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February 16, 2013
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Florida State overcame a late deficit to improve to 2-0 on the year on Saturday afternoon against Rhode Island (0-2).
Trailing by one in the bottom of the seventh, FSU scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning and added two more in the eighth to come away with a 6-2 win in front of 5,229 fans at Dick Howser Stadium.
"If you're looking at this baseball game you have to be pleased with the way we kept our poise and just battled," Head coach Mike Martin said. "It was one of those games, you don't ever put any excuses, for our guys it was just a little bit chilly but it didn't matter. We fought. We did what we needed to do to win the baseball game and I'm very proud of our young men."
Both teams squandered plenty of scoring chances early in the game before finally breaking through in the seventh inning. FSU left 14 runners stranded in the game, while the Rams stranded 12.
Before the seventh the lone run of the game came on a bases loaded walk by D.J. Stewart to score Stephen McGee.
Rhode Island took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning. With runners on first and second third baseman Jose Brizuela fielded a ground ball, but rather than going to first for the out he tried to get the runner at second. His throw was off the mark and all runners were safe as Jeff Roy came around to score from second when the throw got away. URI added another run on a sacrifice fly before the end of the inning.
Brizuela made up for the error in the bottom half of the inning, as he was hit by a pitch with bases loaded to tie the game at two.
"A big, big play right there," Martin said. "It was one of those that got away from the pitcher, it was well into the batter's box and so instead of running from it he wears it. That took a lot nerve. That's the mark of a winner."
Freshman second baseman John Sansone picked up an RBI five pitches later on a bases loaded walk for a lead the Seminoles wouldn't relinquish. FSU added one more in the inning when Jameis Winston came around to score on a wild pitch.
The Seminoles extended the lead further in the eighth on a solo homerun by Justin Gonzlaez, and a sacrifice fly by John Nogwoski.
The homer was the first hit of the day for Gonzalez, who had struck out twice and grounded into a double play earlier in game. It was just his second hit of the year after going 1 for 4 with a triple on opening day. Still the senior shortstop said his homerun swing wasn't a release of frustration.
"Absolutely not. It's baseball," Gonzalez said." I'd love to get off to a hot start, but it's going to come, I've just got to be patient and not try to do too much."
FSU starter Scott Sitz lasted just four innings as he gave up no runs, four hits and walk on 78 pitches. He struck out four. Kyle Bird worked a scoreless fifth inning, while Gage Smith was charged with two earned runs on two hits and a walk in his lone inning of work.
It was junior reliever Brandon Johnson who earned the win with three scoreless innings. Johnson, the younger brother of former FSU third baseman Sherman Johnson, allowed just one hit and walk in his career-high three innings.
Johnson struck out just one batter, and worked around a ninth inning error by Brizuela to pick up just the second win of his career.
"It was just a very impressive outing for him," Martin said. "A lot of poise, got a good moving fastball and when you have a team that's patient like (URI), he gave us a big lift."
FSU and URI will conclude their three-game series on Sunday at noon. Junior RHP Peter Miller will get the start for FSU. The Rams will counter with RHP Liam O'Sullivan.
"I've been struggling from the beginning, but I saw a hanging slider so I let it rip," Winston said. "I was thinking inside the park home run because I knew he wasn't going to get it."
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