April 21, 2012

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CBI Live
Timely FSU Hitting and Defensive Miscues Cost Miami

By Andrew Krause



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Freshman John Holland helped top-ranked Florida State jump out to an early lead and clinch an ACC series victory with a 6-1 decision over the No. 15 University of Miami in Game Two of the weekend series.


Holland’s (3 for 4, 2B) first hit of the afternoon, a single in the bottom of the second, drove in two and put the Seminoles (32-7, 18-2) up 2-0.  Holland and Justin Gonzalez would score later in the inning on a pair of sacrifice flies from Seth Miller and Sherman Johnson. 


Florida State head coach Mike Martin was particularly happy with Holland’s recent performance at the plate, as the freshman also came off of the bench last night to deliver a pinch-hit double.


“John has really worked hard,” Martin said. “He’s done a great job…he’s seeing the ball well and I’m really proud of what he’s doing at the plate.  I think he’s sending a message to anyone that will pay attention that he wants to be a contributor.”


Gonzalez (0-2, 2 BB, R), fresh off of a two-home run game Friday night, and his FSU teammates were able to knock out Miami starter Eric Whaley after four innings and 106 pitches.   Whaley (4 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 3 K) consistently failed to put away FSU hitters with two strikes and struggled with his command, issuing six walks.  However, the Hurricanes (12-8, 26-13) defense did him no favors, as they committed four errors.  The first error of the afternoon, by first baseman Esteban Tregallo, was particularly costly as it ruined a potential double play opportunity and set the stage for Holland’s two-RBI single. 


Miami head coach Jim Morris was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort today.  “We practice every day around the mistakes we're making," Morris said. “The bottom line is that guys have to make the plays in the clutch.”


“Taking advantage of other teams’ errors is one of the best ways to put a team down,” Holland said of the Miami miscues.  “It really seemed to snowball from there.”


On the other hand, Florida State’s defense was able to help out freshman starting pitcher Mike Compton, turning double plays to kill Miami rallies in the second and third innings.  “It was a mix of sliders and some fastballs and just let the guy hit the ball,” Compton said of his approach. “I was able to get some double-play balls out of it.”  Compton (5 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K), who moved to 7-0 with today’s win, scattered five hits before being replaced by fellow freshman Luke Weaver.


Weaver (3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the sixth after Compton allowed back-to-back hits and Stephen Perez reached first on a fielder’s choice.  After Chantz Mack drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, Weaver struck out Rony Rodriguez and got Brad Fieger to ground out to second base.


“I wanted to come in and pound the strike zone,” reflected Weaver. “I fell behind a little bit, and I knew I needed to come back and attack so I did that and it came out in my favor.  I got a couple strikeouts, some big popups, some groundballs and I knew my defense was going to get the outs so it worked out.”


Miami’s Chris Diaz also pitched admirably, after replacing Whaley in the fifth inning.  Diaz (3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) kept the Hurricanes within striking distance before inclement weather suspended play with FSU leading 4-1 with one out in the bottom of the eighth.


After a one hour and thirty-seven minute rain delay Florida State added two more runs to take a 6-1 lead, as John Nogowski (1 for 2) drove in two with a single.  FSU closer Robert Benicasa came on in the ninth inning in a non-save situation and retired the side in order to secure the victory.


Catcher Garrett Kennedy and center fielder Dale Carey both had two hits for the Hurricanes.


“It was a good win. I’m very proud of our young men,” reflected Martin. “Miami will be back tomorrow with a vengeance for sure.  We can’t sit and be happy with two wins.  When you are in this position you want to go out and play well and that’s what we’re striving to do.”


Miami will try to salvage a victory when Game Three of the series picks up tomorrow at 12:30 PM (CSS/Comcast).



(photo courtesy of FSU Media Relations Office)