TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida State (14-2) completed the sweep of UCF (7-11) on Wednesday afternoon inside Jay Bergman Field with an 18-1 victory. The win was FSU’s eighth straight over the Knights and fifth in a row in Orlando.
The 18 runs on Wednesday marked the most runs scored by the Seminoles in the series since plating 19 in NCAA Tallahassee Regional on June 6, 2004. The 17-run victory was the largest margin of victory over the Knights in the series since a 19-3 on that same date in 2004.
“I told the guys what they accomplished was not routine,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “This stuff is not easy. We came out today and got after it. We played hard, we played well and I’m very happy with that attitude, that approach.”
The Seminoles finished the afternoon recording a season-high in runs and hits (18), while scoring four or more runs in an inning twice on Wednesday with a six-run fourth and a seven-run seventh. FSU has now plated four or more runs in an inning 16 times in 2014.
Casey Smit paced the Seminole hit barrage with a career-high three hits as the senior from Tampa, Fla., made his second start of the season on Wednesday and first as the Seminole designated hitter. Smit finished the game 3-for-4 with three singles and two walks as he reached base on five of his six plate appearances and scored three times.
“When you get a chance to get a start and contribute, you want to make the best of every chance you have,” said Smit. “I was seeing the ball really well today. Every pitch I saw I put a good swing on it and had a good result.”
Jose Brizuela went 2-for-2 with a single and a triple as he walked twice, scored two runs and drove in a run on a sac-fly in the seventh. John Sansone reached base on all four of his plate appearances as the sophomore second baseman finished the afternoon with two hits, a double and a single, and two hit by pitches as he scored three runs and recorded an RBI.
Ben DeLuzio went 2-for-2 with an RBI double and a single. He was hit by a pitch and drove in one of his two runs on a sac-fly. Danny De La Calle had a nice return to the line-up after missing Tuesday’s game with the flu, as the junior catcher went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles as he tied a career-high with three RBI.
DJ Stewart connected on a two-run home run in the sixth to extend his streak of reaching base to 43 straight games.
Hank Truluck, Nick Graganella and Ladson Montgomery all picked up pinch hit singles in the win.
Gage West hit a home run in his only at-bat of the afternoon connecting on a solo shot to lead-off the ninth inning.
“It was very good for our team as last night was a tough game,” added Smit. “Today we came out ready to play and it showed. Our bats started early and we kept seeing the ball well.”
On the mound, five Seminole pitchers combined to limit UCF to just four hits on the afternoon.
Bryant Holtmann moved to 3-0 on the year picking up his first win as a starter this year in a controlled outing for the Seminoles on Wednesday afternoon. The junior southpaw tied a career-high working 4.0 innings allowing only one run on two hits as he walked one and struck out three. The start for Holtmann was his first of the season and second of his career. It also marked the second straight appearance for Holtmann in which he has thrown 4.0 innings.
“Very, very pleased with Bryant Holtmann,” added Martin. “He is going to be seen in days to come somewhere.”
Taylor Blatch followed with two shutout innings as he walked two and struck out a pair.
Brandon Johnson, Jim Voyles and Kenny Burkhead all worked a scoreless inning in relief. Johnson faced the minimum in the seventh with a pair of strikeouts. Voyles worked around back-to-back two out hits in his second relief appearance of the season, while Burkhead worked a perfect ninth inning finishing the game with consecutive strikeouts.
“Holtmann gave us exactly what we wanted,” said Martin. “We got a lot of people some work. It was a good win for us.”
For the second straight day, Florida State grabbed the early lead scoring a run in the top of the second on consecutive two-out doubles by Sansone and DeLuzio. Sansone found the gap in left center and DeLuzio followed slicing a ball past the UCF first baseman and down the line in right to give the Seminoles a 1-0 advantage.
The Seminoles threw up a six spot in the top of the fourth to extend their lead to 7-0. Florida State sent nine batters to the plate in the inning collecting five hits, all singles, a hit by pitch and a fielding error. Sansone opened the scoring with an RBI single up the middle. After DeLuzio was hit by a pitch to load the bases, De La Calle dropped a bloop single to right center to drive in two and then scored on a wild pitch. Smit followed with his second hit of the afternoon, an RBI infield single to first. Stewart completed the scoring in the inning on a sac-fly to right to plate Smit. The ball looked as if it would clear the right field wall, but UCF’s Erik Barber made a tremendous leaping catch to rob Stewart of a home run.
The Knights cut the deficit to 7-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Tommy Williams connected on his team leading fourth home run of the season. The UCF second baseman took the first pitch he saw from Holtmann out of the park to left center. It was the first home run given up by Holtmann this year.
Florida State answered with a single run in the top of the fifth to extend its lead back to seven at 8-1. Brizuela opened the inning with a triple off the wall in right and scored three batters later on a sac-fly to left by DeLuzio.
Stewart pushed the FSU lead to 10-1 in the sixth as he deposited a two-run shot to left center. With Smit on at first after leading off the inning with a single to right for his third hit of the afternoon, Stewart took a 0-2 offering from UCF’s Ryan Meyer out of the park for his second home run of the series and third of the season.
The Seminoles kept pouring it on adding seven more runs in the seventh to take a commanding 17-1 lead.
West rounded out the scoring in the ninth as he led off the inning with a solo home run to right for his second round tripper of the season.
Florida State returns to league action this weekend as they host No. 7 NC State for a three-game series beginning Friday, March 14. Friday and Saturday’s games are at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games will air on ESPN3. Fans can listen to the game on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally on 1270 AM (Friday) and 100.7 FM (Saturday & Sunday). Live stats will be available via gametracker.