Florida State (13-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) opened up conference play with a 4-0 win over Boston College (3-9, 0-1 ACC) at Dick Howser Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Behind eight solid innings from sophomore LHP Brandon Leibrandt and some early offense, the Seminoles one-hit the Eagles to move their win-streak to 13 consecutive games and open their ACC schedule on the right foot.
"It was one that it's nice to get off to this start, but certainly something you don't expect to give up just one hit," said FSU head coach Mike Martin. "We know that Brandon is capable of that and we're very proud of what he did tonight and what our team accomplished, but there again it's one game of a 30 game ACC schedule."
The Seminoles tacked on runs in each of the first three innings behind RBI's by junior C Stephen McGee, junior DH Marcus Davis and sophomore 3B Jose Brizuela.
Davis scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first when a grounder to second base allowed leadoff hitter Josh Delph to cross. The next inning a Brizuela sacrifice fly brought in sophomore 1B John Nogowski. FSU got their third when McGee doubled to drive in Davis from first.
That was all the run support Leibrandt needed. The Seminoles' Friday night starter was superb against Boston College, thoroughly shutting down their lineup over eight innings and giving up just a single hit.
"Of all the things that can occur in the game of baseball, a no hitter or four home runs rank right up there," said Martin. "Brandon was masterful, worked both sides of the plate, through the curveball, through the changeup. It was just a beautifully-pitched ball game."
Leibrandt was perfect through seven when he took the hill with 90 pitches under his belt in the top of the 8th. He retired the first batter, but 3B John Hennessy took Leibrandt through the hole between third and short the very next batter for the Eagles' first hit of the game.
Leibrandt worked out of the inning though, finishing the game with 8 IP, 4BB, 3 K and just the one hit.
"I had good fastball command, that was pretty big for me tonight," said Leibrandt after the game. "And the changeup was pretty big for me tonight. My slider was here and there but it wasn't as consistent as it needed to be."
Leibrandt's night didn't seem destined to be that great at the outset. Four of the first six hitters lined well-hit balls right at defenders.
"Early on he spiked a couple fastballs," said McGee, who caught Leibrandt Friday night. "So you were kind of a little worried, but as he went on he kind of loosened up, got relaxed and started finding the zone."
The Seminoles added an insurance run in the 6th when sophomore SS Giovanny Alfonzo scored on a fielder's choice by freshman CF DJ Stewart.
But the FSU bats were not nearly as loud as they have been at points on the 13 game win-streak that Florida State has opened with. The Seminoles mustered just six hits over the course of the game and missed several key opportunities to have the big inning.
At one point in the third after doubling, Stewart was picked off at second as he leaned too far towards third. Just a few pitches later McGee hit his RBI double and Davis, who had walked while Stewart stood on second, scored easily from first. The base-running gaffe cost the Seminoles a run and could have had a much bigger impact in a closer game.
The Seminoles also made three errors. For all his contributions at the plate, Brizuela continues to struggle in the field as he adjusts to third base. On Friday he buried a throw across the infield in the dirt and Nogowski couldn't glove it cleanly. Like most of Florida State's mistakes on Friday it didn't end up costing the Seminoles much, but these are mistakes Mike Martin will likely need to see eliminated as ACC play continues.
Florida State plays Boston College the next two days before heading to Gainesville on Tuesday to square off with the University of Florida.
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