Tallahassee - Fourth-ranked Florida State (36-11) completed the three-game series sweep of Minnesota (22-19) on Sunday afternoon with a 7-1 victory on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles improved to 20-1 all-time against the Golden Gophers and 15-0 in Tallahassee.
“I am just very pleased with the way we played,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “It was a weekend that we may have had a few obstacles to overcome, but I was very pleased with the fact that our guys got after it; there wasn’t any let up and we got it done.”
John Nogowski registered another three-hit performance on Sunday and finished the weekend series hitting .769 (10-for-13) with nine singles, a double, three runs scored and three RBI. The Tallahassee, Fla., native strung together seven straight hits in the series marking the first time a Seminole had performed that feat since Giovanny Alfonzo did so over a three-game span in 2013 against Florida and Virginia Tech.
Jose Brizuela went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI in the series finale connecting on a two-run home run in the seventh. Brizuela wrapped up the three-game series against Minnesota hitting .636 with two doubles, a home run, four runs scored and three RBI.
Nogowski and Brizuela combined to hit .708 against the Golden Gophers collecting 17 of FSU’s 31 hits on the weekend. The Seminole duo finished with seven runs scored while driving in six.
“It is so big, I have no way of commenting intelligently,” added Martin. “Seventeen hits, wow, that was a month for me. I am just enjoying watching the way our guys are playing right now.”
Ben DeLuzio and Ladson Montgomery each registered a pair of hits in the win on Sunday. Montgomery, who made his first start of the season behind the plate, reached base on all four of his plate appearances recording two hits and two hit by pitches.
“Ladson, what a beautiful game he played,” said Martin. “Got on base every time he got to the plate; threw a guy out, he looked great and looked very good behind the plate.”
Four Seminole pitchers limited Minnesota to just one run in the series finale.
Taylor Blatch made his second career start on Sunday and went 2.0 plus innings giving up a run on four hits as he walked two and struck out one.
Dylan Silva and Peter Miller each threw three scoreless innings in relief. Silva picked up the win to move to 2-0 on the year as the Lake Worth, Fla., native allowed just one hit and walked two while finishing with three strikeouts. Miller struck out four in his three innings of work as he gave up two hits and did not issue a walk.
Brandon Johnson worked a scoreless ninth to preserve the win. The senior southpaw gave up a one out single to right center but responded with a strikeout and a groundout to third to end the game.
“We used four pitchers and all of them did a very good job,” added Martin. “Taylor Blatch gave us a good start; no doubt that Dylan and Peter pitched very well. Of course, Brandon came in and closed it out.”
Minnesota’s Neal Kunik (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season as the junior right hander was charged with three runs on six hits in 4.2 innings.
The Gophers struck early with a run in the third off Blatch as the first two batters to the plate reached on back-to-back singles by Tony Skjefte and Connor Schaefbauer to put runners at the corners. After a pitching change brought on Silva, Dan Olinger greeted the sophomore southpaw with a single through the right side on the very first pitch bringing home Skjefte to give Minnesota a 1-0 advantage. The Golden Gophers looked to add more in the inning loading the bases with two outs but Silva got Matt Fiedler to fly out to right to retire the side.
The lead was short lived as Florida State answered right back with three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 3-1 advantage. The Seminoles opened the inning with three consecutive hits off Kunik on back-to-back singles by Justin Gonzalez and Montgomery and an RBI double to left by Josh Delph to plate Gonzalez. A sac-fly to center by Casey Smit broke the 1-1 tie and DJ Stewart followed with an RBI single through the right side to give the Seminoles a two-run lead.
FSU pushed its lead to 4-1 in the sixth as Gonzalez drove in Brizuela on a fielder’s choice groundball to third. Brizuela and DeLuzio led off the inning with a pair of singles and advanced 90 feet on a groundball to short off the bat of John Sansone. Gonzalez stepped in and hit a groundball to third that Minnesota third baseman Fielder went to the plate with but not in time to get the sliding Brizuela.
The Seminoles extended their lead to 7-1 plating three runs in the seventh. Nogowski picked up his 10th hit of the series with an RBI single to center plating Stewart, who walked and stole second. Nogowski would score a batter later as Brizuela connected on his third home run of the season. The junior third baseman took a 2-1 pitch from Lance Thonvold over the fence in right for a two-run shot.
Minnesota had its chances to score more runs on Sunday but left 10 men stranded including seven in the first three innings.
Florida State is back on the road for four straight games starting with a mid-week match-up at Stetson on Tuesday, May 6. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live on GoHatters.com. Audio will be available on the Seminoles.com All-Access player. Locally fans can listen to the game on 1270 AM.
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). Live stats will be available via gametracker.