Noles Drop Rubber Game To Virginia Tech, 8-1

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Blacksburg, VA - No. 4 Florida State (24-4, 8-4 ACC) could not replicate its offensive production from earlier in the day as the Seminoles dropped game two of the doubleheader to Virginia Tech (19-9, 6-5 ACC), 8-1, in the rubber game of the series Saturday evening on English Field.

With the loss, the Seminoles dropped their first ACC series of the season and their first series against Virginia Tech in five trips to Blacksburg. Florida State committed three errors for the second straight game, while only one of the eight runs they allowed was unearned.

“We made some mistakes but you also have to credit Virginia Tech, they took advantage of them and really poured it on, so to speak, and got a big four spot twice tonight,” said head coach Mike Martin. “When you make some mistakes you expect good clubs to take advantage of it and that’s exactly what they did.”

The Hokies scored all their runs over two innings in game two of the doubleheader plating four runs in the fourth and four more in the seventh. The lone run for the Seminoles came in the top of the sixth.

“Virginia Tech has a very solid baseball team,” added Martin. “I was very impressed them. I didn’t see any weaknesses; thought they were strong up the middle. They deserved to win the ball game today, no doubt about it.”

Peter Miller suffered the loss for the Seminoles as the junior right hander fell to 3-1 on the year. The Lutz, Fla., native was charged with four runs, three earned, on six hits in 3.1 innings of work as he finished with one walk and one strikeout.

On the other side, Virginia Tech got an outstanding performance from Joe Mantiply as the senior southpaw allowed one run while scattering six hits over 6.2 innings of work. Mantiply walked three and struck out seven to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Clark Labitan worked the final 2.1 innings to earn his fifth save of the season.

After both starting pitchers breezed through the first three innings, the Hokies struck first in the bottom of the fourth scoring four runs off Miller. Chad Pinder and Tyler Horan opened the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Miller then got Mark Zagunis to hit a groundball to third but the throw from Jose Brizuela to the plate was out of the reach of Stephen McGee allowing Pinder to slide in safely for the first run of the game. Andrew Rash then cleared the bases with a two-run double to right center. He would score two batters later on an RBI double to left by Chad Morgan to end the evening for Miller.

Brandon Johnson came on and kept Florida State in striking distance as he blanked the Hokies for 2.2 innings. Johnson did not allow a hit as he walked two and struck out two.

The Seminoles broke through with their first run in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Giovanny Alfonzo. Florida State loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by McGee and Casey Smit and a walk to John Nogowski. Alfonzo then laced a ball back up the middle that hit off Mantiply’s foot and ricocheted over to foul territory on the first base side. Sean Keselica retrieved the ball and applied the tag on Alfonzo for the out. McGee scored on the play as FSU cut the deficit to 4-1.

The Hokies threatened in the bottom of the inning but Johnson escaped the jam as Virginia Tech loaded the bases with one out. Johnson got Alex Perez to ground into an inning ending double play to retire the side.

FSU left two stranded in the seventh after Marcus Davis reached on a fielder’s choice groundout to second followed by a single to center off the bat of DJ Stewart. Mantiply’s night would come to a close after the base hit by Stewart as the Hokies called on Labitan. The senior right hander battled with McGee but kept the Hokies lead intact as he got the Seminole catcher to hit into a fielder’s choice putout at second to the end the inning.

Virginia Tech blew the game open with a four-run seventh to extend its lead to 8-1. All four runs came off Kyle Bird as Pinder began the run scoring inning with an RBI double down the line in right. Gage Smith came on with the bases loaded and gave up consecutive RBI singles to Rash and Brendon Hayden. The fourth run of the inning scored on a fielder’s choice groundout off the bat of Morgan.

Florida State returns home for a two-game mid-week series against No. 26 Florida Gulf Coast beginning Tuesday, April 2. First pitch for both games is set for 6:00 p.m. Both games will air live over the internet on All-Access.

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