April 14, 2013

Winston pulls off impressive doubleheader on Saturday

After throwing for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game, reaching base three times in a baseball game and three different uniform changes, Jameis Winston could finally relax a little in the dugout following his whirlwind Saturday.

Winston pulled off the ultimate doubleheader as he was the star of the football team's annual Garnet and Gold game earlier in the afternoon, only to follow up the nightcap by going 1 for 2 with a single, a walk and a hit by pitch as Florida State completed a three-game sweep of the Duke Blue Devils with an 8-3 win.

"It was real fun," Winston said. "It was tiring, but it was fun. It was exciting, it helped me get through the day just being able to play two sports that I love."

It has been nearly 26 years since the Florida State fan base witnessed something quite like the show Winston put on Saturday.

Not since Deion Sanders ran a leg in the 4X100 relay at the Metro Conference Championships and homered later that night against a 6-3 win over Cincinnati in a Metro Conference Tournament game in 1987 has the Seminole fan base been as enamored by a dual-sport athlete in a single day.

Winston was the star of the show early on Saturday afternoon as he completed 12 of 15 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the annual Garnet and Gold Game. He was the lone signal caller to score on the first-team defense.

FSU baseball head coach Mike Martin said he got word fairly quickly in the dugout that Winston's first pass in the scrimmage was a 58-yard touchdown pass.

Because football was one of the two sports that Winston played in the same day, Martin said he wasn't sure he'd ever seen anything like what the Alabama native did on Saturday.

"It's hard to believe a guy can go over there and do what he did and then come over here and DH," FSU baseball head coach Mike Martin said. "I don't remember Deion ever doing anything like that."

Football head coach Jimbo Fisher said that Winston is the type of player who responds to tough situations. Fisher, who is notoriously hard on his quarterbacks said that the harder he pushes, the more the former five-star prospect thrives.

"He's a guy who the harder you press him, the harder he plays," Fisher said. "The harder you coach him, he wants it. He'll walk by and ask you 'What you can't get on me enough?' He loves to be challenged."

After speaking briefly with the media after the spring game, Winston rushed across the parking lot to Dick Howser Stadium to join his 'other' team.

As he feverishly got dressed to join his team in the dugout (FSU was in the midst of the first of Saturday's doubleheader against Duke), FSU Director of Baseball Operations Chip Baker had to convince Winston that it really would be OK if he took a moment to eat something before leaving the clubhouse.

The 6-foot-4, 206-pound freshman woofed down some chicken and rice and then joined his teammates by the bottom of the fifth inning as they took the first game 8-5.

"I was ready to go," Winston said. "I had it in my mind that 'OK today's going to be a long day so I've got to get my job done.'"

It was the second time in as many weekends that Winston had participated in a football scrimmage and then played in a baseball game that night. Last weekend Winston participated in an early-morning football scrimmage in Tallahassee, he then jumped on a plane to Miami and threw three perfect innings in a loss to the Hurricanes.

Winstons lit up the radar gun in the stadium that night as the scoreboard flashed 97 miles per hour multiple times. Scouts have said that the stadium's gun is slightly off, but some clocked him between 93 and 94 MPH that night.

"The things that he does between going to spring practice and then coming over here and being the teammate that he is in the dugout, the teammate that he is on the field, it's amazing," said shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo. "I have the most respect for him. He's a leader whether he's a freshman or not. He brings the quarterback over here."

Naturally Winston plays more than one role for the baseball team. He's a big piece of the seventh-ranked Seminoles (30-6) bullpen with a 1-0 record and a 2.45 ERA in 11 appearances.

The switch-hitting outfielder has also gotten hot at the plate. After a 3 for 20 start, Winston's batting average has climbed to .306 after Saturday and he has a team-high .490 on-base percentage.

"I've just been trying to compete," Winston said. "(Mike Martin Jr.)'s just been making sure that everything was right with football and we get our work done over here. So we've just been working."

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