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Noles Win First Game in Sunshine Showdown

Seminoles down Gators in the first of three matchups this year.

Ryan Syrkus

FSU 4 UF 1

It’s not often Florida State (16-0) can rejoice after leaving Gainesville and playing Florida (8-10), but for the first time since 2007, the Seminoles were able to go home happy with a win on the Gators home turf.

Pop quiz: which FSU pitcher has the best ERA this season? The answer is Scott Sitz with 0.39, but Tuesday’s starter Luke Weaver is a close second with 0.44. The main difference is that Sitz has started four games while Weaver has only started three. Why do I bring this up? Because Luke Weaver is statistically the best pitcher Florida State has right now.

Weaver leads FSU in opposing batting average (.144), strikeouts (26), hits allowed (8), walks allowed (3), and tied with Sitz for earned runs allowed (1) while also being tied with Bryant Holtmann for runs allowed (2). To further show how impressive Weaver has been, he has 20.1 innings pitched which is more than Sunday starter Peter Miller…all this on one less start than anyone in the weekend rotation, although it should be noted that Weaver has made two appearances in relief.

Weaver’s start on the road against the Gators was not much different than his other two starts this year. Allowing just three hits in 6.1 innings, Weaver baffled UF striking out five and only walking two. His biggest mistake was a fielding error which brought in Florida’s only run.

The Seminoles once again got an early lead scoring in the first after Stephen McGee’s two-out RBI double to right center. Giovanny Alfonzo would add some breathing room in the fourth on his 2 RBI single down the right field line, scoring John Nogowski and DJ Stewart.

Florida would get on board in the bottom half of the inning following the fielding error from Weaver, but the threat would not last long as UF left two on base. The Gator’s Connor Mitchell flied out to left two batters after the fielding error.

Gage Smith, Bryant Holtmann, and Robby Coles would enter the game starting in the seventh. Combined they struck out two and allowed two hits in the 2.2 innings of work.

The win over UF makes the all-time record 124-100-1 against the in-state rival, while the Gator’s still hold a lead when playing in Gainesville 54-44. The rivals will meet two more times this season with the next matchup coming in Jacksonville, Fla., on March 26.

MVP of the Game:

Luke Weaver – Weaver is becoming the most consistent pitcher FSU has this year. Tuesday night just solidifies what he can do. Granted, it was against a UF team that is not having their best year, but it is still the Gators and will always be a big matchup when these two teams go at it. Weaver set the pace against the in-state rivals going 6.1 innings, only giving up three hits. Although he gave up a run to end his streak of 16.2 scoreless innings, Weaver was still able to strike out five and continue his dominance as a Tuesday starter.

Things to Work On:

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but Marcus Davis is on a slide. Dating back to his Friday start against Boston College, Davis has gone 1-14. It was a given that he won’t hit .500 the entire season, but Davis was and still is needed for the offensive production he has had earlier in the season. Tuesday night in Gainesville did not fare too well for Davis as he went 0-5. Although I wouldn’t worry about it just yet because this is a small sample, it is still something to keep an eye on.

Looking Ahead:

The Seminoles continue their road trip, heading up to Maryland to get back to ACC competition. The Terps sit at 11-5 after their Tuesday win over Marist, 9-3. Even while winning big, Maryland needed a 7 run seventh inning to pull ahead of Marist.

One thing is certain during the Friday matchup against Maryland, someone’s streak will end. FSU is off to their best start since 2007, going 16-0, while Maryland is still undefeated at home, sitting at 9-0.

Maryland has the potential to upset FSU this weekend as they have already done so to Virginia. The Terps would lose the series, but prevented the sweep against UVA after the 4-2 Sunday win. In the season opener, Maryland almost knocked off LSU, but would eventually fall 1-0 in Baton Rouge, La.

The Friday matchup is set to start at 6:30 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday will be day games at 1:30 and 1 p.m. respectively.