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April 2, 2013
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The fifth-ranked Florida State Seminoles slugged their way past Florida Gulf Coast University Tuesday night, 12-9 at Dick Howser Stadium.
Stephen McGee's sixth-inning grand slam proved to be the difference, after FGCU had taken a 6-5 lead in the fifth. John Sansone also left the yard with his first-career homerun, a two-run shot in the third inning, as he reached base in all four plate appearances, going 2 for 2 with a homerun and a pair of walks.
The Eagles (18-7) made a late push with a run in the seventh and two in the eighth, but solid relief work from Gage Smith, who earned the win behind 2.1 innings pitched, Bryant Holtmann and Robby Coles (seventh save) prevented any comeback aspirations.
"It was just a well-fought ballgame," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "(FCGU's) a very good baseball team. You really saw an outstanding team. We had some very good at-bats and I'm just really pleased with that."
FSU (25-4) had jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third inning thanks to Sansone"s homer, a two-run double by DJ Stewart and an RBI-single by Jose Brizuela. FGCU came back with a five-run fifth inning to take a one-run lead.
Starter Billy Strode left after loading the bases with one out in the inning on two hits and a walk. Strode was charged with four earned runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out three.
He was replaced by Jameis Winston who faced four batters, but recorded just one out as he gave up two earned runs on two hits, one walk and a pair of wild pitches. Smith came in and stopped the bleeding with a strikeout to end the inning.
The redshirt junior improved to 4-0 on the year as he allowed just on unearned run on one hit and no walks in 2.1 innings.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Smith said. "Let them get themselves out. My slider worked well, I actually threw my change-up, which I don't do very often, that worked. I was just trying to let them get themselves out, which they did.'
Smith made quick work of FGCU in the top half of the sixth as the offense put together it's second five-run inning of the game.
The rally was started by Casey Smit, who was 2 for 3 with a double and three runs scored in his 10th start of the season, as he singled through the left side. Sansone followed with a walk, and both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Delph.
Marcus Davis loaded the bases as he was hit by a pitch, followed by an RBI-walk by Stewart to tie the game at six.
"(Stewart) had a great at-bat to set it up for Steve," Martin said. "Don't forget Marcus wore one. Before that Delph had a (bunt), (Sansone) had gotten on with a walk, so a lot of things had to happen in order for Steve to get his chance."
McGee made the most of his opportunity, as he laced 2-2 slider over the wall in left for his fourth homerun of the season, and first-career grand slam. McGee said he was looking fastball with two strikes, but once Harrison Cooney, who took the loss to fall to 1-3, hung the breaking ball he knew it was gone off the bat.
"I had a pretty good idea," McGee said. "I squared it up pretty good. I would have been upset if it didn't go out."
Smith gave way to Brandon Johnson in the eighth inning, but Johnson gave up two earned runs on three hits as he faced just four batters, before Holtmann retired the only two batters he faced to keep it an 11-9 game after eight and half innings.
While FGCU was mounting a comeback FSU put a run on the board in the seventh as Smit scored on a throwing error, and another run came across in eighth on an RBI single by Giovanny Alfonzo
Coles closed the game out as he worked around a leadoff single and a one-out hit batter.
"The bullpens been doing really well," McGee said. "They've been coming in and kind of holding the game down to where it should be... I love the way that they come in there and they control the game. They don't come in there and try to overdo too much or anything like that, they control the game and throw how they need to throw."
FSU and FGCU will square off again on Wednesay at 6 p.m. ET. Peter Miller (3-1, 3.77 ERA) will start for the 'Noles, while the Eagles have yet to name a starter.
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