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March 17, 2012

Lineup changes spark FSU in 12-3 win over UVA

Behind a few tweaks in the batting order, No. 6 Florida State's offense broke out in a big way in a series opening 12-3 win over Virginia Saturday night at Dick Howser stadium.

Catcher Stephen McGee moved up to the five spot in the order, while freshman DH John Nogowski slid to seventh and leftfielder Jose Brizuela moved to eighth in the lineup.

The changes paid off for FSU (15-2, 4-0 ACC) as it scored 12 runs on 12 hits and seven walks. Hunter Scantling (3-0) earned the win behind four scoreless innings of relief.

James Ramsey led the way going 2 for 3 with a three-run homer, while Nogowoski, Brizulea, Devon Travis, and Sherman Johnson each drove in a pair of runs.

"That's the first time that I had changed the lineup all year," head coach Mike Martin said. "It was just something that we felt we needed to do and we had some guys have some very good at bats."

Virginia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a pair of two-out runs and then added another run in the top of the fourth.

In the bottom half of the inning FSU evened things up with an RBI ground out by Johnson and a two run single by Travis, who laced the ball off of UVA third baseman Stephen Bruno to score Seth Miller and Brizuela.

"Devon's hit was huge," Ramsey said. "Once we got it evened up with them we really knew that we had them where we wanted them at home."

Seminoles' starter Brandon Leibrandt was replaced by Scantling after facing one batter in the fifth. Leibrandt finished the game with four innings pitched, three earned runs on eight hits and walk with four strikeouts.

Scantling got himself out of jam on a wild 6-2-5-6 fielders choice double play. UVA had runners on second and third with just one out when he got Jared King to hit a ground ball to short. FSU tagged out Colin Harrington in a rundown at home and then fired to third base for the final out.

"Just coming in knowing I had to get a ground ball even though I gave up the first hit, you've got to stay poised and get your team back in the dugout," Scantling said. "Even though it was a crazy play it helped us out. We got the momentum."

FSU took the lead in bottom half of the inning thanks to a two-run single by Nogowoski.

Pitching with the lead Scantling was able to shut down the Cavaliers offense as he allowed just two hits and no walks in his four innings of work and tied his career-high with four strikeouts to earn his third victory of the season.

"No doubt Hunter was the difference in the ballgame," Martin said. "Coming in like he did and shutting them down while we had a chance-- to catch our breath so to speak because Virginia had gone 2-0- 0-1. It was just a very good lift for out baseball team."

Ramsey put the game out of reach in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run homer to left center to give FSU a 9-3 lead. It was the senior outfielder's fifth home run of the season.

FSU added three more in the 8th behind a two-run single by Brizulea, who finished the game 2 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored, and a sac fly by Johnson for his second RBI of the game.

Sophomore Brandon Johnson pitched a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout to end the game.

"It was a ball game that we showed good composure, good pitching, good defense, and got some timely hitting," Martin said of Saturday's win. "I was obviously very pleased to get a win, but we don't get to enjoy it very long. We're back out here in 15 hours trying to do it again."

FSU and UVA will return to action on Sunday at 2 p.m. for game two of the series. The 'Noles will start freshman Mike Compton (4-0, 1.54 ERA) while UVA will go with sophomore Artie Lewicki (0-1, 5.09 ERA).

Notable

  • Stephen McGee recorded a career-high four walks on Saturday. It is also the most walks for a Seminoles this season.

  • Justin Gonzalez finished the game 3 for 5 with three singles. It is the sixth time in his career he has recorded three hits in a single game.

  • FSU improved to 29-9 all time on St. Patrick's Day. The team wore green and white hats to celebrate the holiday and the bases had shamrocks painted on them.



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