CLEMSON, S.C. – Top-ranked Florida State (17-4, 5-2) fell to No. 13 Clemson (14-7, 6-1), 9-3 Friday evening in the opening game of a three-game series inside Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The loss marked FSU’s first two-game skid of the season, while the Seminoles have now dropped six of their last seven games to the Tigers in Clemson.
With the loss, Florida State falls one game behind Clemson for first place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings.
Daniel Gossett held the Seminoles to just one run in 7.1 innings of work as the junior right hander scattered four hits and four walks while striking out eight as he improved to 2-0 on the year.
“Gossett was beautiful,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “He threw 124 pitches. He spotted his fastball very well; that was the key to his outing was the ability to spot his fastball, he went in and out extremely well.”
Luke Weaver suffered the loss (4-2) as the DeLand, Fla. native was tagged with six runs as he gave up a career-high 11 hits in 7.0 innings of work. The Seminole starter finished with three strikeouts while walking just one.
“That inning (fifth) they scored three, he made some good pitches,” said Martin. “Things just didn’t go his way tonight. What really impressed me about Luke was that he went out there and pitched the sixth and seventh innings to keep us from having to use our bullpen. That just shows you what kind of guy he is; he didn’t go out there and go through the motions, he went out there and pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh.”
Six of the nine runs scored by Clemson on Friday night came on two outs including four of the six off Weaver.
John Sansone and Casey Smit both registered two hits apiece in the loss. Smit drove in a pair of runs on a single in the ninth, while Jameis Winston plated a run on an RBI single up the middle in the top of the fifth.
DJ Stewart’s single in the fourth extended his streak of reaching base to 48 straight games.
Clemson’s Tyler Krieger, Garrett Boulware, Steven Duggar, Chris Okey and Shane Kennedy all had two hits each as eight of the nine Tigers in their starting line-up picked up a hit.
The Seminoles got a runner to third in the second inning but could not push a run across. Jose Brizuela drew a one out walk, stole second and moved to third on the play as the throw from Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware went into centerfield. On the very next pitch, Florida State tried a safety squeeze with John Nogowski at the plate, but the bunt went right back to the mound as Gossett threw on to the plate for the second out of the inning.
Clemson grabbed the early lead on Friday scoring two runs in the bottom of the second. After Weaver started the inning getting Duggar swinging on strikes, the Tigers followed with three consecutive hits on an infield single by Okey, a double to the gap in right center by Steve Wilkerson and an RBI single by Kennedy that went off the back side of Weaver. With runners at the corners, the junior right hander was called for a balk bringing home Wilkerson for the second run of the inning.
The Tigers added to their lead in the third when Boulware connected on a two-out solo shot to center. The Clemson catcher took a 0-1 pitch from Weaver out of the park for his second home run of the season and a 3-0 Tiger lead.
Florida State cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth on an RBI single by Winston. Sansone led off the inning taking the first pitch from Gossett all the way to the wall in right center for a stand-up double. He would score two pitches later on a single up the middle by Winston. After hitting Danny De La Calle with a pitch, Gossett would get out of the inning recording back-to-back strikeouts and a pop out to retire the side.
Clemson responded with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend its lead to 6-1. All three runs came on two outs as the Tigers strung together five consecutive two-out hits off Weaver. Krieger registered an RBI double to left, Boulware followed with a run scoring single up the middle and Duggar capped the scoring with an RBI single to right.
The Tigers added three more runs in the eighth on a sac-fly by Jay Baum and a two-run double by Krieger.
The Seminoles did not go quietly in the ninth loading the bases with no outs off Clay Bates after Nogowski drew a walk, Sansone singled up the middle and Winston drew a walk. After a fielder’s choice groundout by Josh Delph, Smit stepped in and laced an opposite field single to plate a pair.
Clemson’s Matt Campbell replaced Bates in the ninth and got the final two outs to preserve the win.
Florida State and Clemson are back in action on Saturday, March 22 as the two teams will play a doubleheader with game one set to start at 2:00 p.m. and the second game to follow at 6:30 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN3. Fans can listen to the two games on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally on 100.7 FM. Live stats will be available via www.clemsontigers.com.