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March 12, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla.- Once again the recipe for No. 5 Florida State on Tuesday night was pitching and defense as it improved to 16-0 on the year, with a 4-1 win over Florida. It was the Seminoles first win in Gainesville since 2007, when it got off to a school-best 23-0 start.
Luke Weaver (3-0) was in full control as he allowed just one unearned run on three hits and two walks in 6.1 innings, striking out five.
Sophomore shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo went 2 for 4 with two RBI, while Stephen McGee and Josh Delph each drove in a run.
"Obviously when you look at the game you start with the pitching," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "There's no question that was the difference in the ball game. Weaver had a great outing."
It was the third straight start for Weaver, who lowered his season earned run average to a measly 0.44 for the season. The only run came in the bottom of the fourth on an error by Weaver, after he dropped a toss from John Nogowski on his way to first base, allowing Harrison Bader to score from third.
The sophomore left the game after 102 pitches, with two runners on and one out in the seventh inning. Gage Smith picked him up as he induced a pair of groundouts to escape the jam.
After an up and down freshman season, Weaver said his start to 2013 has been a huge confidence boost. That's why when his velocity was down late in the game, he knew he just had to locate his pitches and let his defense work behind him.
"The changeup was there the whole game," Weaver said. "The slider was here and there. Towards the back of the game I couldn't really throw a strike. The velocity was down a little with the fastball so I just tried to spot it up as best I could."
McGee put FSU on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI-double to right center. FSU scored two more in the fourth inning on a two-run single to right by Alfonzo off of reliever Ryan Harris, who replaced UF (8-10) starter Danny young after 3.1 innings.
Alfonzo added a hit in the eighth inning, after making a nice defensive play to end the seventh inning for Smith. Martin said he's been impressed with how the sophomore infielder has performed the last 11 games in place of injured senior Justin Gonzalez.
"Gio had some good at-bats and certainly the two-run single was huge," Martin said. "I'm seeing a young man become very comfortable with himself out there. We're just very excited with the progress he's making, because there is a good chance that he will be our shortstop."
The Seminoles added another run in the sixth inning as Delph was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. FSU had a chance to be further extend the lead in the inning, with the bases loaded and just one out, but reliever Daniel Gibson entered the game and recorded two quick outs.
FSU also couldn't take advantage of a leadoff double by Seth Miller in the ninth inning either. FSU left 10 runners on base in the game.
"We had a chance to bust it open a couple times and you've got to credit the University of Florida, they did a great job of getting key outs," Martin said. "What was really exciting was the fact that we went right back and did our job of getting them out."
Bryant Holtmann took over in the eighth inning on the mound for FSU and had to leave the game with shoulder discomfort after recording two outs and allowing two hits.
Robby Coles took over and hit the first batter he faced to load the bases, but bounced back with an inning-ending ground ball. Coles worked a perfect ninth inning, including a strikeout for his second save of the year..
"That pitch got away from me," Coles said. "I probably didn't throw as many pitches as I should have warming up. But once that happened I was like 'Alright settle down. Take a deep breath and just get in there and get outs'"
Tuesday was FSU's first game away from Dick Howser Stadium this season. They'll head to College Park, Md. this weekend for a three-game series against the University of Maryland.
The win not only snapped a six-year drought for FSU in Gainesville, but it also snapped a three-game losing streak to the Gators, who won all three match-ups last season.
"I'm obviously very excited because it's been a long time, been tough down here," Martin said. "It was just a well-played ball game on both sides.
"We think that's just a little muscular problem," Martin said. "We'll give him a couple days off and hopefully he'll be ready to go this weekend at Maryland."
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