TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 5 Florida State (11-0) kept its undefeated record in check Tuesday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium as the Seminoles defeated Presbyterian College (8-5) 9-2.
Stephen McGee paced the Florida State offense with a career-high four RBI as the Port St. Lucie, Fla., native finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and his first career home run. McGee unloaded on a 2-2 offering from PC starter Brian Byrum (1-2) in the bottom of the fifth hitting the ball off the scoreboard in left for his first round tripper as a Seminole.
“It’s been so long, I don’t even know what it really felt like,” said McGee on hitting the home run. “When I hit it, of course I thought (it was gone) but I was too precautions so I just took off just in case. But when it came off the bat, it felt great.”
“It was just something that I didn’t even know,” said head coach Mike Martin on finding out that McGee hit his first career home run. “I just know that Stephen McGee has been invaluable to our baseball team both as a leader and as a guy that plays the game the right way day in and day out.
“It was just a big lift for us to get it done against a very good PC team.”
Marcus Davis and Giovanny Alfonzo both drove in a pair of runs, while Davis and Seth Miller each scored two runs in the win.
Luke Weaver turned in another brilliant performance on the mound to run his record to 2-0 on the young season. The sophomore right hander blanked the Blue Hose for 6.0 innings allowing just three hits and no walks as he struck out eight. In his last three appearances, Weaver has given up just four hits and no walks while striking out 19 in 13.0 scoreless innings of work.
“Luke pitched extremely well,” added Martin. “I was very, very pleased with what I saw. You saw a guy that was poised; you saw a guy that was getting it done.”
“It was a good comparison to my last start,” said Weaver. “I felt this start was just as good as my last. I came out a little too amped up, but I felt good. I just hope to keep it rolling.”
The Seminoles would jump on the board in the second inning when Miller was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to third on a single up the middle by Jameis Winston. One batter later, Miller scored on a sac-fly to left off the bat of Alfonzo to give FSU the early 1-0 lead.
FSU added to its lead in the fourth scoring twice off Byrum to push its lead to 3-0. John Nogowski was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to third on a double to right by Miller. After Winston drew a walk to load the bases, Alfonzo would drive in his second run of the afternoon when Byrum plunked him on a 0-1 offering to bring home Nogowski. With the bases still loaded, Byrum attempted to pick off Winston at second but threw errant into center field allowing Miller to score from third.
Byrum’s day would come to a close after 5.0 innings as he allowed five runs on three hits as he walked three, struck out three and hit five batters.
After McGee’s two-run home run in the fifth, the Seminoles widened their lead in the sixth scoring four more runs to take a commanding 9-0 lead. The first three batters to the plate reached as Alfonzo led off with a single to left and John Sansone and Josh Delph drew back-to-back walks. Following a Blue Hose pitching change, Davis drove in both Alfonzo and Sansone with a shoe string base hit to right, while McGee brought home two on a double down the line in left.
The Seminoles got two solid innings from Kyle Bird, who pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings. The sophomore left hander allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one in his fourth appearance of the season.
Presbyterian finally cracked the scoreboard in the ninth scoring two runs off Kenny Burkhead. With runners at second and third following a one-out double to right by Aaron Preston, Trey Hayes hit a single back up the middle to plate PC’s only two runs of the game. Burkhead bounced back to get Cam McRae to ground into a game ending double play.
Florida State and Presbyterian will return to the diamond for game two of the mid-week series on Wednesday, March 6 at 4:00 p.m. The Seminoles will send left handed pitcher Billy Strode (0-0) to the mound for his first career start. The Blue Hose are scheduled to start lefty Chad Sanders (0-0).
Wednesday’s game will air live over the internet on Seminoles.com All-Access, while fans can listen to the game live on the All-Access player. Locally, fans can listen to the game on 1270 AM. 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 game tracker.