Tallahassee - A pair of big innings was all No. 2 Florida State (8-1) needed on Sunday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium as the Seminoles rolled to a 13-6 victory over No. 14 Miami (5-5).
FSU scored six runs in the third and seven in the sixth as the win clinched the series for the Seminoles – their fifth consecutive regular season series victory over their intra-state rivals.
“It’s a very satisfying feeling for everybody associated with Florida State Baseball when your backs are against the wall, you’ve lost the first game of the series and you watch 32 guys get after it for two days. And they did, they really got after it,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said.
Florida State tied a season-high with 15 hits on Sunday as five Seminoles recorded multiple hits including DJ Stewart and Jose Brizuela who registered three hits apiece. It marked the second straight three-hit performance for Brizuela and the third time this year that Stewart has recorded at least three hits in a game.
John Nogowski, Ben DeLuzio and Danny De La Calle each posted two hits, while Justin Gonzalez, Stewart, Nogowski, Brizuela and DeLuzio all drove in two runs each.
“It was a good win for us in the early part of the season,” added Martin. “I am very proud of this baseball team and what they accomplished against a very good Miami team.”
“This is one series that a lot of us look forward to,” added senior captain Justin Gonzalez.
De La Calle was the catalyst for both of FSU’s two big run producing innings as he laced a one-out single to right center off Miami starter Andrew Suarez in the third en route to a six-run inning. He then got things going in the seven-run sixth with a single through the left side off Hurricane reliever AJ Salcines (0-1).
“Danny has worked a lot with Meat on trying to stay shorter,” said Martin. “I am just excited for the way he is learning the game. He’s only got nine games under his belt and we got a lot of baseball left. But to see De La Calle and DeLuzio improving like they are mean a lot to this baseball team.”
Gage Smith, Bryant Holtmann and Jameis Winston combined to record the final 10 outs as the Hurricanes did not get a hit the rest of the way out after Dale Carey’s two-run double in the sixth tied the game at 6-6.
Smith (2-0) worked 1.2 innings allowing an unearned run on a hit as he faced six batters. Holtmann struck out all three batters that he faced in the eighth, while Winston recorded three consecutive groundball outs to end the game.
FSU starter Mike Compton did not factor into the decision on Sunday as the redshirt sophomore right hander allowed three runs on six hits in 5.0 innings of work. Making just his second start since coming off Tommy John surgery, Compton finished with two walks and four strikeouts.
Miami grabbed the early lead on Sunday thanks to three consecutive one-out hits in the second off Compton. Willie Abreu laced a single down the line in left, moved to third on a double to left by Zack Collins and then scored on Brad Zunica’s bloop single to left. Compton would hold the Hurricanes to just one run getting Brandon Lopez looking at a called third strike and then Carey to pop out to the catcher in foul territory.
The Seminoles responded with six runs in the bottom of the third off Suarez as the Garnet & Gold sent 11 batters to the plate. Stewart gave the Noles their first lead of the afternoon ripping a two-run single back up the middle. Then Brett Knief brought home Gonzalez on a fielder’s choice groundout to second. The next three runs came on two outs as Nogowski cleared the bases with a two-run triple to the gap in left center and scored a batter later on Brizuela’s RBI single to right center.
The Canes cut the deficit to 6-3 with one swing of the bat in the fourth. After an Abreu single up the middle, Collins took a 3-2 pitch from Compton over the fence in right for a two-run shot, good for his first home run of the season.
Miami completed the comeback in the sixth scoring three times to tie the game at 6-6. Abreu led off the inning with a single to center off Billy Strode for his third hit of the afternoon. He scored a batter later on a one-out RBI double to left by Zunica. A fielding error in center would prove costly for the Noles as Carey stepped in with a two-run double to left to tie the game.
But the tie was short lived as the Seminoles responded with seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to seize the lead for good.
“That was just one of those innings that a lot of things went right for us,” said Martin. “A lot of things started happening for us and it just mushroomed.”
The first two batters reached off Salcines as De La Calle singled and Josh Delph drew a walk. Both came around to score on Gonzalez’ double down the line left. Sansone picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice followed by an RBI single by Brizuela and a two-run single by DeLuzio.
“I went into the box just trying to do my job,” said Gonzalez on asked whether he thought he would get the bunt sign with two on and no outs. “I was looking for the sign and Eleven just turned me loose. I knew in that position I had to get the job done. For him (coach Martin) to show that confidence in me definitely gave me more incentive to get the job done. I got a change-up and was able to keep it fair.”
The Seminoles hit the road for a two-game mid-week series at USF beginning Tuesday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. Both games will be streamed live through USF’s website on Bulls Cast ($). Fans can listen to the game on Seminoles.com All-Access and locally on 1270 AM. Live stats will be available on USF’s website.