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February 21, 2012

Patient approach pays off for FSU in 16-9 win over JU

Florida State overcame another early deficit to top Jacksonville University 16-9 on Tuesday night.

The early hole began with true freshman pitcher Luke Weaver, who lasted just 1.1 innings, giving up six earned runs and four walks and three hits, two of which were home runs.

The Dolphins (0-4) jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the top of the second inning after a grand slam by Taylor Ratliff. Making his first career start, Weaver had already given up a first-inning home run to Kevin Lehane and was chased from the game after just four outs on 48 pitches.

"When Luke struggled he didn't back off, he just didn't use good judgement," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "He just threw a couple instead of pitching and that's why the second home run was hit. He wasn't Luke Weaver there and he'll learn from it and I'm excited to see how he pitches next."

The Seminoles offense took a patient approach to chipping away at the Dolphins' lead as they scored 16 runs on 14 hits and 13 walks. Junior first baseman Jayce Boyd was 4 for 5 with a double, a walk and tied his career-high with five RBI.

"It was a good win. It really was," Martin said. "It was a game in which certainly you could see the experienced players take charge every opportunity that was provided to them. I was very very pleased with our at bats."

FSU took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth as they scored five runs on two hits, two walks and a hit by pitch, making it 8-6.

Reliever Mack Waugh, who replaced Weaver in the second inning, didn't give up a run until the fifth. He threw 72 pitches just two days after making an appearance against Hofstra on Sunday. Waugh was replaced by Brian Busch who got out of the inning with a strikeout.

"A solid, solid outing for Mack Waugh," Martin said. "(The win) was certainly deserving, a tough call, but very deserving because Mack Waugh came in and was very impressive."

Between Waugh, Brian Busch, Robert Benincasa, Gage Smith and Scott Sitz, the FSU bullpen gave up two earned runs in 7.2 innings of work and struck out 15 batters.

"I honestly think we're going to have one of the best bullpens in the country," Benincasa said. "Between me, Hunter (Scantling), Mack (Waugh), (Brian) Busch, Scott (Sitz), I think we have the arms to carry us a long way. If the starters can get us to the fifth inning, even (Tuesday) wasn't that case, but if they can get us to the fifth inning I think it's going to be pretty tough to beat us."

The other thing that will make FSU tough to beat is the veteran lineup. Despite being down early, something that has happened in each of the Seminoles' four games this year, there was never any panic.

With a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the sixth, FSU pulled away for good scoring six runs as Nogowoski and Boyd each drove in a pair of runs.

"It's a long ball game," Boyd said. "We were down 6-2 in the second inning and to know that we have a nine-inning game to play, it takes a lot of veterans on the team to get that across to other players.

"You really don't have to. You just chip away and look (at the scoreboard) one (run), one (run), and then all the sudden we put up a five spot and that's pretty big for the team."

FSU will return to action this weekend as they host Florida International for a three-game series starting on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

Notable

  • Jayce Boyd is now currently working on a 10-game hitting steak that began last season. His career high is 15 games. He also tied a career-high with 5 RBI on Tuesday night.

  • Freshman catcher Mario Amaral earned his first career hit and RBI with an RBI single in the eighth inning.

  • FSU and JU combined to use 14 different pitchers, commit four errors each on Tuesday as the marathon game lasted three hours and 48 minutes.



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