TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It was a tale of two games on Friday. After getting shut out in game one of a doubleheader, No. 5 Florida State (21-2, 6-2 ACC) responded with an 11-3 victory over No. 11 Georgia Tech (18-4, 6-2 ACC) in game two to even the three-game series and force a rubber game Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
“I was very impressed with the way we bounced back,” said head coach Mike Martin. “That says a lot about our club. Georgia Tech is certainly a very good team and it was great to see us bounce back like we did.”
DJ Stewart and Mike McGee drove in nine of FSU’s 11 runs including a career-high six off the bat of Stewart, who broke the game open in the fifth when he connected on his first career grand slam. The six RBI are the most by a Seminole hitter this year and the most since Devon Travis drove in six against Stanford in game one of the Tallahassee Super Regional on June 8, 2012.
“DJ is certainly a young man that just needs to play,” said Martin. “After the first game he was a little dejected but he is a guy that is learning the game. He went right back in there, had some very good at-bats and drove in a lot of runs for us tonight.”
Marcus Davis went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles as he walked twice and scored a game-high four runs. McGee finished with two hits and three RBI as the junior catcher extended a pair of streaks following Friday’s doubleheader. He has now reached base in 16 straight games, while extending his career-best hitting streak to eight straight.
Josh Delph, Jose Brizuela, John Nogowski, Seth Miller and John Sansone each registered a hit in the win.
FSU starting pitcher Scott Sitz (5-0) did a great job of limiting the nation’s top hitting and scoring offense in game two of the doubleheader after the Yellow Jackets scored 10 runs on 13 hits in the series opener. The senior right hander worked 5.1 innings allowing just two runs, both unearned, on eight hits as he walked four and struck out five.
“Scotty gave us exactly what we needed,” said Martin. “And that was five quality innings. I thought he battled. Georgia Tech is obviously a beautiful baseball team. They are the total package. I did not see a weakness in their club; I was very impressed with them.”
Sitz did not allow a runner past second base through the first three innings holding Georgia Tech to just two hits and two walks. In the fourth, the Jackets tagged Sitz for three hits, all singles by Daniel Palka, A.J. Murray and Matt Gonzalez, but Seth Miller kept Georgia Tech off the scoreboard as he threw out Palka at the plate to retire the side.
Miller came through with another sensational catch and throw at the plate just one inning later and McGee did an outstanding job of holding on to the ball to record the out. With runners at the corners and one out, Kyle Wren lined out to center for what looked like a sac-fly, but Miller threw a bullet to McGee at the plate to get Mott Hyde for the second out of the inning. After a walk, Sitz got Brandon Thomas looking at a called third strike to retire the side.
“Seth has been very impressive as a centerfielder,” added Martin. “What made him better is being around (James) Ramsey. Seth has a little better arm than Ramsey to tell you the truth. The two plays that he made tonight were as good in one game as I have ever seen an outfielder make for us.”
Fifty minutes after being shutout for the first time this year, Florida State wasted little cracking the scoreboard in game two plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead. Delph led things off with a single and Davis followed with the first of his two doubles. A sac-fly by Stewart brought home Delph, while Davis scored on a single through the left side by McGee.
“I don’t think there was any question that was something we needed,” said Martin on plating a couple early runs. “We needed a jump start and of course we got it out of our first two hitters.”
The Seminoles added to their lead in the third off Georgia Tech starter Dusty Isaacs (3-2) when Davis led off the inning with a double to right center and scored two batters later on a sac-fly to right by McGee.
Florida State chased Isaacs in the fifth and opened the game up when Stewart connected on his second home run of the season. With the bases loaded, the freshman from Yulee, Fla., took a 2-0 offering from Alex Cruz and deposited the ball over the screen in right center for his first career grand slam to give FSU a commanding 7-0 advantage.
After Georgia Tech cut into the lead with two unearned runs in the top of the sixth, FSU responded with another four-run inning to push its lead to 11-2. Delph and Davis both walked and scored, while Stewart put the finishing touches on his career night driving in his sixth run of the game on an RBI single to center. McGee followed with an RBI single up the middle and later scored on a throwing error at second.
Gage Smith relieved Sitz with one out in the sixth and kept the Jacket offense at bay scattering just two hits in 1.2 scoreless innings.
Kyle Bird faced two batters in the eighth and gave up a hit and a walk before giving way to Brandon Johnson. Johnson allowed a hit and struck out two in an inning of work. Bird was charged with a run, the first earned run allowed by the sophomore southpaw this year.
Robby Coles pitched the ninth and after the first two Yellow Jacket hitters reached on a bunt single and a walk, the junior right hander settled down to get a pop out and back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
Isaacs was charged with the loss as he went 4.0 plus innings allowing four runs on six hits.
Florida State and Georgia Tech will return to the diamond for the series finale on Sunday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m. on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser. The game will air live on ESPN3. Fans can listen to the game live on the All-Access player. Locally, fans can listen to the game 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 all three games will be available via gametracker.