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March 13, 2012
GAINESVILLE-- Florida State head coach Mike Martin said it wasn't his team's night after falling 9-2 on the road to No. 1 Florida.
In the first of three meetings between the archrivals this season, the sixth-ranked Seminoles (14-2) had just five hits and walked seven batters in front of a McKethan Stadium record crowd of 6,005 on Tuesday night.
FSU pitcher Scott Sitz (1-1) took the loss after giving up a three-run homer to Preston Tucker in the bottom of the third.
"We got whipped. Plain and simple," Martin said. "It was a very good job on Florida's part. We didn't do anything wrong, we just got beat. It was one of those situations they deserved to win and took advantage of every mistake we made."
FSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third when Devon Travis laid down what would have been a sacrifice bunt towards third base. UF third baseman Josh Tobias' throw was off the mark and Travis collided with Taylor Gushue at first on the E-5 to score two runs.
The Gators (16-1) answered right back in the bottom half of the inning as FSU starter Luke Weaver struggled with his command. The freshman walked the first two batters in the inning and finished the game with two innings pitched, two earned runs allowed on one hit and three walks.
Sitz came in to relive Weaver and got Daniel Pigott to strike out looking, but then gave up a long home run to right field by Tucker. Tucker finished the game 2 for 4 with a homer, a triple, and three RBI.
UF extended the lead to 4-2 in the fourth, and added another run on a solo home run by Nolan Fontanta in the sixth.
The Gators scored a run in the seventh after Tucker started the inning with a triple and scored three more runs in the eighth when FSU reliever Brian Busch surrendered a pair of walks. FSU pitchers combined to walk seven batters and hit another.
"We kind of put them on," Martin said. "We walked seven and it's hard to win when you walk seven. That's like have 20 turnovers (in basketball) and expecting to win."
Conversely, the Gators' bullpen didn't allow a single walk as it pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out two.
A single by Sherman Johnson in the eighth was the first Seminoles' hit since the third inning, making him the lone Seminole to reach base in all 16 games this season.
"It seems like they lived around the strike zone and us as hitters we have to make that adjustment to be ready to go," Johnson said of the Gators' bullpen. "Hopefully we can do a better job of that next time we play them."
FSU had a chance to cut down the 6-2 lead in the top of eighth after Johnson's single. James Ramsey followed with a single of his own, prompting UF to bring in closer Austin Maddox who got Jayce Boyd to line out to second. Maddox picked up his sixth save of the year.
The Seminoles return to action on Saturday against the Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC home opener on Saturday afternoon at 8 p.m. ET.
"Those guys over there, they're good," Johnson said of UF. "They're number one for a reason and they proved that tonight. We've just got to get ready for Virginia coming in on Saturday."
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