminoles 12-hit attack.
The win moves FSU to 32-9 on the season and sets up a massive weekend series against #1 Virginia this weekend in Tallahassee.
"It's what these young men come to Florida State to do", said Mike Martin. "To play in series just like this one. Virginia is absolutely phenomenal."
"It's the biggest series of the year", said John Sansone.
"I'm ecstatic to go against the best team in the country", added Ben Deluzio. "I'm ready to go out there and play our game and see what happens."
Friday's first game is slated for 6 PM and Rays will have an in-depth preview ready for you Friday. Dustin and myself will be at Howser all weekend to provide play-by-play and game recaps.
Florida State used a fine pitching effort from Billy Strode and some late runs to topple Stetson 4-0 Tuesday evening.
"Billy Strode really kept everything under control", said Head Coach Mike Martin. "He had all three pitches really working; it was a good outing from him."
Strode found himself in some early trouble in the 1st inning after a walk, hit-by-pitch, and single off the right field screen loaded the bases for Stetson. Strode then promptly would strike out the next batter before getting Garrett Russini to hit into a double play to escape the inning. Coach Martin had the utmost confidence in his lefty pitcher as he walked out to have a meeting with his entire infield.
"I asked him, how many times during your career at Florida State have we practiced bases loaded, nobody out?" said Martin. "Billy did a really nice job getting his team into the dugout."
Strode would finish the day pitching six shutout innings of two-hit baseball, striking out five Stetson batters.
A pair of sacrifice flies by DJ Stewart in the 1st inning and Jose Brizuela in the 4th inning gave the Seminoles a 2-0 lead, allowing Strode and the bullpen room to operate until the 8th inning when Stetson would once again threaten to push runs across.
A single off Gage Smith followed by a dropped fly ball in left field by DJ Stewart gave the hatters runners on second and third with just one out. Smith would hit the next batter loading the bases for the Hatters top hitter in Patrick Mazeika. Smith induced a pop out by Mazeika followed by a strike out looking to once again extinguish the Hatter threat.
Florida State added two more runs in the bottom half of the 8th thanks to shoddy defending by Stetson. After a John Nogowski walk, Jose Brizuela would double to the right field wall. The throw by the Hatter right fielder sailed over the cut-off man's head allowing Nogowski to score all the way from first base. Brizuela would come around later in the inning on a Justin Gonzalez double, in which the left fielder lost the ball in the lights.
With a 4-0 lead Jameis Winston worked a scoreless 9th with three strikeouts to give FSU the victory pushing their record 31-9 in 2014.
Game 2 will be played tomorrow at 4 PM. Neither Florida State nor Stetson has named a starting pitcher for the game.