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39 posts from March 2013

March 09, 2013

Sitz Solid as Seminoles Beat BC 9-4

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The Florida State Seminoles (14-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) made it 14 straight wins on Saturday night behind a solid outing from senior RHP Scott Sitz and a seven-run second inning. 

Coming into the game Sitz hadn't allowed a run in over 19 innings. Against Boston College (3-10, 0-2 ACC) he continued to be sharp, picking up his third win of the season as the Seminoles pounded the Eagles 9-4.

"Scotty pitched a very solid baseball game," said FSU head coach Mike Martin. "He got a couple of breaks there in the second when we threw a seven-spot up but I think what really impressed me the most about tonight's ballgame was once we got a lead nobody sat on it."

Florida State tacked on their first run in the bottom of the first inning when junior DH Marcus Davis drove in sophomore RF Josh Delph on a grounder to second.

But the Seminoles broke the game wide open in the 2nd.

After sophomore 1B John Nogowski fouled out to start the inning, sophomore 3B Jose Brizuela singled to get things started for FSU. Senior CF Seth Miller doubled next to put two men in scoring position for sophomore SS Giovanny Alfonzo, who singled, scoring Brizuela and putting men on the corners. After freshman 2B John Sansone walked to load the bases, Delph singled to left scoring Miller and Alfonzo. 

Freshman LF DJ Stewart cleared the bases with a triple to center on an 0-2 count the very next batter to put Florida State up 6-0. After Davis brought Stewart in from third on a sacrifice fly, junior C Stephen McGee capped the seven-run outburst with a solo shot to left.

BC starter John Gorman lasted just 1.2, giving up seven hits, eight runs and a walk. The Seminoles handed the ball back to Sitz heading into the third with a commanding 8-0 lead.

The Eagles tacked on two unearned runs during that frame though when Alfonzo committed an error at short that allowed John Hennessy and Gabriel Hernandez to score. It put an end to Scott Sitz' 22-inning scoreless streak that dated back to the game against UCLA in the College World Series last season.

Sitz gave up his first earned run in 23 innings an inning later in the top of the 4th after a couple of base hits put men on the corners for Matt McGovern. The Eagles' rightfielder brought in Hennessy on a double but LF Jimmy Dowdell was thrown out at home trying to score from first, ending the BC threat and the inning with Florida State still leading 8-3.

Other than the one earned run in the 4th though, Sitz was solid for the Seminoles, working 5.1 innings, striking out five, walking two, giving up six hits and allowing four runs, though just the one was earned.

He left the game in the 6th when another Seminole error, this time on Brizuela at third, allowed the fourth BC run of the game to cross and make it 8-4.

Sophomore LHP Bryant Holtmann came on in relief of Sitz and worked a hitless 2.0 innings, but also walked three including two in the 8th when he was pulled in favor of junior RHP Gage Smith with one down and two men on.

Smith wasted little time inducing a grounder to start an inning ending double play that got the Seminoles out of the jam still holding on to their four run lead.

Florida State added an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th when Sansone drove home Seth Miller to put FSU up 9-4. Smith stayed on for the Seminoles to work the ninth.

"We were hoping we could come up and do some damage [after the big 2nd inning] and put the game away, but then they started pecking away," said Martin, Florida State mustered just one run on a handful of hits over the final seven innings.

"So we know that tomorrow we have to be at our best to be successful because [BC] is a good baseball team."

Florida State plays Boston College in game three of the series tomorrow at 1 PM at Dick Howser Stadium. The game will be carried live on ESPN3.

 

 

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

Seminoles Send Snaer Out a Winner, Knock Off Wolfpack 71-67

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On Saturday afternoon Florida State senior guard Michael Snaer prepared to run out on the court for the Seminoles one final time.

After arriving in Tallahassee four years ago amid McDonald's All-American hype and considerable expectations, Snaer has helped Florida State raise its national profile in basketball over the course of his time at FSU.

But this season has been difficult for the California native. The talented guard has been forced to play a different role, pushed out of his comfort zone by the youth and inexperience of his teammates. After three consecutive seasons of tournament appearances, Snaer's lone hope for a fourth trip to the dance comes in the form of next week's ACC tournament- which Florida State must win in order to get in.

That mattered little on Saturday afternoon though as Snaer turned in one final memorable performance in front of his hometown crowd in Tallahassee to help the Seminoles (17-14, 9-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) knock off the NC State Wolfpack (22-9, 11-7 ACC), 71-67.

"It's definitely special, just from all the battles I've had on that court until now," said Snaer after the game. "It's definitely special just being the last one and going out with a win and just seeing these guys coming together to fight the way we should have been fighting all year."

The first half was a tightly contested affair. Both teams traded baskets and fouls in what became an exceedingly chippy opening 20 minutes.

Things started to get testy early on in the half when Michael Snaer attempted to drive to the hoop and got tangled up with a Wolfpack defender. After some heated words were exchanged both benches cleared and the referees had to quickly work to maintain control.

Things stayed tense throughout the rest of the game as both teams attempted to gain the upper-hand.

Florida State was able to pull ahead by eight at around the five minute point when the Wolfpack ran into foul trouble. Forwards CJ Leslie and Richard Howell both picked up their third foul early on and were relegated to the bench for much of the first half.

The Seminoles in turn were able to gain the advantage under the basket, outrebounding NC State 16-9 and slowly pulling out to a small lead. But as quickly as they had gained the momentum, cold shooting by the Florida State offense let the Wolfpack retake the lead before the half.

After pulling ahead 32-24 the Seminoles went nearly five full minutes before Michael Snaer hit lay-up with just over 40 seconds remaining in the half. By then NC State was back in command and as the buzzer sounded at the end of the first half the Seminoles headed into the tunnel down 35-34. 

The offensive cold-streak continued into the start of the second half for FSU too. After getting out-shot 55-42% in the first half, Florida State scored just four points over the opening five minutes of the second half while the Wolfpack had little trouble turning Seminole turnovers into points on the other end. At the first media timeout it was 47-39 with the Seminoles looking for any semblance of offense they could muster.

Ian Miller came to Florida State's rescue though, contributing seven crucial points to help Florida State pull themselves back into the game and tie things at the four minute mark after Leslie and Brown both picked up their fourth fouls and headed back to the bench.

But what Ian Miller giveth, he also taketh away. The junior guard rattled off five fouls over the course of about ten minutes, culminating with him fouling out and picking up a back-breaking technical as the game headed into the final official timeout with just 3:57 remaining.

NC State connected on three of its four free throw attempts to go up 60-57, but Devon Bookert was there to step up when the Seminoles needed it most and kept Florida State in the game. Bookert hit a three to tie the game at 62 near the two and a half minute mark, then on the Seminoles' next possession he connected on a contested runner to give FSU a narrow two point advantage.

After trading free throws, CJ Leslie traveled underneath the NC State basket with just under a minute remaining and Florida State called a timeout with the ball and a two point, 65-63 lead with just 49.5 seconds to play. 

Bookert turned the ball over coming out of the timeout when he tried to throw a pass backwards that ended up squarely in the hands of Lorenzo Brown. But NC State turned the ball back over in transition when Leslie lost the handle under the hoop and sent the ball careening out of bounds.

With 34.6 left and the shot clock turned off the Seminoles in-bounded the ball to Michael Snaer who got behind the defense like a receiver on a blown coverage and easily converted a lay-in to put FSU up 4.

On their next trip down the court the Wolfpack struggled to convert on anything, letting precious seconds leak from the clock until Howell could finally put one back and pick up a foul.

He had no trouble knocking down the plus-one to make it a one-point game with just 21.4 seconds to play. After forcing Florida State to burn a timeout on the in-bounds, Brown fouled out sending Aaron Thomas to the charity stripe. Thomas hit the first and missed the second, but Okaro White tipped the ball back out and Devon Bookert quickly found himself on the free throw line with a chance to put it away.

He connected on both free throws and senior walk-ons Rafael Portuondo and Joey Moreau were able to check in to the game for one final Seminole farewell.

Meanwhile Snaer left the court to a standing ovation for the final time in Tallahassee.

"It's just a great feeling, a feeling I've never felt before just knowing that people appreciate what you've been trying to do in this basketball program for the last four years," said Snaer. "It really means a lot to me to have your efforts appreciated, have them recognized. It really means a lot to know that people care about you and a lot of people showed up today just to support us. It feels good."

On the day the 6-5 senior guard finished with 17 points on 7-13 shooting. Bookert had 18 points and three assists while White contributed 8 points and nine rebounds.

Florida State travels to Greensboro next for the ACC Tournament.

Notebook: FSU won the rebounding battle 32-27, though much of that can be attributed to the foul trouble NC State ran into... Hamilton praised his team's focus and effort since the Virginia Tech game... Montay Brandon's defense continues to improve and draw praise from the FSU coaches... FSU turned the ball over 13 times against NC State... FSU held NC State to just 10 of 25 shooting in the second half, including 0-5 from deep... Coach Ham said Ian Miller had a different swagger to him today, he looked like his old self, Miller finished with nine points and two assists... Miller's nagging injuries will take time over the off-season to fully heal... Hamilton said Ian Miller apologized for his technical after the game, chalked it up to the frustration of not being able to practice and wanting to stay in the game... Hamilton also said he would have been surprised if his team initiated the chippiness that occurred early in the game... Hamilton also gave perspective by reminsicing about a time when .500 in the ACC would have been an improvement at FSU, "now for us it's a down year."

 

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

March 08, 2013

Florida State One-Hits Boston College, Opens ACC Play with 4-0 Win

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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.

 

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

March 07, 2013

Snaer Sinks Late Shot to Beat Virginia 53-51

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It may not be the sort of senior season Florida State senior Michael Snaer was hoping for, but that mattered little on Thursday night as the Seminoles (16-14, 8-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat the Virginia Cavalier (20-10, 10-7 ACC) 53-51.

"Michael's paid his dues and this year has been an exceptional year for him from that standpoint," said FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton about Snaer's senior season. "We've always tried to keep experienced players and juniors and seniors that could give our underclassmen the opportunity to grow and develop and reach their potential. And it's been working pretty good for about seven years.

"When Michael came in as a freshman he had some older more mature guys around him that kind of took the pressure off of him, and so for three years he's been a guy who's been an attack guy, he's been a guy who could finish. He didn't have to worry about moving guys around and making decisions on the court. So now he's in his senior year with an extremely inexperienced team and his role has changed tremendously where he's kind of been a little bit out of his comfort zone because for three years he's been the deliverer, the finisher.

"Now he's the guy orchestrating, constructing, communicating, leading for guys who are still trying to figure out how to follow. So it's been a real challenge for him, mentally, emotionally as well as physically. Tonight I thought was one of his better games locking in, understanding that he has to lead this team not only physically, emotionally, spiritually as well as verbally. And he did a great job of that tonight."

Snaer's legacy at Florida State will undoubtedly be linked to late game magic. So much so that as time wound down in Thursday night's game and it became obvious that tonight's ACC matchup would come down to both teams' last possession, there wasn't a doubt in the entire Tucker Center as to where the ball would wind up on the final Seminole offensive play of the game.

And yet there he was, with 12 seconds remaining and the game hanging in the balance, there was number 21 streaking under the hoop, taking the ball on the perimeter and finding enough space inside to heave up a contested shot that would prove fatal to the Cavaliers.

Once again in the Florida State media room after the game, there was another opposing head coach explaing how Snaer sank his team in the final seconds.

"I think he hit a tough shot, I don't know if he hit it with his left hand or not," said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett. "But he made a floater going to his left and it comes down to those situations either offensive or defensively [where you have to make a play]. I thought we put ourselves in that spot but we couldn't come away with it."

Neither team could find much offense after the game first tipped off, with the two teams combining for just 21 points in the first ten minutes. For Florida State poor shooting combined with trouble at the boards let Virginia squeak out an early lead, but by the 7:15 mark Florida State had started to take control of the ballgame on an Okaro White dunk and free throw, making it 14-12.

White came alive over the next several minutes, connecting on a three pointer on the Seminoles' next trip down the floor and continuing to add offense through the final few minutes of first half to the lead Florida State with 13 points and five rebounds early on. 

FSU headed into the lockerroom up 26-23 behind White's early performance and some improved shooting over the final ten minutes of the first half. 

In the second half it was Snaer that got the hot hand, scoring seven in the first three minutes to help the Seminoles put some distance between themselves and the Cavaliers. With Snaer, White and freshmen Kiel Turpin and Devon Bookert all providing offense, the Seminoles were able to jump out to a 45-36 lead at the ten minute point in the game.

Those four players were the only ones providing offense for the Seminoles though, through the first 33 and a half minutes, the group combined for 45 points while their teammates were scoreless. It wasn't until freshman center Boris Bojanovsky dunked one home with 6:30 remaining that anyone else even got on the board. And even with that, not a single other Seminole scored.

White went on to finish with a game-best 17 points, he also had six rebounds. Tuprin added 11, Booker had nine and Snaer finished with fourteen points including the game winner.

It was a late-game Cavalier run that set that up.

Virginia pulled close at final media timeout behind a three-pointer by sophomore guard Paul Jesperson that made it a four point game, 47-43. 

After a jumper by Virginia's Joe Harris and four quick points from Akil Mitchell, the Cavaliers managed to make it a one-point game with two minutes to go. After forcing the Seminoles into a shot clock violation, Harris made two free throws to give UVA their first lead since the first half to make it 51-50 with just over a minute to play.

Snaer took the ball for Florida State as the shot clock wound down and drove to the basket, but the ball rimmed out and Virginia grabbed the rebound. Down at the other end the Seminoles opted not to foul, letting the Cavaliers shrink the shot clock and the game clock as far as they could until missing a basket under the hoop. Florida State quickly pulled down the rebound and called a timeout with 12.8 seconds left, still trailing by just a point.

There was no doubt where the ball was going, the in-bound went to Bookert who quickly found Snaer on the perimeter. And as he had done all season the Seminoles' clutch senior guard crossed up, dribbled toward the basket and connected on a contested shot with 4.4 seconds left to give Florida State the lead and a chance to go up by two on the plus-one- which he hit with ease.

"I knew I was getting the ball at the end of the game," said Snaer. "And I knew I was going to make a play, someway, somehow I'm going to make a play. I'm going to shoot it or one of my teammates will get an open look."

The latter half may have been lip-service, Snaer rarely dishes in the final seconds. Like most nights, Snaer took the shot again on Thursday.

"In my mind I'm thinking 'I know I can get by the first guy, I've been doing it all night,'" said Snaer. "But I've got to make sure that whenever somebody comes over to help I've got to just find my teammates, that's what I did but nobody ever really came over to stop me so I just put it up."

He hit the shot and drew the foul.

After Snaer connected on the and-one to make it a two-point Seminole advantage the Cavaliers quickly had to in-bound, and rather than call a timeout, they went straight for the tie.

But the Florida State defense held, never allowing Harris or Virginia to get a shot up before the final buzzer sounded. Florida State held on to win 53-51.

The Seminoles will close out their season at home against NC State on Saturday at 2 PM.

Notebook: Virginia shot just 2-for-14 from deep... FSU won the shooting battle 47.7%-38.6%... As has been an issue all season, the Seminoles struggled at the boards, losing the rebounding battle to the Cavs 33-25... UVA coach Tony Bennett said the team moved Joe Harris on to Snaer in the second half to try and shut him down but that Harris got lost a couple times... Akil Mitchell finished with a double-double for Virginia, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds... Michael Snaer played 39 of 40 possible minutes for the Seminoles on Thursday night... Montay Brandon's minutes have increased as his defense improves, Hamilton praised his play after the game... Hamilton joked holding Harris to 5-of-15 shooting was big for them given the success Harris has had against FSU in the past... Snaer did put the final shot up left-handed... Snaer also mentioned he likes when players defend him to the right because he can usually fake them with a quick jab and find some separation. 

 

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

March 06, 2013

Seminoles Improve to 12-0 With 10-4 Win Over Presbyterian

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FSU Beat Writer Patrik Nohe is off for the weekend. The following is a press release from Florida State University:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 5 Florida State (12-0) registered its 12th straight win to open the 2013 campaign defeating Presbyterian (8-6) 10-4 Wednesday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.

“When you look at the game today, the fact that we won was certainly important,” said head coach Mike Martin. “We are very proud of the way our young men played.  More importantly we were able to get our guys some work.  It was good that we feel like our pitchers are now set and ready to go this weekend as we open conference play against a very good Boston College team.”

Josh Delph led the way for the Seminoles posting career-highs for hits (4) and runs scored (3), while tying a career-high with three RBI.  A night after Stephen McGee registered his first career home run, Delph did the same on Wednesday in the bottom of the third lifting a 1-0 pitch from PC reliever Michael Ricchi over the fence in right for his first round tripper as a Seminole.

“I didn’t think it was gone,” said Delph after hitting his first career home run. “I’ve hit the top of the screen so many times I thought it was going to happen again. When I got it in the air and I heard everyone in the dugout going crazy, I thought there was a chance and then the wind got it so that definitely helped.”

Brett Knief, who started in left field in game two against the Blue Hose, went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.  It marked his first career multi-hit game in a Seminole uniform.

“Josh has not struggled against lefties,” said Martin. “He’s always been one that stays in there very well.  I learned that last year, so that’s a good sign.  I thought Knief also had some good swings today.”

Jose Brizuela and DJ Stewart both finished the game 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. 

Six Seminole pitchers saw action on the mound Wednesday afternoon against Presbyterian with left hander Billy Strode making his first career start.  The Parkland, Fla., native went 1.2 innings allowing a run on two hits as he did not factor into the decision.

“He showed a lot of poise,” said Martin on Strode making his first start. “He got out there and was not intimidated.  He was around the plate and hit his spots. I was very proud of him.”

Gage Smith (2-0) picked up the win as he entered the ball game with two on and two outs in the top of the second to get Derek Long to groundout to Giovanny Alfonzo at short. Smith finished the outing allowing a run on two hits as he struck out one in 1.1 innings.

Brandon Johnson and Bryant Holtmann each worked 2.0 innings in relief on Wednesday. Johnson gave up two unearned runs on just one hit, while Holtmann struck out one and allowed just one hit. 

Robby Coles and Jameis Winston pitched a perfect eighth and ninth inning, respectively.  Both Seminole pitchers faced the minimum in their inning of work. 

Together the six Seminole pitchers did not allow a walk for the first time this season. 

After Presbyterian took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on an RBI single by Ryan Hagan, the Seminoles answered in the bottom of the inning with seven runs all on two outs. 

Brizuela and Knief opened the inning with back-to-back singles and advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by Alfonzo.  After PC starter Chad Sanders (0-1) got John Sansone to groundout to third, a wild pitch brought home Brizuela to tie the game at 1-1. Delph then began the scoring spree with a run scoring infield single to short. Stewart followed with a bunt single out in front of the pitcher’s mound and Marcus Davis drew a walk to load the bases.  McGee also drew a walk to bring home Knief, while John Nogowski hammered a two-run single off the fence in right field.  Brizuela and Knief capped off the scoring in the second with consecutive RBI singles to right center. 

Presbyterian would not go away quietly plating a run off Smith in the third following a bunt single to third by Billy Motroni. He would score all the way from first one batter later on an RBI double down the line in left off the bat of Brad Zebedis.

The Seminoles would answer the call in the bottom of the third when Delph connected on his first career home run to right.  Sansone scored on the play after opening the inning with a walk.

“It’s exciting to get the first one out of the way,” added Delph. “That one was for my Aunt Nancy.  She told me a long time ago, even before I got to school, that I had to hit one for her while I was here.”

The Blue Hose cut the deficit to 9-4 in the fifth taking advantage of the only Seminole error of the game to plate two runs off Johnson.

FSU pushed its lead back to six at 10-4 with a run in the seventh for the final margin. Once again the Seminoles put together a little two-out magic as Delph recorded his fourth hit of the game with a single to left and scored on Stewart’s RBI double off the fence in right.

Eight of the 10 runs scored by the Seminoles on Wednesday all came on two outs. 

Delph became the third Seminole this year to record four hits in a game as he joined Davis and Seth Miller. 

Florida State will wrap-up its 15-game home stand this weekend as the Seminoles open ACC play against Boston College on Mike Martin Field insider Dick Howser Stadium beginning Friday, March 8 at 6:00 p.m. Games one and two of the series are set for 6:00 p.m., while Sunday’s series finale will start at 1:00 p.m.  Friday and Sunday’s games will air live on ESPN3.

March 05, 2013

Seminoles Win Opener With Presbyterian 9-2

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FSU Beat Writer Patrik Nohe is off for the weekend. The following is a press release from Florida State University:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 5 Florida State (11-0) kept its undefeated record in check Tuesday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium as the Seminoles defeated Presbyterian College (8-5) 9-2. 

Stephen McGee paced the Florida State offense with a career-high four RBI as the Port St. Lucie, Fla., native finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and his first career home run. McGee unloaded on a 2-2 offering from PC starter Brian Byrum (1-2) in the bottom of the fifth hitting the ball off the scoreboard in left for his first round tripper as a Seminole.

“It’s been so long, I don’t even know what it really felt like,” said McGee on hitting the home run. “When I hit it, of course I thought (it was gone) but I was too precautious so I just took off just in case.  But when it came off the bat, it felt great.”

“It was just something that I didn’t even know,” said head coach Mike Martin on finding out that McGee hit his first career home run. “I just know that Stephen McGee has been invaluable to our baseball team both as a leader and as a guy that plays the game the right way day in and day out.

“It was just a big lift for us to get it done against a very good PC team.”

Marcus Davis and Giovanny Alfonzo both drove in a pair of runs, while Davis and Seth Miller each scored two runs in the win. 

Luke Weaver turned in another brilliant performance on the mound to run his record to 2-0 on the young season.  The sophomore right hander blanked the Blue Hose for 6.0 innings allowing just three hits and no walks as he struck out eight. In his last three appearances, Weaver has given up just four hits and no walks while striking out 19 in 13.0 scoreless innings of work.

“Luke pitched extremely well,” added Martin. “I was very, very pleased with what I saw.  You saw a guy that was poised; you saw a guy that was getting it done.”

“It was a good comparison to my last start,” said Weaver. “I felt this start was just as good as my last.  I came out a little too amped up, but I felt good. I just hope to keep it rolling.”

The Seminoles would jump on the board in the second inning when Miller was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to third on a single up the middle by Jameis Winston.  One batter later, Miller scored on a sac-fly to left off the bat of Alfonzo to give FSU the early 1-0 lead.

FSU added to its lead in the fourth scoring twice off Byrum to push its lead to 3-0.  John Nogowski was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to third on a double to right by Miller.  After Winston drew a walk to load the bases, Alfonzo would drive in his second run of the afternoon when Byrum plunked him on a 0-1 offering to bring home Nogowski.  With the bases still loaded, Byrum attempted to pick off Winston at second but threw errantly into centerfield allowing Miller to score from third. 

Byrum’s day would come to a close after 5.0 innings as he allowed five runs on three hits as he walked three, struck out three and hit five batters. 

After McGee’s two-run home run in the fifth, the Seminoles widened their lead in the sixth scoring four more runs to take a commanding 9-0 lead.  The first three batters to the plate reached as Alfonzo led off with a single to left and John Sansone and Josh Delph drew back-to-back walks. Following a Blue Hose pitching change, Davis drove in both Alfonzo and Sansone with a shoe string base hit to right, while McGee brought home two on a double down the line in left.

The Seminoles got two solid innings from Kyle Bird, who pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings.  The sophomore left hander allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one in his fourth appearance of the season.

Presbyterian finally cracked the scoreboard in the ninth scoring two runs off Kenny Burkhead. With runners at second and third following a one-out double to right by Aaron Preston, Trey Hayes hit a single back up the middle to plate PC’s only two runs of the game.  Burkhead bounced back to get Cam McRae to ground into a game ending double play. 

Florida State and Presbyterian will return to the diamond for game two of the mid-week series on Wednesday, March 6 at 4:00 p.m. The Seminoles will send left handed pitcher Billy Strode (0-0) to the mound for his first career start.  The Blue Hose are scheduled to start lefty Chad Sanders (0-0).

March 03, 2013

Seminoles Improve to 10-0, Complete Sweep of Villanova

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FSU Beat Writer Patrik Nohe is off for the weekend. The following is a press release from Florida State University:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 6 Florida State (10-0) held off a ninth inning rally by Villanova (1-6) to hang on to a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon to complete the series sweep on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.

“This was a challenge in more ways than one,” said head coach Mike Martin. “It was a little bit chilly out there today, but I was just very pleased with the way our guys kept their composure, kept battling; it’s the greatest game in the world.  After the Friday night game, you are just looking out there wondering what in the world is going on as you score 23 runs.  Then you come out today and they are pitching a very good looking left hander that basically kept us in check. We had to earn everything that we got.”

The Seminoles came within two outs of posting back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 2007 but Villanova’s John Cialone spoiled those plans with a sac-fly RBI in the top of the ninth to bring home their first run since plating a run in the top of the fifth in game one.

The Wildcats made things interesting in the ninth off Jameis Winston drawing a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch all with one out to load the bases.  After a meeting on the mound from Martin, Winston got Cialone to sky a fly ball to center to score Connor Jones and cut the Florida State lead to 2-1.  But the freshman right hander would not let the run faze him as he got Matt Beermann swinging on strikes for the final out of the game to earn his second save of the season.

“If we are going to use him as our closer, he needs to get that feeling and he needs to know what it takes to close it up,” said Martin on his decision to leave Winston in the ball game.  “I think that it was a good learning experience for him. Sometimes I must admit I am very reluctant to do that as we had a very experienced Gage Smith and Brandon Johnson ready in the bullpen, but I wanted to see how he would do and fortunately he got the job done for us.

“He seemed to be in control of himself.  He didn’t give me that ‘deer in head lights look’ (when I went to the mound), he seemed to understand where he was in the line-up and what he had to do to be successful.”

“I liked the fact that we had a game like this today,” said Stephen McGee. “It tested the club. We needed something like this to push us and to see how everybody would react under that kind of pressure especially for Jameis in the ninth. It was good to see him feel that pressure and really see him calm down, relax and go right back to pitching and be right on.”

Florida State got another stellar outing from starter Peter Miller (2-0) as the junior right hander worked 5.1 scoreless innings allowing three hits and four walks while striking out a career-high eight batters. 

“Peter is slowly but surely maturing as a pitcher,” said Martin. “He is one of the few guys in college baseball that has four good pitches. Pete Miller is a talented young man. For him to go out and experience some toughness both mentally and physically and have success is very encouraging.”

Miller worked out of some early trouble in the first inning as Villanova loaded the bases with two outs on a pair of walks and a fielding error.  Miller responded by getting Beermann looking at a called third strike to retire the side. 

The Lutz, Fla., native struck out two batters in each of his first three innings of work.  He picked up his eighth strikeout to open the top of the sixth but after issuing a walk to Brandon Carr, Martin went to the bullpen and called on Robby Coles.

Coles came out throwing hard striking out the first three batters that he faced.  He finished the afternoon holding the Wildcats scoreless for 2.2 innings allowing just one hit and one walk while tying a season-high with five strikeouts. 

“He throws a heavy baseball,” said Martin on Coles. “He is a guy that enjoys going out there and competing.  He is not one to shy away from any situation.  He will be counted on to help us in roles that we are not really sure of right now except that he will get the ball when he is ready.”

Between the three pitchers, Florida State recorded 14 strikeouts, the third straight game in which the Seminole pitching staff hit that mark this weekend.

“We got a good performance out of Peter Miller and Robby Coles,” added Martin. “Jameis came in and closed it up.  It got interesting I must say in the ninth but that was good for all of us to be involved in a game like that, it showed a lot of composure on our part.  I was just very pleased that we were able to accomplish what we did.”

The Seminole bats were held in check on Sunday by Villanova starter Josh Harris (1-1) who suffered the loss despite allowing just two runs, one earned, on six hits.  Harris and Chris Haggerty did not issue a walk nor did they hit a batter marking the first time this year that Florida State came away empty handed in both categories.

Florida State took advantage of the Wildcats only error of the game in the third to break-up a scoreless ballgame.  Winston led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Giovanny Alfonzo.  Alfonzo reached on the play as Harris made a wild throw over to first pulling his teammate off the bag at first.  After a wild pitch with one out advanced both runners 90 feet, Villanova got a big out at the plate when Josh Delph sent a groundball to first.  Carr threw home to get Winston to keep the game scoreless.  With Jose Brizuela at the plate and runners at the corners with two outs, Harris was charged with a balk bringing home Alfonzo to give FSU a 1-0 lead. 

The Seminoles added to their two-out magic in the fifth when John Sansone laced an RBI double to the gap in right center to score Seth Miller for what would be the eventual game-winning run. 

“It was big for us,” said Sansone on coming through with the RBI double. “I’ve been working with Meat (Mike Martin, Jr.) in the cages a lot and it was good to show it on the field today.”

Miller led off the inning with a single to center, stole second and moved to third on a groundout to short by Winston.  After Alfonzo popped up a bunt attempt to first, Sansone came through with his third double of the season taking a 3-1 pitch from Harris to the gap in right center plating Miller for a 2-0 FSU advantage. 

Winston led all hitters on Sunday with two hits on a single and a double for his first multi-hit game of the season.  Stephen McGee, John Nogowski, Seth Miller and Sansone all finished with a hit apiece. 

Villanova had its chances to score runs on Sunday as the Wildcats left 14 runners on base compared to just three by the Seminoles.   

With the win on Sunday, FSU has now won 16 straight games when donning the gold uniforms.

 

March 02, 2013

Sitz Superb as Seminoles Beat Villanova Again

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FSU Beat Writer Patrik Nohe is off for the weekend. The following is a press release from Florida State University:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 6 Florida State (9-0) got 6.0 shutout innings from Scott Sitz en route to a 7-0 victory over Villanova (1-5) on a cool, crisp Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of 4,790 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.

Sitz (2-0), along with Bryant Holtmann and Gage Smith, combined for the four-hit shutout, FSU’s second of the season, as the Seminoles remained undefeated on the year.  The trio combined to strikeout 14 Wildcat hitters while walking two. 

“First off, I was just very pleased with Scotty,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I thought he had another exceptional outing. Villanova was obviously a totally different looking club today. They made a couple of mistakes which cost them a couple of early runs which gave us a little momentum. Scotty took control of the game and kept everything right there.” 

Making his third start of the season, Sitz was once again dominant on the hill as the senior right hander scattered just three hits and a walk over 6.0 innings.  Of the four base runners he allowed, just two reached second base.  Sitz finished with nine strikeouts to tie a career-high as he posted two strikeouts in each of the first four innings on Saturday. 

“The biggest thing for me today was the command of my fastball,” said Sitz. “Working both sides of the plate; my change-up and slider were ok today, but the big thing was the command of my fastball, that’s what got me out of jams when I needed to.”

Dating back to last year’s game against UCLA in the College World Series, the Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native has put together a consecutive shutout streak spanning 19.2 innings. In his last five starts, Sitz has allowed just two runs in 29.0 innings.

“Yeah, it was in the World Series,” added Sitz on if he remembers the last run he gave up. “I am hoping to keep that streak going for as long as I possibly can; I am happy with it.”

“As much as anything, it’s Mike Bell doing a great job of getting him in the position to be successful,” added Martin on the recent success of Sitz. “I think that Scotty’s change-up has helped him drastically.  He is going to the breaking ball more than he has in the past.  I am just very pleased that he is showing us that he can pitch to both sides of the plate and throw the change-up and curveball for strikes.”

Holtmann was just as impressive working 2.0 scoreless innings as he allowed one hit and struck out two. Smith put the finishing touches on the shutout in the ninth striking out three of the four batters that he faced. 

Offensively, Marcus Davis and John Nogowski registered five of FSU’s nine hits on the afternoon.  For the second straight game, Davis posted multiple hits, runs and RBI.  The Cincinnati, Ohio, native finished the game 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a single, two RBI and three runs scored.  Nogowski went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI.

“It was a good win for us,” added Martin. “I was very pleased that a guy like Marcus Davis came out and played a big part in this win for us.  John had another exceptional day.  He has been playing well for us.  He needs to continue to battle and help us in that five spot.”

Josh Delph, Jose Brizuela, Casey Smit and John Sansone all picked up a hit in the win.

Florida State broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third when Davis blasted an RBI double off the screen in right.  Delph, who reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on a groundout, scored on the two-out double by Davis.  The Seminole left fielder would score a batter later on a fielding error at third by Villanova to give FSU a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, Davis once again came through with another clutch two-out hit ripping an RBI double to the gap in right center.  Sansone, who walked to lead off the inning, scored all the way from first on the play.  After a hit-by-pitch and walk to Stephen McGee and Nogowski, respectively, the Wildcats went to bullpen and called on Matt Longfield to replace starter Stephen Ostapeck. Seth Miller would draw a bases loaded walk to plate Davis and increase FSU’s lead to 4-0. 

Villanova’s Ostapeck (0-1) allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits in 4.2 innings as he walked three and struck out one in his first start of the season. 

The Seminoles would add to their lead in the seventh scoring three times to make the score 7-0.  Davis led off the inning with an infield single and scored on Nogowski RBI double to right center. McGee drew a walk and scored on a pinch hit by Smit.  Giovanny Alfonzo brought home Nogowski for the third run of the inning on a fielder’s choice groundball back to the pitcher’s mound. 

In all four of FSU’s seven runs on Saturday came on two outs. 

 

March 01, 2013

Seminoles Pound Villanova 23-5

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FSU Beat Writer Patrik Nohe is off for the weekend. The following is a press release from Florida State University:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 6 Florida State (8-0) remained undefeated on the year pounding Villanova (1-4) 23-5 in game one of a three-game series on Friday in front of 4,280 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.

Florida State weathered the cold conditions on Friday finishing with 22 hits, the most since clubbing 38 against Ohio State in the Tallahassee Regional finals on May 31, 2009. It also marked the most runs scored in a game since plating 23 in a win over Texas A&M in the 2011 Tallahassee Super Regional.

“Everything went our way tonight, but tomorrow is a totally different day, a totally different scenario; that’s what makes this game so great,” said head coach Mike Martin. “We just happened to get a lot of breaks tonight and took advantage of them. But this club has a good grasp of the game.  They know that nothing is predictable in this game except the unpredictable.”

Seven Seminoles recorded multiple hits in the win led by senior Seth Miller who tied a career-high with four hits. Miller reached base in his final six plate appearances collecting three singles, a double and one walk while reaching on a fielding error.  The Southport, Fla., native finished with three RBI and two runs scored.

“Our approach is going to stay the same regardless of the score of the game,” said Miller. “We ended up coming up big scoring 23 runs today, but that isn’t going to change our mindset. You have to be ready everyday whether the score is close or if you are up big.”

Jose Brizuela, John Nogowski and Giovanny Alfonzo each registered three hits as Brizuela and Nogowski both tied a career-high, while Alfonzo set a new mark. Brizuela reached base on six of his seven plate appearances collecting three singles and three walks to go along with three runs scored and two RBI.

Nogowski entered in the fourth inning and picked up hits in his first three at-bats with a two-run double, a two-run single and another single in the seventh.  The Tallahassee, Fla., native finished with a career-high four RBI.  Alfonzo had three singles and scored three times.

Marcus Davis, Stephen McGee and John Sansone all finished with two hits apiece. Davis drove in a season-high three runs on two hits, while McGee strung together two RBI singles, walked once and was hit by a pitch. Sansone reached base in his first six plate appearances drawing three walks, a hit-by-pitch, a double and a single.  The New Castle, Pa., native scored four runs and posted two RBI. 

Brett Knief finished the evening with a season-high three RBI in the win.

“Everybody came up big tonight,” said Miller. “We are a versatile club; everybody can do a lot of things.”

Florida State scored a run in seven of the eight innings in which they had an at-bat, while 14 of the 23 runs came on two outs. 

Brandon Leibrandt (3-0) received plenty of run support to garner his third win in as many starts to open the 2013 campaign.  The sophomore southpaw finished the afternoon allowing five runs, two earned, on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work.  He walked one and struck out a season-high eight batters. 

Leibrandt took a 2-0 lead into the third inning when an error by the Seminole pitch would lead to a two-out, three-run home run by Villanova shortstop Tyler Sciacca to give the Wildcats a 3-2 advantage.

The lead would be short lived as the Seminoles answered with seven runs in the bottom of the inning to grab the lead for good. 

Robby Coles was impressive in his 1.2 innings of work as the junior college transfer struck out all five batters that he faced. 

Billy Strode and Luke Weaver worked the eighth and ninth innings, respectively to close out the game.  Both pitchers faced the minimum, while Weaver registered a pair of strikeouts.

“I was pleased with our pitchers,” added Martin. “I thought they did a good job of keeping their poise.  Leibrandt did not have a great outing, but we know that he will continue to improve as we move throughout the season.  Billy Strode pitched well.  Robby was very impressive and of course we wanted Luke to get an inning before he throws on Tuesday.”

With Friday night’s win, Florida State improved to 183-46 all-time when facing an opponent for the first time.  


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