DeLAND, Fla. – No. 7 Florida State (39-9) scored two runs in each of the first four innings Tuesday night en route to a 13-5 victory over Stetson (23-25) in the first of two games on Melching Field inside Conrad Park. The win secured FSU’s third regular season series victory over the Hatters while it marked the Seminoles eighth win in their last nine trips to DeLand.
Peter Miller brushed off a shaky start to give the Seminoles six solid innings as the junior right hander recorded his third straight win to improve to 6-1 on the year. After giving up four runs in the first two innings, Miller settled down scattering just four hits over the next four innings. The Lutz, Fla., native finished with three strikeouts while walking just one.
“It was just one of those outings that I was very proud that he so called persevered,” said head coach Mike Martin on the outing of Miller. “He didn’t feel sorry for himself; he stayed out there and battled. He comes away with a win tonight because he kept fighting and believing himself. I am just very proud of him for that and I told him that.”
Stephen McGee, DJ Stewart and Jameis Winston combined for eight hits, eight RBI and eight runs scored Tuesday night. Winston finished with career-highs in hits (3) and RBI (4), while McGee put the game out of reach in the fourth connecting on a two-run shot to left. The junior catcher finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI as he reached base on four of his five plate appearances.
Stewart registered doubles in his first two plate appearances in game one and finished 3-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBI. Casey Smit went 2-for-2 with a run scored in the win.
Florida State finished the game with 18 hits, the second most this year, as 12 Seminoles recorded at least one hit. John Nogowski extended his streak of reaching base to 21 straight games with a single to right. The sophomore first baseman finished 1-for-1 with a run and an RBI as he walked once and was hit by a pitch.
“This was a little bit of a surprise,” added Martin. “It’s the second most hits we posted this year. It was just one of those things that everything seemed to go our way. We got runners on and got a lot of key hits. It was a good night for us.”
Billy Strode worked 2.0 innings in relief allowing a run on five hits as he struck out three. Kenny Burkhead pitched a perfect ninth inning in front of friends and family as the Deltona, Fla., native struck out a career-high two batters.
Florida State jumped out to an early lead Tuesday night scoring two runs in the top of the first off Stetson starter Adam Schaly (2-3). Stewart got things going with a double to the gap in right center followed by a four-pitch walk to McGee. Marcus Davis then dropped a double inside the left field foul line to plate Stewart. Nogowski brought home McGee for the second run of the inning on a safety squeeze.
Stetson answered right back with a run in the bottom of the inning to cut the Seminole lead to 2-1. Kevin Fagan led off with a sharp single to center and scored two batters later on a sac-fly to center by Patrick Mazeika. A double by James Rasmussen kept the inning alive for the Hatters but Miller got out of the inning with the lead intact recording an infield pop-up and a groundout to retire the side.
Stewart delivered a two-out, two-run double in the second to extend FSU’s lead to 4-1. Walks to John Sansone and Brett Knief opened the door for Stewart, who laced his second double in as many at-bats just beyond the diving glove of Mitchel Brennan in right.
The Hatters scored three in the bottom of the second to even the game at 4-4. With two on and one out, Fagan drilled a triple over the head of Winston in right and scored a batter later on an RBI groundout to second off the bat of Darby McCormick.
FSU grabbed the lead for a third time in the game in the third inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Winston and Sansone. Nogowski and Winston scored in the inning to give the Seminoles a 6-4 lead.
McGee gave the Garnet & Gold a four-run cushion after connecting on a two-run shot in the fourth. After Stewart reached on a fielder’s choice groundout, McGee followed with his seventh home run of the season taking a 3-1 pitch from Schaly out of the park to left to give FSU an 8-4 advantage.
Schaly’s night was done after 4.0 innings as the freshman southpaw allowed eight runs on 10 hits as he walked five and struck out one.
FSU added to its lead in the eighth plating four more runs to make the score 12-4. Winston opened the inning with his third hit of the evening on a two-run double to left. After a walk to Sansone loaded the bases, Giovanny Alfonzo stepped in and ripped a two-run single to left.
Stetson pushed a run across off Strode in the eighth as Tyler Bocock doubled to right center to open the inning and scored two batters later on an RBI double down the line in left by Smith.
Winston drove in his fourth run of the night in the ninth as he drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded.
Florida State and Stetson return to the diamond for game two of the mid-week series on Wednesday, May 8 with first pitch set at 4:00 p.m. LHP Bryant Holtmann will make his first career start on Wednesday. Fans can listen to the game on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally 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 will be available via gametracker.