Tallahassee, FL - No. 9 Florida State (35-9, 16-8 ACC) completed the sweep of Wake Forest (24-23, 7-17 ACC) on Sunday afternoon with an 11-2 victory on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Scott Sitz was sensational in the win working 7.0 shutout innings to improve to 8-1 on the year.
The win kept the Seminoles in first place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings with a half a game lead on NC State, who plays North Carolina Sunday at 7 pm, and a full game lead on Clemson.
“I think what impressed me the most about our guys was that there was no let up today,” said head coach Mike Martin. “It was a good win for our ball club, one that we needed. There is a lot of baseball left.”
The Seminoles also remained perfect on the year at home on Sunday’s improving to 7-0. Florida State has now won 19 in a row when wearing the gold uniforms.
Sitz scattered just four hits on Sunday and at one point retired 14 straight Wake Forest batters. The junior right hander allowed just two runners past first base and both game in the top of the seventh when Charlie Morgan singled and advanced to third on a double to left by Jack Carey. Sitz left both runners stranded as he got Kevin Jordan swinging on strikes to retire the side.
“I honestly don’t know when I have seen him pitch better,” said Martin on Sitz’ performance. “I mean that was beautiful stuff; both sides of the plate with the fastball, just a well-pitched baseball game.”
“He had a good outing,” said catcher Stephen McGee. “His fastball had a lot to do with it and then his slider was very consistent today; he had a good feel for both pitches. He was just getting ahead of the hitters, making his pitches when he needed to and throwing that pitch to each individual hitter (when he needed outs).”
The Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native has now gone six starts this year in which he has not allowed an earned run. In the process, the Seminole senior lowered his ERA to a team best 1.42.
“It was one of the better outings I have had all year,” said Sitz. “I felt like I had control of most of my pitches. My change-up was on and off throughout the game but my slider and fastball I felt like I had great command over all day. I just felt good out there.”
Marcus Davis paced the Seminole offense with three hits and a career-high four RBI, while Jose Brizuela finished 2-for-4 with three RBI. Brett Knief and John Nogowski also picked up two hits apiece in the win.
Stephen McGee scored a game-high three runs while legging out his first career triple in the bottom of the fifth. DJ Stewart finished with two runs scored after going 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.
Wake Forest’s Austin Stadler suffered the loss (5-3) leaving after 5.0 innings. He was charged with five runs, three earned, on six hits as he walked three and struck out six.
“A lot of it was our approach,” added McGee. “You could see early in the game we were getting a little frustrated swinging at some pitches we probably shouldn’t have. We all adjusted and turned the game around.”
After Stadler faced the minimum with five strikeouts through the first three innings on Sunday, Florida State broke the scoreless tie with three runs to take the lead for good. Knief led off the inning with a double to the gap in the left center and moved to third on a sac-bunt by Stewart. The Deacs then intentionally walked McGee to bring up a lefty on lefty match-up. Davis won the battle with an RBI single up the middle to plate Knief for the first run of the game. After Nogowski walked to load the bases, Brizuela took a 2-2 pitch from Stadler back up the middle to plate a pair and give the Seminoles a 3-0 advantage.
“Wake’s lefty had us chasing some pitches early,” added Martin. “We kept our poise, got the big base hit from Brizuela in the fourth. Then of course things just seemed to go our way after that. We got some good hitting; Marcus had a big day for us today.”
A fielding error by Wake Forest with two outs in the fifth opened the door for a pair of runs as Florida State increased its lead to 5-0. Stewart reached on the error and scored on McGee’s first career triple. The Seminole catcher would score one batter later on Davis’ RBI double down the line in right.
Florida State added to its lead with a five-run seventh to increase its margin to 10-0. The Seminoles sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning highlighted by an RBI double by Stewart and Nogowski and an RBI single by Davis and Brizuela.
Wake Forest broke up the shutout bid with a run in the eighth off Bryant Holtmann, who walked four in the inning. Charlie Morgan drew a walk with the bases loaded to bring home Mark Rhine for the Deacs first run of the afternoon.
The Seminoles pushed their lead back to 10 with a run in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 11-1. Pinch hitter Casey Smit led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a single to center by Ladson Montgomery. Davis would bring home Smit on a sac-fly to center for his fourth RBI of the game.
The Demon Deacons plated an unearned run in the top of the ninth off Jameis Winston. Winston worked 1.1 innings as he gave up a hit and a walk while striking out one.
Florida State will take the next four days off for exams before returning to the diamond on Friday, May 3 for a three-game non-conference series against UCF. All three games will air on ESPN3. Fans can listen to the games on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally on 1270 AM (Friday) and 100.7 FM (Saturday & Sunday). 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.