Florida State came on strong and didn't ease up until the sixth, refusing to leave an open frame through the first five innings on its way to the 11-8 victory over visiting Central Florida.
The Seminoles (14-3) threw Alec Byrd (3-0) on the mound to make his first start of the season against the Knights (14-3) and the lefty pitched well against a UCF lineup that includes five different players hitting .346 or higher, allowing three runs - all earned - on six hits during his four innings pitched. Byrd threw 72 pitches, 50 for strikes.
And with those strikes came contact, so in came Dylan Silva in the fifth. Silva would throw 2.1 innings, allowing just as many runs (3) on five hits. This is a very good UCF team, and it's expecting too much to keep a lineup like this silent.
But the FSU bats were the saving grace, scoring three runs in the first, two in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth and three in the fifth.
Any time the Knights would answer, the Seminoles had one of their own. Any time the Knights grew silent, the Seminoles dug that hole just a little deeper.
Chris Marconcini, the grad transfer from Duke who has missed the first part of the season after having knee surgery, was back in the lineup as a DH and hitting cleanup behind DJ Stewart. Marconcini brought runs across on a RBI single and a RBI fielder's choice, finishing 1-of-3 from the plate.
But it was the movement in the lineup, due to Marconcini's presence, that may have had the biggest impact.
John Sansone moved to the two-spot, pushing Darren Miller deeper in the lienup and freeing up the freshman third baseman Dylan Busby. And both Sansone and Busby seemed to thrive in the changes.
Sansone, who has struggled this year, went 2-for-4 with a RBI on a solo home run shelacked to left field, and Busby finished his night 3-of-5 with two doubles (7) and two RBI. Josh Delph and Taylor Walls each knocked in a pair of RBI as well.
Up six runs heading into the seventh, FSU flirted with disaster a bit, escaping by the skin of its teeth a couple times. The Knights walked away with a single run in each of the three innings, but had potential for plenty more.
This was a great win for the Seminoles against a great UCF team that will likely open the eyes of some of the national guys who are used to seeing FSU near the top of the rankings but who are unsure of a youthful ball club.
FSU will have its hands full again on Wednesday as the Knights look for redemption. Bryant Holtmann will take the hill for the Noles on Wednesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.
*I'll be out of town tomorrow (Wednesday) and this weekend (Wake) for a wedding, but Ariya will be on the scene taking care of y'all.