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May 17, 2013
Weaver tosses gem to set up a Saturday showdown
When Marcus Davis singled home two runs in the home half of the first inning, a raucous crowd of 5,086 at Dick Howser Stadium sensed a prolific offensive night. But what appeared to be just the beginning of a big inning ended up as the Seminoles' lone scoring play.
The good news for the home fans? The two runs were all that ace Luke Weaver needed.
Behind a pitching gem and those two runs, eighth-ranked Florida State (43-11, 19-10 ACC) kept its ACC Atlantic hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over No. 19 Clemson (39-16, 18-11).
"It was just a heck of a baseball game," said head coach Mike Martin. "You've really got to credit Luke Weaver. It was a well-pitched game and we had a chance twice to get him a couple of more runs and we couldn't push them across... I thought we were more aggressive tonight and (am) very, very pleased with the guys."
Weaver (6-2) pitched a career-high 7-1/3 innings, battling with what he described as less than his best command, and allowed seven hits and just one run while striking out eight Tigers. The sophomore worked around two second-and-third jams as well as several leadoff hits, eventually putting his team in position to nail down a No. 2 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament.
"It was more of a grind out game," Weaver said. "Everything wasn't just spot on or flawless. Everything (I) had to work for really hard and just grind out all the at-bats. And they were grinding as well so I tried to win each battle."
"He fought really hard tonight," said catcher Stephen McGee. "He had a couple of things that were getting away from him here and there... but he adjusted really well. He reacted like a real veteran out there."
McGee's defensive efforts made a key difference in the outcome as well. The junior threw out two Tigers attempting to steal second base, the second of which came in a tense eighth inning. That McGee came up big in key moments was not a surprise to his head coach.
"Stephen is just, you might say, the backbone," Martin said. "He's the guy that is just taking things and he's all hands in some respects from the offensive standpoint, from the defensive standpoint. He's really been a great leader for us."
Clemson starter Matthew Crownover (7-2) left the game with tightness in his throwing arm after just 76 pitches. His exit in the fourth capped off a gutty, tight rope-walking effort much like his counterpart. Other than a hit batsman, reliever Clate Schmidt was perfect in his 3-2/3 innings of relief.
Clemson scored its run in the sixth inning on an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Shane Kennedy. Although Kennedy produced in that at-bat and reached base in the ninth inning, it was his baserunning error that ended the game. With Tyler Krieger at the plate and one out, Kennedy took off for second base on a routine liner to Seminole second baseman John Sansone. After securing the ball, Sansone tossed over to first base to complete a game-ending 4-3 double play.
Florida State again controls its own destiny for the ACC Atlantic Division crown, and it will send red-hot sophomore Brandon Leibrandt (8-4, 3.41 ERA) to the hill opposite lefty Zack Erwin (5-0, 2.88). First pitch is set for 3 PM and the game will be carried on ESPNU.
"I think we like to make it difficult on ourselves a little bit," said Davis. "But if you were to tell us all that we've got one game left in the season and it's to clinch the Atlantic Division title and down the line to host a Super (Regional)... we'd all be excited about it, especially being at home."
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