Coral Gables, FL - Behind eight masterful innings by senior right hander Scott Sitz, No. 5 Florida State (27-5, 10-5 ACC) took the season series from its in-state rival with a 5-1 victory over Miami (21-14, 6-9 ACC) Sunday afternoon on Mark Light Field inside Alex Rodriguez Park.
Sitz (6-0) tied a season-high with 8.0 innings on Sunday allowing an unearned run on six hits as he struck out five. The Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native did not issue a walk for the first time in eight starts this year.
“It’s a credit to Scott Sitz today,” said head coach Mike Martin. “He just took the bull by the horns and really dominated a very good Miami team. I just can’t say enough about his composure, the way he approached the game. He was very much in control. He never panicked if things didn’t go his way. It was a very good win for our baseball team.”
The only run for the Hurricanes came in the first inning when Sitz could not come up with the catch on a relay throw from John Nogowski on a groundball off the bat of Chantz Mack. Four of Miami’s six hits on the afternoon came in the first two innings. After a one-out single by Tyler Palmer in the bottom of the second, Sitz retired 14 straight Hurricane hitters.
Michael Broad broke the streak with a single to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but Sitz responded by getting Dale Carey to ground into a double play. The other hit off Sitz came with two outs in the eighth when Chris Barr singled to right. Sitz came right back to get Alex Hernandez to line out to left to end the inning.
It marked the second time this year that Sitz has worked 8.0 innings with the first coming against USF back on February 24. With today’s win, Sitz lowered his team leading ERA to 0.57 and as not allowed an earned run in five starts this year.
“My change-up was good today,” said Sitz. “My slider was ok, but my fastball was the pitch I felt like I threw the most. My defense behind me played great. I give the credit to them.”
“It was a very well-played game by us no doubt about it,” added Martin. “We made some plays. We did what we talked about all the time; we didn’t give them a chance to feel good because we kept making big plays.”
On the offensive side of things, Florida State was led by DJ Stewart, Marcus Davis and Jose Brizuela as all three Seminoles recorded two hits apiece. John Nogowski, Brizuela and Giovanny Alfonzo each drove in a run. Jameis Winston, who started as the Seminoles designated hitter, went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored as he reached base in three of his four plate appearances on Sunday.
Bryant Holtmann closed out the series victory for the Seminoles working a perfect ninth inning as he registered a pair of groundouts and a fly out.
With the win, Florida State has now won four straight regular season series from Miami and two in a row in Coral Gables.
For the second straight day, Miami struck early with a run in the first inning this time taking advantage of a Seminole error to grab a 1-0 lead. Hernandez got things going with a one-out double down the line in left and scored one batter later on a fielding error by Sitz on a groundball by Mack. With Mack at second and one out, Sitz responded with a groundout and a pop out to end the inning and keep the deficit at one.
The Hurricane lead was short lived as the Seminoles responded with two runs in the top of the second to take a 2-1 advantage. Florida State opened the inning loading the bases with three straight singles by Davis, Nogowski and Brizuela. Alfonzo brought home Davis on a sac-fly to center to tie the game, while Nogowski came home on a wild pitch by Andrew Suarez (2-2) to give FSU a one-run lead.
Miami came back with three hits in the bottom of the second but could not plate a run. Carey led off the inning with a single to right but was thrown out by Stephen McGee trying to steal second. Garrett Kennedy and Palmer followed with back-to-back one-out singles, but Sitz escaped the jam by striking out Brandon Lopez and getting Barr to groundout to second.
Florida State pushed its lead to 4-1 with two more runs in the top of the third. McGee singled to left, moved to third on a double to the gap in left center by Davis and scored on a sac-fly to left by Nogowski. Davis took third on the play as Hurricane left fielder Michael Broad made a diving catch on Nogowski’s fly ball in foul territory. The move paid off for FSU as Brizuela followed with a two-out single to left plating Davis and giving the Seminoles a three-run lead.
The Seminoles continued to add to their lead plating a run in the fourth. Winston led off the inning with an infield single to third and moved to second on a throwing error by Palmer. After a walk to Brett Knief, Winston would plate the fifth Seminole run of the afternoon as he stole third and scored on an errant throw by Hernandez. With Winston taking a sizable lead at second, Miami catcher Garrett Kennedy tried to catch him napping but Winston took off for third. Hernandez’ throw went high and out of the park giving Winston home plate and the Seminoles a 5-1 lead to account for all the scoring Sunday afternoon.
Florida State returns home to face Florida for the third and final time in 2013 on Tuesday, April 9. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. and the game will air live on ESPN3.
Fans can listen to the game on the 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 for the game will be available via gametracker.