Game 1 of the rivalry series was a pitcher's duel as both Luke Weaver and Miami's Chris Diaz were sharp in their outings. The Seminoles did strike first on Diaz (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) as in the 1st inning Justin Gonzalez doubled and scored after a UM fielding error, giving Florida State an early 1-0 advantage. The Hurricanes tied the game at 1-1 in the 4th off Weaver (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) this time with a little help from the Seminoles. A Danny De La Calle passed ball allowed a Miami base runner to reach 3rd base and eventually come home on a SAC fly by Alex Hernandez.
The Canes' tacked on 2 more runs in the 5th inning after a Justin Gonzalez throwing error would allow Dale Carey to score. A SAC fly the very next batter plated Tyler Palmer giving Miami a 3-1 advantage. Diaz was the story for Miami the rest of the night as he baffled Seminole hitters with a nasty slider and great fastball command. Taylor Blatch (2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) was a bright spot out of the pen for FSU as the true freshman shined in his outing, catching the eye of Head Coach Mike Martin.
"I thought Blatch was extremely impressive," said Martin. "Blatch upped his stock by pitching as well as he did."
Miami would close the game in the 9th as Bryan Garcia registered his 3rd save of the season for the Hurricanes, handing Florida State its first loss of the season:
Final: 3-1 Miami
WP: Chris Diaz (3-0)
LP: Luke Weaver (2-1)
S: Bryan Garcia (3)
After losing its first game of the season Florida State needed to bounce back strong. They did just that in Game 2 as Brandon Leibrandt pitched a gem on the mound. Miami picked up an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on base hit up the middle by Alex Hernandez. Leibrandt (6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) would shut the Hurricanes down the rest of the game pitching into the 7th inning, only giving up a run the rest of the way.
The Seminole bats put up big numbers against Miami ace Bryan Radziewski (4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 K). The Noles showed tremendous patience at the plate forcing Radziewski to throw many pitches in each at bat. FSU would score 4 runs in the 1st inning on three straight walks followed by a 2-RBI double to right field by John Nogowski and a 2-RBI single to left field by Jose Brizuela (3-4, 4 RBIs). Trailing 4-1 in the 3rd Miami would tack on a run with a double to left field by Hernandez, his 2nd RBI of the game. Florida State would respond in the bottom half of the inning with Brizuela notching his 3rd RBI of the game, singling to bring in John Sansone.
With a 5-2 lead the Seminoles would bust the game open in the 7th inning scoring 5 runs and pushing the score to 10-2. The Seminoles would register 5 straight hits highlighted by John Sansone and Jose Brizuela RBI doubles. Jameis Winston would also register a hit in the inning, ripping a single to right field. Gage Smith and Brandon Johnson would slam the door shut on Miami the rest of the way giving the Noles an emphatic win.
"After you lose a game to your rival it doesn't feel too great," said third baseman Jose Brizuela. "We came back today and had a bulldog mentality, we took care of business."
Final: 10-2 Florida State
WP: Brandon Leibrandt (2-0)
LP: Bryan Radziewski (0-2)
Attendance: 6,593 (8th largest in DHS history)
With a winner take all game Sunday both Miami and Florida State were looking to claim a massive series win over their rival. The Seminoles got a good start from Mike Compton (5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) as he pitched 5 innings. Miami struck first again as a base hit to left field by Brad Zunica scored Zack Collins to give the Canes a 1-0 lead.
Florida State has made a habit of the big inning this year at the plate and the 3rd inning proved no different with FSU scoring 6 runs on 6 hits. A DJ Stewart 2-RBI single up the middle and John Nogowski 2-RBI triple to deep left-center field highlighted the inning. The Noles seemed to be in control of the game and well on their way to claim a big series win over their rivals; Miami had other ideas. A 2-Run homerun by Zack Collins in the 4th inning cut the lead to 6-3. In the 6th inning Miami would plate 3 more runs due to some Seminole miscues (Deluzio dropped ball in CF) and clutch hitting (Dale Carey 2-RBI double) to tie the game at 6-6.
With the big Miami comeback Florida State could have easily wilted; instead they turned in one of the best innings at the plate all season in the bottom of the 6th. Danny De La Calle singled, followed by a Josh Delph walk. Mike Martin elected not to bunt the runners over and the decision was met with a 2-RBI double by Justin Gonzalez pushing FSU's lead to 8-6. Coach Martin talked about letting his Senior Captain swing the bat in a big situation.
"I said stay out of the game Mike," said Martin. "I was going to be sure if we don't score, it won't be because Gonzo, DJ, and Knief didn't get a chance to hit."
Florida State would register 5 more runs in the inning highlighted by a Jose Brizuela (3-5, 2 RBI) RBI single and a Ben Deluzio 2-RBI single to right field. When the inning came to an end the Seminoles had pushed the lead to 13-6. Jameis Winston came in to pitch the 9th and quickly mowed the Miami hitters down 1-2-3 to give FSU the big series win against the Miami Hurricanes.
Final: 13-6 Florida State
WP: Gage Smith (2-0)
LP: AJ Salcines (0-1)
Florida State continues to impress this season in many facets. The pitching staff was strong for most all of the weekend as FSU starters allowed just 5 earned runs to Hurricane batters. The bullpen was equally as impressive allowing only 2 earned runs (9.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) and turning in a few impressive relief stints (Blatch, Smith, Holtmann).
The Seminole bats were extremely impressive both Saturday and Sunday against two very good Miami pitchers in Bryan Radziewski and Andrew Suarez. Florida State repeatedly had patient at bats against both pitchers, forcing each to hit 100 pitches before the 5th inning of those games. Florida State outscored Miami 24-11 on the weekend and had some excellent performances from Jose Brizuela and DJ Stewart, among others.
FSU did commit 5 errors on the weekend, which cost them the Friday game and allowed Miami to storm back in Sunday's game putting the series briefly in doubt. This will be something to keep an eye on, as the Noles are too good in the other areas of the game to allow this to be an issue moving forward.
What impressed me the most this weekend was the resolve of this Seminole squad. Dropping the first game of the year, let alone to your rival, could have been a reality check for FSU. Instead, the Seminoles responded with two convincing wins over a Top 20 team. Mike Martin was pleased on his team's resilience to win the series.
"It's a very satisfying feeling for everybody associated with Florida State Baseball when your backs are against the wall, you've lost the first game of the series and you watch 32 guys get after it for two days. And they did, they really got after it," Mike Martin said.
The final two games of the weekend spoke of the leadership and experience on this Seminole squad, both at the plate and on the mound. Florida State has won in all types of games this season, continuing to show toughness and resiliency in almost every game. This team is definitely special and will continue to fight the rest of the season.
Series MVP: 3B Jose Brizuela (6-13, 6 RBIs)
The junior had a quiet game Friday (0-4), as did most Seminole bats. However, Saturday (3-4) and Sunday (3-5) saw Brizuela put together two of the finest hitting performances of his career. Brizuela registered 6 RBIs this weekend, most coming in clutch situations when his team needed a big hit.
"I'm just out there a little more concentrated than I have been, and it's paying off," said Brizuela.
In the field, Brizuela was equally as impressive, turning a few double plays and recording numerous putouts throughout the weekend making strong throw after strong throw. This was an especially welcoming sign from a player that has struggled in the field throughout his career at 3rd base. This weekend Jose Brizuela was brilliant all around and gets the MVP award.
The Seminoles (8-1) travel to Tampa to take on the USF Bulls (9-2) for a two game set Tuesday and Wednesday. Peter Miller will get the start Tuesday and the Noles will go "whole-staff" Wednesday against the Bulls. Game times are at 7 PM and 3 PM. FSU returns home this weekend to start conference play against the Maryland Terrapins (8-2). RaysnNoles will have a full preview of that Friday.