Florida State baseball broke the brooms out Sunday afternoon, defeating visiting Oakland University (Michigan), 5-1, to complete the opening weekend sweep.
True freshman Cobi Johnson made his first career start for the Seminoles (3-0) and showed signs of brilliance. Johnson, who was drafted in the 35th round by the San Diego Padres, hadn't pitched in a game since early on in his senior year of high school, before an injury held him out. Some believe he would have been an ever high draft pick had he played a complete senior season, and you could see why on Sunday.
Johnson threw five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out six batters. And he took advantage of his Sunday start, being able to watch the first two games, showing lots of maturity.
"I've never played a series before - in high school you just play one game," Johnson said. "Being able to watch the teams the two games before and take in all of that information [is helpful]."
"[Oakland] liked to take first pitch until they get runners on, so you have to get ahead. They'll bite on the curve balls down and stuff like that. Pitching on Sundays, you get an advantage being able to watch the teams play two times."
Unlike Saturday's game where the Seminoles scored their runs in bundles, Sunday found the Seminole offense scattering runs here and there, occasionally stifling scoring opportunities with unwarranted base running.
FSU's first run of the day came in the second inning on a Darren Miller ground out to short, scoring Gage West, who had advanced to third after doubling off the screen in right field. West finished 2-of-4 with a pair of doubles; Miller 1-of-3 with a double of his own.
While Johnson continued to keep the Grizzlies in hibernation, freshman Dylan Busby, who drove in four runs on Saturday, added another RBI with a single to left in the third inning, bringing DJ Stewart across home plate. Stewart crossed the plate again in the fifth inning, scoring on a wild pitch.
After going without a hit on Friday, Busby finished his weekend with four hits and five runs batted in.
"Busby had a little shaky start, but the next two games he was on fire," Stewart said. "I really think that he grew. Of course you're gonna be nervous - I was nervous my first game playing in front of a crowd like that, but he really bounced back. I think all of the guys - as we keep going - they're going to get more experience and show how much they can really play."
While Alec Byrd, Dylan Silva and Billy Strode combined for four innings of relief, giving up an unearned run in the seventh, the Seminoles put together a little run in the eighth. Danny De La Calle and Josh Delph each recorded RBI singles to put the game out of reach.
FSU will travel to Jacksonville on Tuesday for the first road game of its young season.
Florida State appears to have a bright future.
The Seminoles walked into Dick Howser Stadium Saturday afternoon for their second of three games against Oakland University (Michigan) having left any opening day jitters behind them, as they went on to romp the visiting Golden Grizzlies, 15-2, to seal a series for the 34th consecutive opening weekend.
Tallahassee native (Chiles High) Boomer Biegalski took the mound for the first time in an FSU uniform and he didn't disappoint. Biegalski - who I'm dubbing as "The Dude" - worked five full innings, allowing seven hits, striking out nine batters, walking just one and allowing two runs.
"I'm very pleased with the way Biegalski handled his first start as a Seminole," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "I thought his mound presence was excellent. A couple of time, things didn't go exactly right for him, but he didn't drop his head or look that concerned."
"He just pitched himself right out of jams. I mean, two earned runs and one walk with nine strikeouts in five innings - that's pretty dadgum impressive."
The Seminoles didn't wait long after Oakland's initial run came across in the top of the first, adding seven of their own in the bottom of the inning - six of which were unearned. As FSU had early on the night before, the Golden Grizzlies had some troubles on defense and allowed the Seminoles to take advantage.
FSU quickly loaded the bases due to some errant infield play from Oakland, giving freshman third baseman Dylan Busby his second plate appearance with the bases stacked in 24 hours - and the youngster took advantage, recording the first RBI of his young career on a single to the left side. After leaving without a hit in Game 1, Busby went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four runs batted in.
A Darren Miller walk; a Hank Truluck infield single; a Danny De L Calle single up the middle; a passed ball; a Josh Delph duck fart to shallow left and, before you knew it, the Seminoles were up 7-1 heading into the second inning.
"We got a couple gifts in the first inning and took advantage of them," Martin said. "You get seven the way we got them - those were gift wrapped. One was a double play ball, but we took advantage. That's what is encouraging - we took advantage of them."
After adding another run on a Busby double off the wall in center during the second inning, the Seminoles had another rally to pull out of the bag in the third.
Danny De La Calle kicked things off in the third with a two-run shot to left field, giving FSU the 10-2 lead. De La Calle - who looks to provide more production this season at the plate - drove in four runs on two hits Saturday afternoon.
"I mean, it felt great," De La Calle said. "I was just trying to help my team out. It felt good these past days hitting, coming back from the injury. Coming out with two strikes, I just tried a small stroke and he threw the ball and I hit a good one."
The 'Noles continued to showcase their youthful talent when, in the bottom of the seventh inning, freshman Steven Wells, during his first career at-bat, absolutely cranked one to left field to give FSU its 15th and final run of the game.
FSU will return to the field Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m. in search of a series sweep.
The Florida State baseball team is riddled with youthful talent that will need time to blossom as it continues its 2015 campaign, but the Seminoles will lean on savvy veterans to provide support during the growing process.
And they did just that Friday evening during the season opener against Oakland University (Michigan), as the Seminoles fought back from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the visiting Golden Bears, 7-3, with the help of some late-inning fireworks.
Mike Compton - FSU's only returning starter in the weekend rotation - took the mound for his first career Opening Day start and it wasn't a pretty first inning. Three errors turned the newborn Seminole defense on its head, allowing Oakland to bring two runs across before FSU could even make it to the plate. And an interference call on an Oakland runner helped the 'Noles escape without even further damage.
But Compton - one of those savvy vets - kept calm and gained control, retiring 15 straight batters on his way to 81 pitches. He threw six innings, allowed just three hits and struck out six.
"It was nice to have Mike Compton on the mound to keep everything from getting out of hand," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "He did a great job; we made a couple of mistakes. But it was a game that was, after that inning, very well played, and I'm very pleased with the fact that we got it done."
Compton added: "[The jitters] is kind of expected. If you don't have butterflies on opening day, then I don't who you would be. You're going to have to face adversity at some point in the season, some point in the game, but it just happened to be in the first game. But we bounced back pretty well, guys started settling in there after the first inning and we started just playing Florida State baseball."
It took five innings before reigning ACC Player of the Year DJ Stewart put FSU on the board with a RBI double to left-center, scoring center fielder Ben DeLuzio from second base. Stewart reached base on all five plate appearances, finishing 3-for-3 with a pair of walks and an RBI. He also scored a run.
The sole returning infielder John Sansone wasn't far behind when, in the bottom of the seventh inning, he laced one down the left field line for a 2 RBI double, giving FSU the 3-2 lead - its first of the game. With Compton beginning the year hitting in the cleanup spot, the Seminoles will need this type of production from the junior second baseman.
Rounding out the veteran leadership is the returning right fielder and lead off hitter Josh Delph, who, when the icing had already made its appearance, decided to spread it on thick, blasting a grand slam over the right field screen to bring the house down inside Dick Howser Stadium.
"You expect the experience to produce in an opening game like this," Martin said. "It was great to see DJ, not only get three hits and drive in a run, but just the way he had everything under control. And who would've expected Joshua [Delph] to hit the ball over the screen for a salami. He'll get up there - the consummate lead off hitter - and then all of a sudden, first pitch, if I'm not mistaken, hits it out of the ballpark. You might say he fooled somebody on that one."
Delph's grand slam was the first of his career and only the second home run in an FSU uniform.
"I've never hit a [grand slam] before," Delph said with a grin when asked if he had ever hit a grand slam even in little league. "I was saving it."
Bryant Holtmann, Dylan Silva and Derek Vail combined for three innings of relief Friday evening. allowing just one run and striking out five.
The Seminoles will return to the diamond Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. for Game 2 of their series against the Golden Grizzlies. FSU will have JUCO transfer RHP Boomer Biegalski on the mound.