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February 20, 2013
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No. 9 Florida State held on for a 9-7 victory over the Jacksonville Dolphins on Wednesday afternoon at Dick Howser in front of 3,681 fans.
The Seminoles (4-0) were in control early behind a dominating performance from sophomore starter Luke Weaver, who allowed just one hit, no walks and struck out a career-high nine batters in six innings of work.
Justin Gonzalez and Marcus Davis each hit their second homeruns of the season. JU (1-3) made things interesting with a nine-run top of the ninth, before Robby Coles closed them out for his first-career save.
"It felt good every inning just going out there pounding the strike zone, not trying to do too much," Weaver said. "Let them try to do it, and it just worked out to where they weren't swinging too much and it worked out good."
Weaver (1-0) was in full command as the Dolphins could never get going against the Deland, Fla. native. Weaver struck out the side in the first inning and threw 60 of his 83 pitches for strikes. He allowed just one hit and another runner to reach on an error, neither base runner reached second base.
He made his first career start against JU last year, but lasted just 1.1 innings as he gave up six runs on three hits.
FSU head coach Mike Martin said the big difference for Weaver this season will be the improvement he's made with his slider.
"He went out there and just totally dominated with his fastball and the slider," Martin said. "(Pitching coach) Mike Bell has done a great job in coming up with that slider for him, he's always had a decent change, he's looking for it to get better I'm sure. But this is one of those games that you hope that Luke can grow from, because he certainly pitched a beautiful baseball game."
Gonzalez's solo homerun made it 2-0 in the third inning. JU starter Zach Gordon (1-1) allowed just two earned runs on three hits and two walks in his three innings of work, before the bullpen let things get away as he took the loss.
FSU posted seven runs in the fourth inning, all with two outs. Jameis Winston started the inning off with walk, followed by a John Sansone walk. The pair of freshmen came around to score on a double off the wall in right by Josh Delph. Delph got caught in a pickle on the play, but took third and came around to score on a throwing error by Dolphin shortstop Ethan Loosen.
Stephen Mcgee then added a pair of RBIs on a blooper to right that scored Gonzalez, who reached on a walk, and D.J. Stewart, who doubled to right. McGee came home on a two-run blast by Davis to right field.
"It's good for us as a team to know we're capable of stuff like that," said Davis. "Scoring that many runs in an inning alone is quite a feat, but to do it with two outs is even better."
With a 9-0 lead Martin emptied his bench, playing every available position player on his roster. Martin also got his first look at a handful of young relievers.
After Weaver left the game, Kyle Bird worked a scoreless inning, allowing just one walk. He was followed by Tallahassee Community College transfer Hayden Jordan, who allowed a pair of earned runs on four hits in the eight inning.
Things got a little squirrely in the ninth inning for the Seminoles as freshman Dylan Silva struggled to find the strike zone and his defense committed two errors behind him. Sylva was charged with five runs, all unearned, as he walked three runners and two more reached on errors.
With the lead down to 9-5, FSU turned to Coles to shut the door. Coles, a Chipola Junior College transfer, walked the first batter he faced, but settled in to strike out the next hitter he faced.
Coles then gave up a two-run single (both unearned runs were charged to Silva) to JU DH Braddock Rowe, who finished the game 2 for 5 with two RBI. The hit put runners on the corners and the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs. The righty settled in and recorded his second strikeout to earn his first career save.
"The game did not get away from us," Martin said. "They did a good job of battling and I'm proud of our young men for doing their job and keeping their poise and getting it done when it counted."
The Seminoles return to action on Friday as they began a three-game series in Tallahassee with South Florida.
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