The Seminoles improved to 19-1 in bizarre fashion on Tuesday afternoon. After a flubbed ball in left field let Stetson take a 3-1 lead in the top of the 7th, an error-filled bottom of the 8th let the Seminoles steal a win from the Hatters without plating an earned run.
“As a coach, you have to be very pleased and proud of the way our guys kept fighting,” said FSU manager Mike Martin. “I am proud that we won the ballgame, yes we were fortunate there is no question, but it’s still the bottom line that I am proud of those young men for getting the job done.”
The game began as a pitcher's duel.
Stetson starter Kevin Fagan went 7 strong for the Hatters. His lone issue came in the second when Casey Smit singled in Stephen McGee for what would be the only run surrendered by either team in the first six innings.
Other than that Fagan was excellent on Tuesday, giving up just three hits in his seven innings while striking out six.
His counterpart for Florida State, Luke Weaver, was solid himself, working 6.2 innings while striking out four and giving up just two earned runs. But he ran into trouble in the top of the 7th inning when Stetson LF Robert Bruce singled with one out to start a rally for the Hatters.
After 2B Tyler Bocock doubled to left, freshman DJ Stewart booted the ball, allowing Bruce to score the Hatters' first run of the game.
Weaver struck out the next hitter before Martin opted to go to the bullpen for Kyle Bird to try and exploit a pitching matchup.
“I thought Luke pitched extremely well,” said Martin. “It was one of those that I kind of wish he could have gone longer but he was at 100 pitches and it was time to get him with a lefty coming up.”
Bird gave up a single to Fagan (who hits for himself in Stetson's lineup) that scored Bocock. An error on Jose Brizuela the next batter let another run cross before Bird was able to get out of the inning with the Seminoles now trailing 3-1.
But Florida State continued to battle.
After seven strong innings Fagan started the bottom of the 8th by giving up a single to Giovanny Alfonzo. He was promptly replaced on the hill by LHP Cameron Griffin who received absolutely no help from his defense and took the loss despite not giving up a single earned run.
Griffin faced PH Marcus Davis (a healthy scratch from the day's lineup) and induced a towering fly ball to deep center field.
Which was dropped.
LF Josh Delph loaded the bases with a single the very next hitter, and Jose Brizuela kept them loaded and spun the carousel with another single to bring home Alfonzo and make it 3-2.
Stewart followed by grounding into a double play which scored Davis and left FSU with two down and a man on third base. The Hatters opted to walk C Stephen McGee to put men on the corners and pitch to Seth Miller, who was replaced by John Nogowski for the at-bat. Griffin was able to induce a towering fly ball to right field from Nogowski.
Which was dropped.
Delph scored on the error, giving FSU a 4-3 lead, and McGee advanced to third. A wild pitch would score McGee the next batter before Stetson could escape the four run inning with just three outs to make up a two-run deficit.
It didn't happen.
Jameis Winston was lights out on Tuesday. After a 1-2-3 8th inning, he also worked a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his first win of the season.
“We pretty much made our minds up before the start of the game that we were going to give the ball to Jameis,” said Martin. “Today, he goes out; he doesn’t walk anybody, strikes out one and retires all six that he faced. It was a credit to him, a good performance by Jameis.”
FSU hosts Stetson for one more game tomorrow at 4 PM.
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