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February 26, 2012
The ball was literally bouncing Florida State's way on Sunday in its series finale with Florida International.
The No. 8 Seminoles (6-1) came away with a 2-1 victory over the Panthers at Dick Howser Stadium to win the series, thanks to five shutout innings from starter Peter Miller and two key defensive plays late in the game.
The biggest break of the game for FSU came in the eighth inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, FIU left fielder Jabari Henry hit a rocket right at Sherman Johnson. The ball kicked off of Johnson's forearm and went right to Devon Travis at second base for the force out to end the inning and preserve the lead.
"I've never seen a ball ricochet romance like that thing did off of Sherman's arm to the second baseman who had to be where he was," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "In case you were wondering that was not planned. We were very fortunate right there and there's no question that was big play in the game."
The Seminoles also came up with a stellar defensive play in the seventh inning when right fielder Seth Miller fielded a one-hopper and fired home to nail the Panther's potential game-tying run, ending the inning.
The ball skipped in front of catcher Stephen McGee, who made a nice play to corral it while blocking the plate and applying the tag to David Vazquez who had slid around McGee and the plate. Making the play more impressive was the fact the McGee was dealing with slippery turf; light rain was falling throughout the majority of the game, making the area around the plate slick.
"The big play of course was Stephen McGee coming up with a very tough throw (from Miller)," Martin said, "It was a great catch by him and did a super job of tagging the guy out. Just to catch that ball with the conditions being what they are."
FSU took the lead in the fourth inning on a solo home run by James Ramsey (3), his second in as many games.
"It was a fastball down," Said Ramsey, who finished the game 2 for 3 with walk. "(The count was) 2-0, just kind of realizing that if they're going to throw strikes I'm going to be able to take advantage of it. If not I was going to take first base again."
The Seminoles scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh as Seth Miller dropped a bunt down towards the left side of the infield with McGee at second.
FIU shortstop Julius Gaines' throw sailed over first base and allowed McGee to score from second to put FSU ahead 2-0.
The Panthers were held scoreless through the first seven innings, including five against FSU starter Peter Miller. The sophomore right-hander bounced back from his first career start last weekend, which lasted just 1.2 innings, to earn his first career victory.
Peter Miller allowed just one hit but did walk five, he also struck out four batters and threw 84 pitches.
"I could hit early with the fastball early unlike the last outing so it helped to get ahead in the count with the fastball and then put them away with the breaking pitches," he said of his outing.
He was relived by Brain Busch who worked two scoreless innings before handing the ball to Mack Waugh in the eighth. Waugh gave up one earned run on three hits before being relieved by Hunter Scantling who got out of the jam with the miracle ricochet.
Robert Benincasa earned his second save in as many nights with a scoreless final frame, allowing one hit and striking out two.
After allowing at least six runs in four of its first five games of the season, FSU allowed just one run in each of the final two games against FIU to take the series.
"It's good that we played a team of the this caliber," Martin said. "We're playing Maine next week and Maine beat Clemson at Clemson (on Friday. The Tigers took the next two games to win the series). I'll tell you right now it certainly did our two starters a lot of good."
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