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2 posts from February 16, 2013

February 16, 2013

Florida State Beats URI 6-2 After Three-Run 7th


Florida State improved to 2-0 on the season Saturday afternoon after winning a fairly sloppy game against Rhode Island. Despite giving up five walks, hitting a batter and committing a couple of errors (and several more mental mistakes) the Seminoles won 6-2 after a big seventh inning gave them the lead for good.

"You have to be pleased with the way we kept our poise and just battled," said FSU head coach Mike Martin. "It was one of those games- and I mean you don't ever [make] excuses- but it was just a little bit chilly. It didn't matter, we fought we did what we needed to do to win the baseball game. I'm very proud of our young men."

The game started off slowly with neither team scoring until the bottom of the 4th when freshman CF DJ Stewart drew a bases loaded walk to give Florida State the early 1-0 advantage.

For most of the rest of the day it was a pitcher's duel with both teams working in and out of jams and drawing plenty of walks. 

Rhode Island starting pitcher, senior right-hander Sean Furney, worked four innings surrendering just the one run but also walking seven and raising his pitch count to well over 100 before even reaching the 5th. Junior LHP Nick Narodowy replaced him in the fifth and pitched two scorless before running into trouble with one out in the seventh.

For Florida State, senior RHP Scott Sitz started and lasted just four innings himself, striking out four and walking one while giving up four hits and no runs.

"We made some quality pitches, Scott Sitz had a quality outing, they did a good job of being patient and getting his pitch count up, we weren't going to let him go into the 90's and he'd thrown 78 [through four], so we had to get him out of the ballgame," said Martin. "But I thought he pitched very well."

Sitz was replaced with sophomore LHP Kyle Bird who struggled a little but worked himself out of a bases loaded jam in fifth. After a quiet sixth, things fell apart for junior RHP Gage Smith in the top of the seventh though.

With two men on, sophomore 3B Jose Brizuela went to second to try and set up the double play but skipped the throw in causing the ball to careen away from the bag. That throwing error allowed the first Rhode Island run to cross. Moments later junior LHP Brandon Johnson replaced Smith and induced a sacrifice fly which scored the second run of the inning for the Rams and gave them a 2-1 advantage.

But Florida State struck back in the bottom of the inning. After freshman Stewart reached on an error, a Stephen McGee (JR C) walk advanced him to second and a Marcus Davis (JR OF) sacrifice bunt advanced both runners to scoring position. That was enough to knock Narodowy from the game.

Senior RHP Bobby Dean replaced him for URI and promptly walked John Nogowski to load the bases. Jameis Winston grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out on the first pitch of the next at-bat, but Dean would plunk Brizuela the very next batter to bring the tying run in anyway and even the game at two.

"Big, big play right there. It was one of those that got away from the pitcher, it was well into the batter's box and so instead of running from it, he wears it," said Martin. "That took a lot of nerve, that's the mark of a winner. I'm very proud of Jose." 

Dean followed the plunking by surrendering the lead, issuing a walk to the ninth hitter, freshman 2B John Sansone, and putting the 'Noles back on top 3-2.

Rob Curran replaced Dean and plated the third Florida State run of the inning on a wild pitch before retiring Josh Delph to end the 7th.

With a 4-2 lead Johnson worked a quick 1-2-3 eighth inning and turned it back over to the Seminole offense in the bottom of the inning. Senior SS Justin Gonzalez provided a little more insurance with a leadoff home run. 

But Florida State wasn't done.

Stewart singled followed by a Stephen McGee walk. The bases were loaded when the Rams couldn't get a handle on a Seth Miller sacrifice bunt and he reached safely. John Nogowski hit a sacrifice fly to deep left to drive in the sixth run of the game before Curran was able to get the final two outs and get out of the inning with the URI now trailing 6-2.

Johnson stayed on during the ninth and worked through a couple of errors for a scoreless final frame to give the Seminoles the win, 6-2, and improve them to 2-0 on the young season.

Florida State wraps up its series with URI tomorrow at noon.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.

Hoops: Florida State Edges Boston College 69-66


Florida State needed Saturday's game against Boston College badly. After suffering through several difficult losses, a rash of injuries and fading postseason hopes, the Seminoles (14-11, 6-6 ACC) needed to get things headed in the right direction against the Eagles. A team they overmatched- at least on paper.

Fortunately a 21-point performance from Michael Snaer and a career high in assists from Devon Bookert were enough to make up for some issues defensively and get the Seminoles back to .500 in ACC play.

"Going into this game I thought Boston College was a little bit dangerous," said head coach Leonard Hamilton of the Eagles (11-14, 3-9 ACC). "I thought our players really adjusted well. We had a little difficulty getting over the ball-screens and [closing out] on the threes. But on the offensive end I thought our guys did well."

The Seminoles jumped out to a 31-26 first half lead behind the early performance of Michael Snaer. The senior guard played 18 minutes in the first and lead the Seminoles with ten points, four rebounds and an assist. Okaro White contributed seven and Aaron Thomas added four in the half. Both Terry Whisnant and Montay Brandon connected on a first-half three as well. 

Despite getting out shot 45-to-41 percent, the Seminoles were able to gain the early advantage by out-rebounding the Eagles 19-11, and more importantly 7-1 on the offensive end. But that doesn't tell the complete story either. Despite the seven first-half offensive rebounds, the 'Noles only managed four second-chance points.

Even when the rebounding is there, the Seminoles still need to improve their efficiency on the second effort. A lot of that will come with more strength and experience from the big men on the roster. Boris Bojanovsky, Kiel Turpin and Michael Ojo are all developing but need to learn to be more demonstrative inside. It will come eventually but for now it's a work in progress.

In the second half, the BC three-pointer brought them back and Florida State's rebounding fell off. FSU lead by as many as 12 in the first half but after the Eagles got the hot hand from behind the arc, the Seminoles lost the advantage quickly. 

Olivier Hanlan hit a couple three's early in the second, but got into foul trouble and went to the bench. His teammates picked up where he left off though and continued to connect from deep. By the second media timeout it was 45-42 BC and the Seminoles were once again searching for offense and perimeter defense. 

On Wednesday against no. 3 Miami the Seminoles were determined to prevent the Hurricanes from beating them on the perimeter and limited UM to just 8 three-point attempts total. That defensive focus was missing against the Eagles though as BC was able to get good looks beyond the arc regularly and ended the day shooting 9-of-16 from deep.

Florida State fought through it though, recapturing the lead 54-50 behind a 12-point burst that included couple of threes from Snaer and Ian Miller and some solid play out of White. White was key for the Seminoles on Saturday, picking up the offensive slack when necessary on his way to 13 points and 8 rebounds. 

Florida State continued to pull away as the game wound down, Snaer added to his stellar first half performance with 11 more in the second to finish the day with 21 as well as six rebounds and two assists. 

"I thought Michael did a good job of letting the game come to him," said Hamilton. "I thought he was very efficient and provided great leadership on the floor."

Devon Bookert was also key for Florida State, after a quiet first half the freshman point guard had six second-half assists (to bring his total to a career-best eight) and did it without a single turnover. Even despite getting just seven second-half rebounds as a team and losing the overall rebounding battle 27-26 (after dominating in the first half), the performance from Bookert, Snaer and White on the offensive end proved enough to give the Seminoles the advantage late in the game.

It got close at the end though.

Headed into the final 90 seconds Florida State had a 66-60 advantage, but two bad possessions gave BC a chance, letting them pull to within two. With 22 seconds left, trailing 66-64 the Eagles fouled Bookert and sent him to the line to shoot. He hit both, extending the Florida State advantage to four and leaving BC in desperation mode.

The Eagles would add a lay-in on their end with 6.4 seconds remaining and then sent Terry Whisnant to the line. He split the free throws, giving BC a shot to tie it with five seconds remaining. But after the Eagles in-bounded and raced down the court, Ryan Anderson's buzzer-beater hit the front of the rim giving the Seminoles a 69-66 win.

FSU shot 51% on the day and limited themselves to just ten turnovers, it was good enough to mask an effort that featured lax perimeter defense at times and inconsistent rebounding. 

But the Seminoles know heading forward against better competition they will need to become a more consistent team in all facets in order to have any chance at making a run in the ACC tournament.

"I'm somewhat encouraged because we've probably been a little more inconsistent [than we were today] the rest of the year," said Hamilton. "But there's still a long ways to go."


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter.



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