The No. 11 Florida State baseball team faced its first ranked opponent of the season Friday night in opening up conference play against the No. 22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets after warming up against largely inferior competition early in the season. And so far, so good, as the 'Noles used the long ball to dismantle GT by a final score of 8-2.
- FSU had been getting off to rather slow starts recently, but that was certainly not the case on Friday. After a quick 1-2-3 top of the first, the 'Noles got after Tech starter Brandon Gold, who came in with an ERA of just 2.00, early and often. Taylor Walls tagged him for a leadoff double and scored in the first. Busby began the bottom half of the second with a two-bagger as well, and then Florida State blew it open with five in the third after the Jackets had knotted it at one in the second. The 'Noles stayed after GT pitchers throughout, getting at least one man aboard in every inning.
- A crowd of 3,792 took in the contest, and the Seminoles treated them to a display of power we'd yet to see from them this season. The 'Noles came into this one with just six home runs in 13 games, yet on Friday night, FSU went yard four times. The biggest shot was also the first, as Darren Miller authored a three-run blast to highlight the scoring in the third. Not to be outdone, Ben DeLuzio followed him with a solo shot of his own. They were Florida State's first back-to-back bombs since D.J. Stewart and Quincy Nieporte hit a couple vs. Clemson last year. Cal Raleigh led off the 'Nole fifth with the third dinger of his short career, and John Sansone got his fourth of the season in the seventh. It's the first time the Seminoles have gone deep four times in a single contest since topping Florida here last year.
- All eyes were on starting pitcher Mike Compton and how he'd perform against a Tech team that came in undefeated and could straight rake, and Compton acquitted himself quite nicely. Sure, an early cushion is the best friend of a contact pitcher like Compton, and the Techies nevertheless mashed a lot of pitches, but enough of them found FSU gloves. He scattered six hits over seven innings of work, allowing just two earned and fanning six while walking just one. He did hit two batters, but again, he worked his way out of jam after jam and received a nice ovation when he was replaced by Ed Voyles. The win improves Compton to 3-1 on the year.
- For the second straight game, FSU allowed its opponent off the hook a bit when in a jam, grounding into double plays to extinguish threats. The 'Noles did so four times on the evening, including two such transgressions by Quincy Nieporte.
- Yes, Compton only gave up a couple of runs, but it really could have been worse, as Georgia Tech really hit the ball well off him. Of the six hits he allowed, three were doubles and one was a home run.
- You could take the negative approach and say that FSU was gifted some runs, as GT committed a pair of errors that played into only three of the Florida State runs being earned-- but I'm not going to. Good teams make the competition pay for its mistakes, and that's exactly what the Seminoles did to the Jackets.
These two teams will meet again for game two on Saturday, which, in case you missed it, has been moved from 6 pm to 2 pm due to the threat of evening storms.