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March 1, 2011Box Score: FSU 5, Florida 3
TAMPA, Fla. - A sharp rise in the level of competition didn't stop Florida State from winning. It just made the score much closer and the win much sweeter.
Florida State knocked off No. 1 and previously undefeated Florida 5-3 in front of 8,348 fans on Tuesday night at Steinbrenner Field, the New York Yankees' spring training home, in the first of four meetings this season with its rival.
Florida (7-1) was the first major test for the Seminoles (8-0), who had outscored three small Division-I programs (VMI, Jacksonville and Hofstra) 77-11 in their first seven games. The Gators had a pair of three-game sweeps over South Florida and ACC foe Boston College.
The Seminoles, which rank between No. 5 and No. 11 in the four major polls, have now beaten Florida in five of the last six meetings after winning four of five last year, including an elimination game in the 2010 College World Series.
The 'Noles head to Georgia next for a three-game series that begins on Friday.
"This shows you where we are really at," said FSU's Mike McGee, who struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth to seal the outcome. "Florida is a great team and we played really well tonight. This was the first time we faced a team of this quality and to win like this in this kind of atmosphere was a lot of fun."
FSU scored all five of its runs in the top of the third to grab a 5-0 lead. With the bases loaded, right fielder James Ramsey started the scoring by nailing a liner off the leg of Florida pitcher Alex Panteliodis. An errant throw to first allowed two runs to score.
On the next pitch, first baseman Jayce Boyd blasted a shot off the left field wall - if not for a strong breeze blowing towards home plate it would have easily been a home run - for a two-run triple.
Designated hitter Stuart Tapley slapped a single up the middle to bring home Boyd for the fifth run.
Mike Martin, who is in his 32nd year as FSU's head coach, called Boyd's triple one of the hardest hit balls he's ever seen at the college level.
"Jayce turned the wind around - literally," Martin said. "Shockingly, it didn't get out ? We got five runs that inning and got shutout for the other eight. I wouldn't have figured that's how it would have gone but that's the way it is."
FSU got another solid outing from starter Scott Sitz (2-0), who got the win by scattering four hits and allowing one run over five innings. Sitz was held out of the rotation last weekend, specifically so he could start against the Gators.
"Sitz had a good outing. He had fairly good command of both sides of the plate," Martin said. "His slider was just missing, but he did a good job. I was very, very impressed."
FSU used three other pitchers, including No. 1 starter Sean Gilmartin, who gave up two runs on back-to-back singles which cut FSU's lead to 5-3 in the sixth. Daniel Bennett pitched a scoreless seventh and eight.
That set the stage for McGee, who had been taken out of the closer role earlier this season due to shoulder soreness. McGee struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches and then struck out the next two for a thrilling finish.
"I can't tell you how awesome that feels," McGee said. "I'm so glad I got to pitch in this environment and I really love playing here. I can't describe it."
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