Florida State improved to 7-0 on the young season on Sunday afternoon, completing a sweep of the University of South Florida (1-5) by taking game two of their doubleheader 5-2.
After being rained out on Friday and part of Saturday, the two schools played a pair of games on Sunday, starting with Florida State's 8-0 win in the early game and finishing just as more storm clouds rolled in with a tightly contested 5-2 Seminole victory in the second matchup.
Behind freshman CF DJ Stewart's three RBI day and a strong pitching performance from junior RHP Peter Miller, the Seminoles jumped out to an early lead but had to battle down the stretch as the Bulls tried to rally for a late win.
"As long as I've been blessed to watch young men for Florida State play baseball, the more impressed I am with the way our guys got after it today," said FSU head coach Mike Martin. "You win the first game today, you know you've won the series, but yet there's no 'I'm satsified' [from this team]. There's that desire to win the next one. It's something that makes all of us coaches extremely proud to be associated with a group that approaches the game that way."
After a couple of high scoring games to start the series, USF and FSU traded scoreless frames over the first three innings with both pitchers dominating the opposing lineups.
USF starter, freshman RHP Jimmy Herget was the first to buckle, giving up a pair of doubles that lead to the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. After striking out junior LF Marcus Davis- the Seminoles' hottest hitter- Herget gave up a double to junior 1B Casey Smit.
The next batter, junior C Ladson Montgomery, belted another double to score Smit and give Florida State the early advantage.
The Seminoles added two more in the bottom of the fifth also. After an error allowed sophomore RF Josh Delph to reach with one out, Jose Brizuela drew a walk. Stewart came to the plate next and after a double-steal moved both runners into scoring position, belted a double to the left field corner that brought both home to extend the Florida State lead to 3-0.
On the mound for the Seminoles, Miller was excellent, working six scoreless innings and giving up just two hits, walking one and striking out five. He left the pitcher of record.
"Quality starts from both [of our pitchers today]. Best game I've seen Peter Miller pitch since he's been here," said Martin. "Miller had three pitches going for him and that's what it takes to beat a club like South Florida."
But the Bulls refused to go quietly, Bryan Holtmann replaced Miller in the top of the 7th and ran into trouble immediately. After issuing a leadoff walk to USF junior CF James Ramsay, senior RF Jimmy Falla doubled to knock Holtmann out of the game and put both runners into scoring position with no outs.
Junior RHP Gage Smith came in to try and work FSU out of the jam, but walked the first batter he faced, senior LF Alex Mendez, to load the bases. Freshman 3B Luke Maglich was able to bring the Bulls' first run of the game in on a fielder's choice two batters later, but Smith worked out of the inning allowing just the one run and the Seminoles escaped the jam with a 3-1 lead in tact.
The Seminoles got the run back in the bottom of the 7th when Stewart singled home freshman 2B John Sansone to push the Florida State advantage back to three runs.
But USF continued to fight.
In the top of the 8th senior RF Anthony Diaz started the inning out with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Smith. Despite retiring the next two batters, Ramsay was able to cut the Florida State lead to two with a single back up the middle to score Diaz.
After plunking the next batter, Smith was replaced by sophomore LHP Kyle Bird. Bird flirted with trouble of his own too, throwing a wild pitch to the first batter he faced that let both USF runners advance. But a play at the plate nailed Ramsay, who was attempting to score from second, and the Seminoles escaped yet another jam to get out of the 8th.
A Marcus Davis solo home run made it 5-2 heading into the top of 9th, when freshman RHP Jameis Winston came on for the save. The two-sport star had little trouble shutting down the Bulls, working a quick 1-2-3 inning for his first save of the season.
"He certainly did a good job [in the closer] role tonight," said Martin. "He had no display of nerves going out there in a save situation and got it done. We're looking for somebody to assume that role."
Next weekend Florida State will host Villanova.
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