The Florida State Seminoles (28-6, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) hosted the Duke Blue Devils (21-15, 8-8 ACC) for the first of three games on Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium.
They were not gracious hosts.
Behind a dominant performance by starter Luke Weaver and a couple of four-run innings the Seminoles smashed Duke 16-2 in the series opener.
"Well that was just one of those that you look at the ballgame and you know that Luke Weaver is the story," said FSU head coach Mike Martin. "But we had some very very good at-bats, we scored a lot of runs obviously. It's a credit to our guys and the at-bats that they had. I'm just very proud of them."
Weaver was impressive in his second outing since taking over the Seminoles' Friday night spot in the rotation. The 6-2 170-pound righty picked up his 4th win of the season with seven strong innings and six strikeouts while giving up six hits and an earned run.
The sophomore kept Duke's batters off balance all day, hitting his spots and using his full compliment of pitches. His lone mistake came on a 2-2 pitch to Duke 1B Chris Marconcini which got hit out of the park. Other than that Weavers was lights out.
"We were liteally going to use him more because he was less than 100," said Martin about the decision to pull Weaver after seven. "But then the [bottom of the] seventh inning got a little long and so we just decided to get him out of there then."
Behind Weaver the Seminoles battered Duke's pitching, plating 16 runs. 2B John Sansone lead the way, going 3-4 with 4 RBI's, RF Josh Delph was also 3-4 with a pair of RBI's. 3B Jose Brizuela and LF Marcus Davis each had three hits a piece too before leaving the game early to enjoy the final innings from the bench.
Florida State drew first blood when Davis singled to drive in Knief in the bottom of the first. With Jameis DH Winston up at the plate next, Davis attempted to swipe second and was gunned out but the throw let CF DJ Stewart score from third to make it 2-0.
The next inning, in the top of the 2nd, Marconcini hit his 8th homerun of the season, a solo shot to right. It was the first homer that Weaver had surrendered all season and it cut the Seminole lead to 2-1.
But Florida State broke things wide open in the bottom of the 4th.
After Winston started the inning by wearing an inside pitch and taking his base, Brizuela singled and 1B John Nogowski walked to load the bases with one out.
Sansone came up next and singled through the left side of the infield to drive in two and push the Florida State advantage to 4-1. Knief added an RBI on a sacrifice fly and DJ Stewart also singled in a run to help the Seminoles push four across in the inning before the Blue Devils could escape trailing by five runs.
The Seminoles chased Swart and tacked on four more the next inning too. After Brizuela singled to drive in Davis and put men on the corners for Nogowski, a single scored both runners to push the Seminole advantage to eight. Nogowski would later score on a throwing error to push the lead to 10-1.
Swart finished the day after 4.1 innings pitched, gave up 10 hits, nine runs, eight earned while both striking out and walking three.
An inning later in the bottom of the 6th Davis made it 12-1 when he clobbered a ball well over the rightfield wall. It was Davis' 6th homerun of the season and there was never any doubt. Davis has displayed impressive power all season, but of the six he's hit out, none have left the yard as quickly as his homer on Friday night.
"I noticed the pattern of these guys throwing 1-0 fastballs," said Davis. "They were trying to get back into the count with fastballs so I saw one he just put it where I could handle it.
"It feels pretty good [to hit one that hard] because it doesn't happen often. It always feels good to get a hit but when you hit one that hard it just feels special."
The Seminoles kept tacking on more and more runs in the late innings too. Knief and Seth Miller both drove in runs in the bottom of the 7th to make it 14-2. In the bottom of the 8th- the last time the Seminoles would bat- Sansone drove in two more to make it 16-2 and all but empty the stands at Dick Howser Stadium.
Florida State plays a pair with Duke tomorrow. The threat of severe weather on Sunday has forced FSU to push game one up from 6 PM to 4 PM and game two will start 45 minutes after the conlusion of the matinee game.
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