Down 5-0 in the bottom of the 2nd inning, sophomore 3B Jose Brizuela wasn't about to let the Florida State Seminoles (22-2, 7-2 ACC) go quietly like they had in the first game of their series against Georgia Tech (18-5, 6-3 ACC).
In the day game of Friday's doubleheader the Seminoles had gone without a whimper, letting Georgia Tech plate 10 runs and failing to produce any offense whatsoever to back starter Brandon Leibrandt and the Seminole bullpen.
On Sunday, after allowing the Yellow Jackets to jump out to an early 5-0 lead, Brizuela wasn't about to let history repeat itself. After battling to a full count to lead off the bottom of the 2nd inning, the sophomore third baseman belted a ball to right field, took a big turn around first base and beat the throw into second.
"After we got out of the [top of the] inning, Jameis [Winston] brought us all together, like I thought I was just a lineman or something and he was a quarterback talking to me," joked Brizuela. "He just pumped me up and I was in the batter's box trying to have a good at-bat, 3-2 count he fortunately left a pitch up and I drove it and fortunately started things off for the team."
That hit- and the run that followed two batters later- were the start of a Florida State comeback that saw FSU make up a five run deficit and win 8-6 on Sunday to take two of three from the ACC-rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
"It was just an outstanding win for [the team]," said head coach Mike Martin. "You just can't say enough about what a good job the bullpen did, every single pitcher that went out there held the other club in check.
"After three innings we're down 5-0, our bullpen did a great job of keeping them right there for the next six innings and that's exciting for us. It goes to show you what a great job [pitching coach] Mike Bell has done with our pitchers."
Georgia Tech jumped out to a big lead early, knocking Florida State starter Peter Miller out of the ballgame after just one and a third innings.
The Yellow Jackets plated two in the first inning when RF Daniel Palka singled and a throwing error on Miller allowed everyone to advance and a run to score. The next batter, C Zane Evans hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the second Georgia Tech run of the inning, making it 2-0 before the Seminoles even came to the plate.
After a quiet bottom of the first from the Seminole offense, the Jackets got after it again in the top of the 2nd, scoring three more and knocking Miller from the game with just one out in the inning.
SS Mott Hyde and DH Daniel Spingola singled to start the top of the 2nd inning, LF Kyle Wren (son of Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren) doubled to drive in Hyde and make it 3-0. 3B Sam Dove cleared the bases with a double of his own the next batter to make it 5-0 and Martin had seen enough. He replaced Miller with Bryant Holtmann who was able to settle things down for Florida State.
"Bryant had a very good outing, his cutter was working as well as I've seen it this year," said Martin. "His cutter was getting in on their outstanding hitters, I mean they had ten hits in the first four innings. It was just a great job of pitching from Bryant Holtmann."
Tech finished the day with 11 hits.
Holtmann would work the next 3.1 innings, giving up just one run and two hits while striking out five. His presence on the mound was enough to calm the Yellow Jacket bats and allow the Seminole offense to get Florida State back in to the game.
And the Seminole offense wasted little time clawing their way back in.
After Brizuela doubled to lead off the 2nd inning, two straight sacrifice flies brought him in for the first Florida State run of the game. Two innings later in the bottom of the 4th they got another when 2B John Sansone singled home CF Seth Miller.
But Georgia Tech answered with an insurance run in the top of the 5th when 1B AJ Murray singled in CF Brandon Thomas to make it 6-2.
Florida State wasn't going quietly on Sunday though. The Seminoles used two-run innings in the 6th and 7th to tie the game at six heading into the final two frames.
In the 6th inning the Seminoles chased Tech starter Cole Pitts when they put two men on with one out in the inning. Pitts took the no-decision, going 5.1, striking out one, walking five and giving up five hits. He was also charged for three of the four runs he surrendered, including one of the baserunners that RHP Alex Cruz inherited from him in the top of the 6th.
With two on and one out, Cruz came on to face Sansone who he plunked to load the bases. RF Josh Delph grounded to shortstop next, scoring Seth Miller on the fielder's choice, but a throwing error on the secondbaseman allowed Giovanny Alfonzo to score too and kept Tech from getting out of the inning.
An inning later, trailing 6-4, Florida State tied the game when Miller drove in 1B Casey Smit and C Stephen McGee with a double to right center. The Seminole threat may have continued but with two outs, and men on the corners, Miller was thrown out attempting to steal home after a pick-off attempt at first base to end the inning.
Gage Smith, who finished the top of the 7th for Florida State to work out of Brandon Johnson's jam, created one of his own to start the top of the 8th. Smith gave up a single to Murray, before a fielder's choice recorded the first out of the inning. Smith then gave up a walk to Mott Hyde which made Martin go to the Florida State pen for Robby Coles.
"We went down there a little quickly and got Robby," joked Martin afterwards. "But Mamba pitched well."
Coles quickly induced two pop flies to help the Seminoles escape the inning without any damage, leaving two Yellow Jackets stranded in the process.
Cruz came back out to work the bottom of the 8th for Tech but was replaced after recording the first out by Jonathan King.
That ended up being a mistake.
King quickly walked Josh Delph before giving up a single LF Marcus Davis to put two on with one out for DJ Stewart. After both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Stewart drove them both in with a single up the middle to give Florida State the lead 8-6.
Robby Coles came back out to a work a 1-2-3 9th inning to give Florida State the win. It was Coles' first win of the season, and improved the Seminoles to 22-2.
"It was just a team win," said Martin. "And a very important win for us."
It was the 18th straight victory for FSU when wearing their Sunday gold uniforms.
Florida State battles Florida in Jacksonville on Tuesday before traveling to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech for three games next weekend.
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