Chapel Hill, NC - A day after getting seven shutout innings from starter Luke Weaver, Mike Compton responded with eight solid innings of work as fourth-ranked Florida State (39-11, 19-7) clinched the weekend series with a 10-2 victory over North Carolina (29-21, 13-13) Saturday afternoon inside Boshamer Stadium.
“Michael was great,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “Ninety-two pitches, was all over the strike zone meaning in, out, pitched extremely well. It was a big lift for us.”
The win marked FSU’s second straight series victory over UNC in Chapel Hill as the Seminoles took 2-of-3 from the Tar Heels on their home turf in 2010. It was also Florida State’s seventh ACC conference series win in nine opportunities this year.
The Seminoles improved to 15-6 on the road this year and are a perfect 3-0 on their current four-game road trip.
Compton allowed just two runs, both coming in the fourth inning, scattering eight hits over his eight innings of work. The junior right hander faced the minimum in an inning four times on Saturday and at one stretch retired 10 straight Tar Heel batters.
“Mixture of a fastball, change-up, slider,” said Compton. “It wasn’t until the fourth inning when they scored those two runs that I started mixing it up a lot more, a lot more sliders, a lot more change-ups and that really kept them off-balanced.”
The Branson, Mo., native did not issue a walk in a start for the second time this season as he finished with five strikeouts. With the win, Compton improved to 6-1.
“Michael has got a lot of groundballs in him and he is not afraid to throw some groundballs and I think that has a lot to do with it,” said Martin on how Compton has pitched the last few outings. “He’s not trying to strike everybody out; he’s letting the defense help him out. And when he is cooking to both sides of the plate, you are going to get some groundballs.”
After giving up the two runs in the fourth, Compton retired 13 of the last 15 batters he would face, allowing an infield single in the sixth and a leadoff bloop single to center in the eighth, before handing over the reins to Gage Smith in the ninth.
“He throws a lot of strikes, works quickly and all you have to do is play defense behind him and that’s what we did today,” said senior captain Justin Gonzalez. “He pitched great and I am happy we got the ‘W’.”
Smith worked a perfect ninth inning as he struck out two to seal the victory.
Four Seminoles finished with two hits each including DJ Stewart, John Nogowski, Jose Brizuela and Justin Gonzalez. Ben DeLuzio, John Sansone and Gonzalez drove in two runs apiece, while Stewart, Nogowski, Brizuela and DeLuzio all scored two runs each.
“We had some great at-bats, had some key hits throughout the game,” added Martin. “A number of players had key hits today. I am just very proud of our young men. It was fun to watch our guys play today with that enthusiasm and desire.”
Stewart reached base on four of his five plate appearances as the sophomore left fielder went 2-for-3 with a double and a single and two hit-by-pitches. Nogowski had a pair of singles, Gonzalez finished with two doubles and Brizuela registered a single, double and a walk.
“It seems like we are starting to click as an offense,” said Gonzalez. “To have guys one through nine have good at-bats and produce runs is something special.”
For the second day in a row, the Seminoles grabbed the early lead taking advantage of DeLuzio’s speed on the base paths as he reached on a hit-by-pitch to open the second inning. With one out and Gonzalez at the plate, the Seminoles worked the hit and run to perfection as DeLuzio scored all the way from first on a double down the line in left by Gonzalez to give FSU a 1-0 advantage.
The Tar Heels strung together four straight, two-out hits in the bottom of the fourth to plate a pair of runs and take a 2-1 lead. Compton registered two quick outs on a pop out and groundout, but Tyler Ramirez kept the inning alive with a single up the middle. After swiping second, Ramirez tied the game at one scoring on a double that dropped just inside the line in left off the bat of Parks Jordan. Jordan would score a batter later on an RBI single to right by Alex Raburn to give the Tar Heels a one-run lead. Zach Daly would follow with another single to right but Compton would get out of the jam as Korey Dunbar grounded out to third to retire the side.
“When you get those runners on base it’s all about limiting the damage,” said Compton on the fourth inning. “They got the two runs and really had that chemistry going. They were hitting the ball, putting the ball in play. It was really important to get out of that inning with just those two runs given up and then to settle down and stay more focused was key.”
Florida State responded in the top of the fifth with three runs to retake the lead for good. Josh Delph’s walk to open the frame chased UNC starter Benton Moss after just 4.0 plus innings of work. Trevor Kelley (1-2) came in and gave up four hits including run scoring singles by Nogowski, DeLuzio and Sansone.
Moss would not factor into the decision on Saturday as the junior right hander allowed two run on three hits as he walked three, hit two and struck out four.
The Seminoles added to their lead with two runs in the seventh to take a 6-2 advantage. Brizuela started the inning with a double inside the bag at third and scored two batters later on a two-out double to left by Gonzalez. Danny De La Calle followed with his first hit of the afternoon, an RBI single through the right side, to plate Gonzalez.
Florida State took advantage of an error, a hit-by-pitch and two walks by A.J. Bogucki in the eighth to plate four more runs to extend its lead to 10-2. DeLuzio drove in his second run of the game drawing a walk with the bases loaded. A pair of wild pitches by Bogucki sandwiched by an RBI groundout by Sansone led to three more Seminole runs.
Florida State and North Carolina will wrap-up the three game series on Sunday, May 11 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be streamed live over the internet on GoHeelsTV (paid subscription).
Audio for the game will be available on the Seminoles.com All-Access player. Locally fans can listen to the game on 100.7 FM. As always, fans can receive in-game updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball. Also, do not forget to like the Seminole Baseball team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FSUBaseball and to follow the team on Instagram (NoleBaseball).