Coming off a three-game sweep of Duke over the weekend and heading into a three game set against top 5 Virginia this upcoming weekend, it would have been easy for no. 6 Florida State (31-6, 13-5 ACC) to overlook South Alabama (27-11).
But with an RPI of 16 and a scrappy lineup filled with tough outs, the Jaguars were not a team to be taken lightly.
"I really don't think that Florida State baseball can use that- ever- as an excuse because everytime we play a game, if we're playing each other, they're going to be scrapping to win," said FSU head coach Mike Martin. "This one was one of those that I was very proud of the way we approached it."
Florida State was able to find just enough offense to go along with a stellar outing from starter Peter Miller and beat South Alabama 2-0 on Tuesday night at Dick Howser Stadium in a very quick game that lasted exactly two hours.
"That was one of the quickest games on record," joked Martin. "Two hours on the button, we could have put 1:59 to make it look better."
When a reporter joked that the game would have been even faster if South Alabama's final hitters hadn't fouled so many balls off in the ninth inning, Martin just flashed his trademark grin and chuckled.
"Ain't that the truth? That's just the type of club they are. They'll battle you and battle you, it was a good win and I told the guys that."
Peter Miller (4-1) was excellent for the Seminoles on Tuesday night, pitching 6.2 innings while holding the Jaguars scoreless. The South Alabama hitters could not solve the junior RHP as he scattered a couple of hits and a walk across his start while striking out four.
"I've had some rough outings the past few weeks," said Miller after the game. "But the ball kind of bounced my way this time. I still feel like I had good stuff just like all the other outings but it went my way this time, that's just baseball."
"If he's had a better outing I don't know who it was against," added Martin. "Great outing, great outing for him."
Opposite Miller, South Alabama starter Payton Gardner (0-1) was also superb in keeping the Seminole bats in check. He gave up just five hits and two runs over six innings while striking out seven.
"We were dominated by that guy," said Martin. "He struck out seven but I think we'll all agree it felt like 14."
The Seminoles broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth when they were able to parlay three singles into the only two runs of the ballgame.
1B John Nogowski started things off with a one-out single and advanced to second after Nick Zaharion fumbled with it in left. 2B John Sansone went the opposite way and dropped a ball in front of the right fielder to score Nogowski in the very next at-bat. After Sansone stole second, SS Giovanny Alfonzo singled to put men on the corners for Seth Miller who brought Sansone in on a fielder's choice.
That would be all the offense the Seminoles needed. Miller handed the ball to the bullpen with two down in the 7th and Billy Strode came on to get the final Jaguar out of the inning. He returned to retire two more in the 8th before Gage Smith came in and required just two pitches to record the third out.
In the 9th Florida State turned it over to Robby Coles who closed out the game for his 8th save of the year.
FSU heads on the road next for three games with Virginia over the weekend.
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(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)