Florida State couldn't get the timely hit in their series opening loss at Virginia Tech on Friday night. Brandon Leibrandt took his second straight loss as the Seminoles out-hit the Hokies 11-6 but still fell at English Field 3-2.
“It was a tough loss, but tomorrow is another story” said head coach Mike Martin. “We just didn’t seem to get the key hits when we needed them tonight.”
Virginia Tech's Brad Markey was unspectacular, but effective, going a complete game, giving up 11 hits and two runs while striking out four.
“You have to credit Markey, he did a very good job of getting the curveball over in crucial situations and we didn’t do much with him when it was time to do something,” said Martin. “But give them the credit, they deserved to win and got it done.”
Virginia Tech struck first in the bottom of third after Leibrandt walked two hitters and allowed a single to drive in the first run of the game. Leibrandt walked five in four innings on Friday, taking the loss after giving up five hits and three earned runs.
“I thought Leibrandt pitched pretty well,” said Martin. “He didn’t dominate but he didn’t give up an awful lot of hits. The walks bothered me though and that’s not going to work.”
Control has now been a problem for Leibrandt his past few outings. In his loss against Georgia Tech last Friday Leibrandt didn't walk anybody, but gave up six hits and four earned runs in his 1.1 innings of work. Leibrandt does currently lead the team with 15 walks on the season though, and has not looked sharp in past few starts.
If he continues to struggle, Scott Sitz and Luke Weaver have both been worthy of the Friday night starter spot in the Seminole rotation.
Leibrandt wasn't alone in his struggles on Friday night though, despite collecting 11 hits, the Seminoles stranded five runners and failed to come up with the big inning they needed to dispatch Virginia Tech.
In the top of the 6th DJ Stewart hit a two-run homer, but beyond that the Seminoles failed to plate any other runs and took their third loss of the season to a ball club that, at least on paper, probably had no business beating their ace.
But baseball is a game played on a diamond, not paper, and on Friday night the Hokies bested the Seminoles.
Giovanny Alfonzo continued to hit well for FSU though, going 3-3 on the evening. Billy Strode and Gage Smith were also on point for the Seminoles, combining for just one hit over the four innings of relief they worked after Leibrandt was knocked out in the fifth.
Florida State has two more chances to redeem themselves and take the series this tomorrow when they play a double-header in order to avoid inclement weather due in the Blacksburg area Sunday afternoon.
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