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Around the Bases
Florida State Edges
Miami in 10 to Sweep Series
By Andrew Krause
Fla. – With one out and runners on
first and second in the bottom of the 10th, Sherman Johnson
delivered a walk-off RBI single to help Florida State complete a
weekend sweep over ACC rival Miami with an 8-7 victory.
“That was a typical Florida State-Miami baseball
game,” head coach Mike Martin (pictured) said after the contest
had concluded. “Miami did such a great job of coming back from
down four runs.”
The Seminoles (19-2, 33-7) jumped out to an early
lead over the Hurricanes (12-9, 26-14) for the third consecutive
game. The first three FSU batters reached base, as Johnson (2
for 6, R, RBI) and Devon Travis singled and James Ramsey
walked. Stephen McGee was hit by a wayward Steven Ewing
breaking ball, Justin Gonzalez delivered a bunt single, and John
Holland drove in two with a double to cap off a four-run first
Gonzalez, who had been having a stellar series,
had to be removed from the game after the first inning was
completed as he was injured running to first on his bunt single.
However, even without standout catcher Peter
O’Brien, the Miami bats responded and the Hurricanes exploded
for seven runs in the top of the fourth. Stephen Perez led off
the inning with a bunt single, Chantz Mack walked, Ronny
Rodriguez delivered an RBI single, and Dale Carey followed with
an RBI single of his own to knock out FSU starting pitcher Scott
Sitz (3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K). Sitz’s replacement, Hunter
Scantling, walked Brad Fieger and gave up a grand slam to second
baseman Michael Broad. Broad’s grand slam gave Miami a 6-4
advantage, their first lead of the entire series. A Tyler
Palmer (1 for 5) double later in the inning gave the Hurricanes
a 7-4 lead.
Miami starter Steven Ewing settled down after his
rough first inning and allowed only one total base runner in the
second, third, fourth, and fifth innings.
However, FSU eventually caught up to Ewing (6.1
IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) and the Seminoles were able to scratch
out a couple of runs and cut into the three-run deficit in the
bottom of the sixth when Holland (2 for 5, 3 RBI) hit his second
RBI double of the game and pinch-hitter John Nogowski followed
with an RBI single.
Ewing returned to pitch in the seventh, but was
pulled after Jayce Boyd delivered a game-tying RBI double.
While Florida State was chipping into the Miami
lead, sophomore reliever Gage Smith was able to quell the
Hurricane offense. Smith worked a career-high 4.1 innings and
allowed two hits while striking out four.
“That’s probably the best that I’ve thrown” Smith
said. “Usually, I don’t go that long but…I just really wanted to
come in and get groundballs because I know we have one of the
best infield defenses in the country.”
“He was the key to the ball game,” Martin added.
“Gage Smith came in and settled everything down for us and gave
us a chance.”
Miami’s A.J. Salcines also kept the Florida State
offense at bay after replacing Ewing in the seventh. Salcines
worked 2.2 innings and allowed only one hit. In the bottom of
the ninth Salcines worked his way out of trouble, striking out
Florida State’s Jose Brizuela with two outs and runners on first
FSU closer Robert Benicasa
worked the ninth and 10nth innings and also had to wiggle his
way out of trouble, as he allowed two hits in the 10th.
“We knew we were on a time limit so we went and
got Benicasa before usual and he really pitched beautifully,”
In the bottom of the 10th, with the
conference-imposed curfew deadline close approaching, Florida
State was able find a way to secure a series sweep. Freshman
infielder Giovany Alfonzo, Justin Gonzalez’s replacement at
shortstop, led off the inning with his first career hit and
stole second base.
“He played shortstop very well for us today,”
Martin said of Alfonzo. “I’m so happy for him.”
After Holland struck out looking and Seth Miller
was hit on a 3-2 pitch, Johnson singled through the right side
on a 2-1 pitch from Miami’s E.J. Encinosa (2-3, 0.1 IP, 2 H 1
ER, 1 K) to bring Alfonzo around for the winning run.
Carey (3 for 4, 2 2B, RBI, R), Broad (2 for 5, 4
RBI, R) and Rodriguez (2 for 5, RBI, R) led the way for a
Hurricane offense that pounded out 11 hits.
“That’s awesome for Sherman” Boyd said. “He’s a
guy that has played the ‘Canes a couple of times and to come
through like that has got to feel so good.”
(photo by Jimmy Jones)