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March 19, 2012

FSU completes sweep of UVA with another late rally

For the second night in a row, No. 4 Florida State overcame an eighth inning deficit with a three-run bottom half of the inning, defeating Virginia 7-5 to complete the three-game sweep.

After a sacrifice fly by Jose Brizuela tied the game at five, Seth Miller came to the plate with runners at second and third.

Miller singled through the right side of the infield to score the winning runs on a first-pitch fastball from Cavaliers' closer Justin Thompson. It was the only pitch Miller saw all night as he started the game on the bench in favor of Josh Delph.

"I figured they'd probably pump me a fastball first pitch," Miller said. "I was lucky I was able to do something with it. I had a pretty big hole there to the right side and I just made the most out of it."

Monday's comeback came just one day after FSU scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to defeat Virginia 4-3 at Dick Howser Stadium.

Jayce Boyd, Sunday's hero, started Monday's rally with a single up the middle trailing 5-4. Stephen McGee followed with a five-pitch walk.

With two runners on, Justin Gonzalez squared around to lay down a sacrifice bunt and was hit by a pitch in the neck from Austin Young. After lying on the ground motionless for a few moments Gonzalez got up and walked to first.

"One of the scariest moments of my coaching career when I went out there and Gonzo was on the ground," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "That scared me. It scared the life out of me, thank God he's Ok. He was laying there motionless and if he wasn't out then I don't know where he was."

Gonzalez not only stayed in the game, but he stole second base to put two runners in scoring position.

After a John Nogowski strikeout, Miller was able to deliver the pair of the winning RBI as Robert Benincasa worked another perfect ninth inning to pick up his seventh save of the year and second in as many games.

"It was big win for our baseball team," Martin said. "Especially the way we did it. You're behind a couple of runs there in the eighth inning, and just pecked away."

FSU starting pitcher Peter Miller was chased from the game in the top of the third after UVA recorded a pair of singles to start the inning, followed by a catcher's interference and a bases loaded walk.

He was replaced by Kyle Bird who walked in another run, charged to Miller, to start his outing. The Cavaliers then scored another run on an Justin Gonzalez error. The inning finally ended after Mitchell Shifflet drove in a run on a fielder's choice, but James Ramsey threw out Jared King at the plate. UVA scored four runs on three hits and two errors in the inning for a 5-2 lead.

Peter Miller finished the game with 2.1 innings pitched, gave up five runs, three earned, on five hits, and two walks to go with two strikeouts.

Following Miller, the FSU bullpen pitched 6.2 scoreless innings of baseball, including 2.2 from Bird and two innings from Mack Waugh. Redshirt sophomore Gage Smith (1-0) earned his first career win despite throwing just one pitch, which resulted in a pop up.

"Give a lot credit to our relievers," Gonzalez said. "For the past three games they've kept us in the game every single time. Every inning, every pitch."

FSU began to chip away at the Cavaliers' lead with an RBI groundout from Jose Brizulea in the fourth inning and an RBI double from Devon Travis in the fifth inning, before scoring three in the eighth for the win.

The win improved FSU to 17-2 overall and 6-0 in the ACC, as it remains the lone unbeaten team in conference play this season. UVA fell to 11-8-1 overall and 2-4 in the ACC.

"We're excited," Martin said. "That's a great accomplishment early in the year to beat a team like Virginia. We're just proud that we were able to pull it off."

The Seminoles will return to action on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. ET as they host Stetson (15-4) for a two-game series. Junior Scott Sitz (1-1, 3.65 ERA) will get his second start of the year. The Hatters will go with either Josh Powers (1-0, 2.19 ERA) or Austin Perez (0-2, 6.08 ERA).



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