TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 7 Florida State (28-6, 11-5 ACC) opened the weekend with an impressive 16-2 victory over Duke (21-15, 8-8 ACC) Friday evening in front of 4,775 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
With the victory, the Seminoles have now won eight straight over the Blue Devils and 27 of their last 30 games in the series.
“Luke Weaver pitched an outstanding ball game, we had some very, very good at-bats and we scored a lot of runs; it’s a credit to our guys and the at-bats that they had,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I am just very proud of the way they came out and played tonight.”
Five Seminoles registered multiple hits on Friday night including four players with three hits each. Brett Knief, Jose Brizuela and John Sansone all tied a career-high with three hits, while Marcus Davis joined the group with three hits in the win. DJ Stewart was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored as Florida State finished the game out hitting Duke 16-8.
“We have got to have everybody in the line-up contributing,” added Martin. “It was nice to see that show-up tonight. We had a very productive game but we know tomorrow that it could be just literally turned around. But I liked the way our guys got after it tonight; let’s hope we can play well tomorrow.”
Knief was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle collecting a single in the first, double in the third and his first triple of the season in the seventh. The junior right fielder finished the evening with two runs scored and two RBI. Davis registered a pair of singles and unloaded on his team leading sixth home run of the season in the sixth. The Cincinnati, Ohio native drove in three and scored twice. Sansone drove in a career-high four runs and scored twice, while recording a pair of doubles and a single.
“It definitely helped my confidence,” said Sansone on having a productive night at the plate. “I just hope to keep it rolling for tomorrow.”
Luke Weaver received all the run support he would need following the Seminoles’ two-run first as the sophomore right hander tied a career-high with 7.0 innings of work to improve to 4-0 on the year. Weaver gave up just one run on six hits as he struck out six and did not walk a batter for the third time in seven starts this year.
“It was great,” said Weaver on getting the early run support. “You know you have to go out there and attack the zone early; just let them hit it and try not to strike everybody out and just pitch your game.”
The DeLand, Fla., native faced the minimum in an inning five times on Friday including the final four innings that he worked. He gave up a single in the fifth and sixth innings only to see the runners retired as the Seminoles turned two inning ending double plays.
Duke’s Trent Swart (4-2) suffered the loss as he gave up a season-high nine runs, eight earned, on 10 hits as he walked three and struck out three. Swart, who entered Friday night’s game posting shutouts in back-to-back starts against Boston College and Georgia Tech, lasted just 4.1 innings in game one.
Jeff Kremer paced the Blue Devil offense with three hits in the loss.
Florida State ran out to an early 2-0 lead off Swart with two runs in the bottom of the first. Knief and Stewart led off with back-to-back singles with Knief scoring two batters later on an RBI single up the middle off the bat of Davis. With runners at the corners, the Seminoles attempted a double steal. Duke catcher Reed Anthes threw to second to get Davis with Stewart taking home for the second run of the inning.
Duke answered right back in the top of the second when Chris Marconcini hit a solo shot over the fence in right to cut the Seminole deficit to 2-1. The home run came off a 2-2 pitch from Weaver and was his team leading eighth round tripper of the season. It also marked the first home run allowed by Weaver this year.
The Blue Devils threatened with consecutive two-out singles in the top of the third to put runners at the corners, but Weaver got out of the jam by getting Jordan Betts looking at a called third strike.
The Seminoles extended their lead to 10-1 scoring four runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings. FSU loaded the bases with one-out off Swart when Jameis Winston was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth, Brizuela singled through the right side and John Nogowski drew a walk. Sansone came through with a two-run single to left, Knief followed with a sac-fly to left and Stewart finished off the run scoring inning with an RBI single up the middle.
In the fifth, Florida State registered an RBI single from Brizuela and a two-run single from Nogowski. The fourth run of the inning, scored by Nogowski, came on a pair of throwing errors after Knief flew out to right.
Davis gave the Seminoles a 12-1 advantage with one swing of the bat in the sixth. The junior left fielder took a 1-0 pitch from Duke reliever Sarkis Ohanian over the fence in right for a two-run shot. Stephen McGee, who scored on the play, led off the inning with a walk.
FSU added two more runs in the seventh to push its lead to 14-1. Sansone led off the inning with a double off the fence in right center and scored a batter later on a triple down the line in right by Knief. Seth Miller brought home Knief on an RBI groundout to short.
Duke plated a run in the eighth off FSU reliever Kyle Bird as Jeff Kremer singled home pinch hitter Angelo La Bruna. Bird finished his 1.0 inning of relief allowing the one run on two hits as he struck out two.
The Seminoles closed the book on the scoring Friday night with two more runs in the bottom of the eighth for the winning margin. Winston and JJ Gould reached on a walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively to start the inning against Kenny Koplove. Both would come around to score on Sansone’s two-run double down the line in left.
Dylan Silva wrapped up the victory on Friday working a scoreless ninth inning. The freshman southpaw faced four batters walking one.
Florida State and Duke are back at it Saturday, April 13 with a doubleheader beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The second game will start 45 minutes after the completion of game one.
Both games will be streamed live over the internet on Seminoles.com All-Access. Fans can also listen to both games on the All-Access player and locally on 100.7 FM. 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 the game will be available via gametracker.