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4 posts from March 22, 2013

March 22, 2013

Seminoles Rebound in Game Two, Beat Yellow Jackets 11-3

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Florida State (21-2, 6-2 ACC) rebounded from their 10-0 early game loss to Georgia Tech (18-4, 6-2 ACC) by taking game two of the doubleheader forcibly by a score of 11-3. Less than an hour after the book was closed on a dominating performance by the Jackets that featured Buck Farmer mowing through the Seminole lineup, Scott Sitz and the 'Noles responded in kind in the night cap.

“I was very impressed with the way we bounced back,” said head coach Mike Martin. “That says a lot about our club. Georgia Tech is certainly a very good team and it was great to see us bounce back like we did.”

Florida State jumped on top in the bottom of the first. After Josh Delph singled to lead off the ballgame and Marcus Davis doubled to put both men in scoring position, DJ Stewart scored Delph on a sacrifice fly. 

The next batter Stephen McGee singled to bring in Davis and make it 2-0 after the opening frame.

Stewart had a huge day for the Seminoles, in the 5th inning he hit a grand slam over the right-center field wall to blow the game wide open in the Seminoles' favor and make it 7-0.

“DJ is certainly a young man that just needs to play,” said Martin. “After the first game he was a little dejected but he is a guy that is learning the game. He went right back in there, had some very good at-bats and drove in a lot of runs for us tonight.”

He drove in 6 runs on the day on 2-4 hitting, he also had the sac fly that brought in Davis in the first. Stewart is going to be a huge part of the Seminole lineup moving forward, with him and Davis both hitting Florida State has the kind of lineup any team needs to be careful around.

Davis was 2-3 during the nightcap with two walks, he didn't drive anyone in but crossed the dish four times himself. Stephen McGee also went 2-4 and drove in three runs on the evening as Florida State avenged its early loss with 11 runs in the late game.

On this hill for the Seminoles Scott Sitz was not lights out, but he fought through five plus innings and got his fifth win of the season. 

“Scotty gave us exactly what we needed,” said Martin. “And that was five quality innings. I thought he battled. Georgia Tech is obviously a beautiful baseball team. They are the total package.  I did not see a weakness in their club; I was very impressed with them.”

Sitz finished the day with 5.1 IP, 8 H, 2R, 0 ER and 5K. 

Gage Smith went 1.2 innings in relief of Sitz and held the Jackets scoreless. After Kyle Bird ran into some trouble in the 8th, Brandon Johnson and Robby Coles combined to get the Seminoles through the rest of the game without allowing anyone else to cross. 

The Seminoles finished the day with a split, losing game one 10-0, taking game two 11-3. They will play the rubber game Sunday at 1 PM.

 

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

'Noles Get Knocked Around 10-0, Can't Solve Farmer in First Game of Doubleheader

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Florida State University decided earlier in the week to play a doubleheader on Friday afternoon in anticipation of some severe weather scheduled to make its way through the big bend on Saturday. Rather than try to fit the game in on Saturday afternoon, they opted to add a day game on Friday.

Unfortunately nobody informed the baseball team.

The Seminoles sleepwalked through the first game of their doubleheader against Georgia Tech on Friday afternoon, losing 10-0 and getting outhit 13-3 as Georgia Tech ace Buck Farmer mowed through their lineup.

Farmer was superb in the early game for the Yellow Jackets, pitching seven strong innings, striking out seven and surrendering just two hits while keep the Seminoles off balance all afternoon.

The Seminoles struggled to even make contact against Farmer and their approach at the plate- one where the team tries to work counts and take a lot of pitches- worked against Florida State in the day-game. Farmer was throwing strikes, getting ahead in counts and forcing the Seminole hitters off balance. 

The results were unmistakable, Florida State never got a runner past second against Farmer and never looked comfortable at the dish.

He had little problem improving to 5-0.

Opposite Farmer, LHP Brandon Leibrandt couldn't have had much more go wrong for him. 

After escaping a jam in the top of the first, Leibrandt lasted just one out into the top of the 2nd before getting the hook from Florida State manager Mike Martin.

Leibrandt gave up a double and a single to put men on the corners at the start of the inning, then allowed an RBI single by 2B Matt Gonzalez to plate the first of many Georgia Tech runs on the day.

The sophomore lefty was able to get the first out on a grounder the next batter, but then plunked the following hitter before LF Kyle Wren drove in two more with another single.

That was it for Leibrandt, who would be charged another run also before Bryant Holtmann could get Florida State out of the inning trailing 4-0.

Leibrandt's final line on the day was 1.1 IP, 10 BF, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 HBP and he took his first loss of the season to drop to 4-1.

Holtmann could only slow the bleeding. After a 1-2-3 third, he gave up two more runs when freshman DH Dylan Dore singled in the 4th to make it 6-0.

Kenny Burkhead also got knocked around some in his two innings, surrendering four more runs over the next two innings, three of which came when C Zane Evans homered to make it 10-0 in the 6th.

Down double digits the starters came out and both teams started getting some young players at-bats and experience.

The loss was just Florida State's second on the season, dropping them to 20-2.

But all wasn't lost on the day for the Seminoles, despite the offensive ineptitude and bad outings from several of their more reliable arms, freshman LHP Dylan Silva pitched three hitless innings to close the game out for the Seminoles. 

It was a small silver lining in an otherwise miserable game. The Seminoles will square off with Georgia Tech (18-3, 6-1 ACC) again in the nightcap coming up shortly.

 

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

FSU QB Sean Maguire Not Buying Into Dark-horse Label

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Headed into Spring practice the dark-horse in Florida State's four-man quarterback race is 6-3 215-pound Seton Hall Prep product, Sean Maguire.

Clint Trickett has already started games for the Seminoles and comes into 2013 as the safe, if unsexy option at QB. Jacob Coker is a redshirt sophomore entering his third year at FSU. He succeeded Alabama QB AJ McCarron in high school. He has his supporters. So does two-sport star and former Elite 11 QB prospect Jameis Winston who is already becoming a fan favorite at Florida State.

And then there's Maguire, the one name Jimbo Fisher has repeatedly inserted into the conversation since the end of last season. A relative unknown, Maguire seems like a long-shot to win the quarterback job to many.

But don't tell him that.

"Yeah, that’s like your guys’ perception on things, that’s not mine at all," said Maguire on Friday morning. "In my mind I do my thing, I work hard, I do things off the field by myself, I do things on the field with them. But in my mind I’m getting every equal rep that they are in practice, I’m learning the playbook, I’m developing.

"That’s exactly the way I’m looking at it, everyone portrays it as them three but in my mind and I know in coach Fisher’s mind I’m right there. I’ve been working hard and this is my chance to prove that I belong right there."

Maguire came from a prep school in New Jersey that ran a wing T. He's got a good arm and good versatility, but lacks the hype Winston came to Tallahassee with. 

The Jersey product was the top QB in his state. Rated a four star prospect by ESPN, he turned down offers from Alabama, NC State and Maryland to come to Florida State and play for the Seminoles.

“I wanted to come here, I loved the coaches, I love the whole school," said Maguire. "I think the competition is awesome. I could have taken the easy way out and went to some school up North and been starting but I’d rather compete with the best. They always say compete with the best to be the best, that’s the way I look at it.”

Taking the easy way out is clearly not something that's in Maguire's nature. The redshirt freshman signalcaller wanted to come to a top school and compete. And he's not going to leave anything on the table.

Maguire plans on winning the QB job by outworking everyone else for it.

“I just like to think that no matter what you do throughout your career, if you work hard and do the right things on and off the field eventually you will be rewarded," said Maguire. "That’s why I love to stay in the weight room later than everyone, or stay watching film or stay after practice and throw. I just feel like no matter what happens in life if you continue to do that, you’ll be rewarded.”

Something that might also work in Maguire's favor is that Florida State has a new quarterbacks coach in the fold. Dameyune Craig left for Auburn this past Winter, Randy Sanders is now coaching quarterbacks. That may seem only partially significant, but one of the more interesting Christian Ponder anecdotes was that he became the quarterback when Jimbo Fisher arrived and had a shot to evaluate everyone.

Had there not been coaching turnover the 3-star recruit likely would have never seen the field and would never have been selected 12th overall in the NFL draft. 

Dameyune Craig recruited Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston, James Coley recruited Maguire. Had Craig stayed on, just by virtue of his familiarity and relationship with the two young men he helped bring to the university, Maguire would have been at a disadvantage.

With Sanders new to the program, all things are again equal. Preconceptions and pre-existing relationships can't influence the competition. Everyone starts with a clean slate.

Of all four quarterbacks, that's the best news for Sean Maguire. 

"It’s good, I like coach Sanders a lot," said Maguire. "I mean it was tough see coach Craig and coach Coley leave. I liked them a lot.

"But coach Sanders is a very knowledgeable coach and I’ve been getting along with him so far."

 

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

Lamarcus Joyner Ready to Lead by Example

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Lamarcus Joyner says his decision to return to Florida State for his senior season was never that difficult. While he freely admits he enjoyed having the option to make the jump early and have a shot in the NFL, ultimately his decision to come back to the university he grew up rooting for was an easy one.

"I felt unaccomplished, I didn’t get a degree," said Joyner. "I came to college to accomplish more than going to the NFL."

The amount Joyner had to overcome just to get to Florida State is a story in and of itself (but one for another time). Come this December the 5-8 defensive back from Liberty City will graduate. The following April he'll likely be drafted and will start his NFL career.

That's why when Spring practice started this year, Joyner was lining up at corner in Jeremy Pruitt's new defense. Not as a safety where he'd been for the past two years under Stoops. Joyner would have been fine going into the NFL as a safety after his junior season, but undersized as he is, another part of his decision to return for his senior season was to help his draft stock.

"I wanted to finish up college and get a degree but I also wanted to do something that would help me for the next level," said Joyner. "It shows versatility, you play some corner your freshman year, move to safety, have some success and then you go back to cornerback and it also opened up room for young players like Karlos Williams to get on the field and have an impact for this team, so it was best for the team."

“It’s an experiment. He wanted to do that," said Jeremy Pruitt at the start of Spring camp. "It was as much his idea as it was anybody’s. He can market himself a little better. He’s been a good player at the safety position but he was a high school corner, him choosing to come back for his senior year, showing that he can play out there on the perimeter plus at safety, in the NFL the more positions you can play the more valuable you create yourself.”

So far the early returns on Joyner's move back to corner have been good and they need to be. With Nick Waisome, Tyler Hunter and Ronald Darby all out for Spring, the rest of the young defensive backs will be looking to Joyner for his example even more.

“He is so competitive," said Jimbo Fisher. "Every time someone would catch the ball ‘coach he pushed.’ He never gets beat. I love him. He’s the ultimate competitor. For a little guy, he’s so powerful."

Joyner prefers not to be a vocal leader, he isn't the rah-rah sort of guy who is going to chirp at his teammates for a whole game. He'll tell you that the team has Christian Jones and Telvin Smith for that. 

Joyner leads with his example. Last year that was by playing safety like a heat-seeking missile. This year, as he describes it, it's in a single combat scenario where he plans to use his physicality to battle a receiver for a full 60 minutes and shut him down. 

But make no mistake about it he classifies himself as a "defensive back." Because he's going to line up wherever the Seminoles need him, which means back at safety should injuries or inconsistency dictate it.

"Now I get to be a leader for this team," said Joyner. "The weight really falls on my shoulders.

"It’s a special feeling because you know you had guys like EJ, Xavier Rhodes, Werner that you looked up to yourself but now you got a bunch of young guys looking up to you."

For Joyner, that leadership all boils down to one concept, be a man.

And that will be important because he's without the coach he admits cast that example and became like a father to him in his first three years as a Seminole.

"I feel like I’m on my own now," said Joyner, who's mentor, Mark Stoops, left to take the head coaching job at Kentucky this past December.

Stoops took Joyner under his wing while he was in Tallahassee, advising him on all things life and football. His departure had many fans scared Joyner would not be far behind on his way to the NFL draft.

But Joyner had other ideas. Things left to accomplish. There was the business of finishing his degree, helping his draft stock and then there's the challenge of growing up into the leader of the 2013 Seminole defense.

"I mean I can use those three years that Coach Stoops used to mentor me and show me the way and do things the right way," said Joyner. "You’ve got to be a grown man. Coach Stoops always told me two things, you’ve got to be a grown man and it ain’t easy. So with all the things he taught me I’ve got to see how I can handle this thing with him gone, I’m on my own now.”

 

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


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