College Park, MD - No. 5 Florida State (18-1, 5-1 ACC) ran out to an early lead and then hung on for a 4-3 victory over Maryland (12-7, 2-4 ACC) on an overcast and chilly Sunday afternoon inside Turtle Smith Stadium.
After dropping the series opener to the Terrapins on Friday, the Seminoles responded with back-to-back one-run victories to secure the series win and captured their 22nd consecutive series victory over Maryland as FSU has never lost a series to the Terps since joining the ACC in 1992. Florida State improved to 3-0 in one-run games this year.
“It was really, really huge,” said head coach Mike Martin on the Seminoles responding to take the final two games of the series. “It’s early and we are playing a very good Maryland team. We played two one-run games. Our guys really stayed tough. I was very proud of them this weekend.”
Seth Miller paced the Seminole offense on Sunday with three hits on a triple and a pair of singles as FSU out hit Maryland, 10-9, for the first time in the series. Jose Brizuela and Giovanny Alfonzo both registered two hits and drove in a run in the win.
Florida State grabbed the early lead in the rubber game scoring three runs in the top of the third. Miller opened the inning with a triple down the left field line and scored a batter later on Stewart’s RBI groundout to second. Back-to-back one-out walks to Stephen McGee and Marcus Davis would come back to haunt Maryland starter Jake Stinnett (1-2) as FSU put together consecutive two-out RBI singles by Brizuela and Alfonzo to plate a run. Brizuela tried to score from first on Alfonzo’s hit to left center but the sophomore third baseman was thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning.
Maryland responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to 3-1. Anthony Papio led off the inning with a triple off Seminole starter Peter Miller and scored a batter later on an RBI groundout to short off the bat of Jack Cleary.
FSU pushed its lead back to three with a run in the fourth to take a 4-1 advantage. The Seminoles loaded the bases with one out on a walk to Josh Delph, a single by Miller and a walk to DJ Stewart. McGee brought home Delph as he drew a walk with the bases loaded. The inning would come to an end as Davis grounded into a double play.
The Terrapins cut the deficit to 4-3 scoring twice in the fifth off Miller. Cleary led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to third on Charlie White’s first hit of the series on a double to left. LaMonte Wade drove in Maryland’s second run of the game on a sac-fly to center and Kyle Convissar followed with an RBI single up the middle to score White. A single to left by K.J. Hockaday ended the afternoon for Miller after 4.2 innings.
Bryant Holtmann came on and got Kevin Martir to fly out to Delph in right to retire the side.
Miller did not factor into the decision on Sunday as the junior right hander gave up three runs on six hits as he walked one and struck out four. The run Miller allowed in the third ended his consecutive shutout streak at 19.0 innings.
“Our pitching staff did a great job today under these really tough conditions,” added Martin. “Peter got us off to a good start. Bryant Holtmann, Jameis Winston, Gage Smith and Robby Coles all did a tremendous job in relief today to lead us to victory.”
Neither team would generate a run the rest of the game as the relief pitching on both sides was outstanding. Holtmann, Jameis Winston, Gage Smith and Robby Coles combined to work 4.1 scoreless innings allowing just three hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
For Maryland, Jamie Pashuck, Jared Price and Kevin Mooney put together 5.2 scoreless innings giving up four hits and four walks while recording five strikeouts.
The two teams combined to leave 28 runners on base including a season-high 17 by the Seminoles.
“You have to credit Maryland,” added Martin. “They did a good job of making pitches when they had to; I knew we had left some runs on, but didn’t know we left 17.”
Holtmann (1-0) picked up the win as he worked a career-high 2.1 innings allowing just one hit and one walk. He struck out one in the 10 batters that he faced.
Both Smith and Coles pitched in all three games this weekend as Smith relieved Winston and pitched Florida State out of a jam in the eighth. With Winston on the hill to start the inning, the first two Maryland batters reached on a single and a walk. After a pitching change brought Smith to the mound, Cleary moved the runners 90 feet on a sac-bunt. The Seminole side arm reliever then got Jose Cuas to hit a groundball to third. Brizuela quickly fired to McGee at the plate who threw back to Alfonzo covering the bag at third who tagged out Blake Schmit who over slid the bag for the second out. Smith closed out the inning as he got White looking at a called third strike to retire the side.
Coles pitched the ninth and worked around a one out hit as he struck out the side to earn his fourth save in as many chances this year.
With the win, Florida State improved to 66-6 all-time against Maryland and 30-9 all-time when playing on St. Patrick’s Day.
Florida State will return home to face Stetson for a two-game mid-week series on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium beginning Tuesday, March 19 at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Both games will air live over the internet on Seminoles.com All-Access. Fans can listen to both games live on the All-Access player. Locally, fans can listen to the games on 1270 AM. As always, Seminole fans can follow the Noles on twitter @FSU_Baseball and remember to like the Seminoles on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FSUBaseball). Live stats for all three games will be available via gametracker.