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March 21, 2012

Weaver rebounds for first career win

Less thinking, more pitching.

After three struggling starts to open his college career, that was the message from the FSU coaching staff to starting pitcher Luke Weaver.

A dose of simplicity helped Weaver put together the best performance of the year, tossing seven innings of shutout baseball as the Seminoles topped Stetson 9-1 at Dick Howser Stadium on Wednesday.

The win completes a perfect five-game homestand for FSU; the Seminoles took three from Virginia and two from Stetson in the past five days.

Weaver (1-0) allowed just four hits, walked one and allowed one unearned run in 86 pitches to earn his first career win.

"The reasons I hadn't been doing so well (entering Wednesday) was I was trying to be too perfect," said Weaver, a freshman right-hander from DeLand, Fla., where Stetson is located. "(Wednesday) I pounded the strike zone, pretty much every pitch I tried and I let them put it play, try to get themselves out. And it worked well. That's the biggest thing I've been trying to work on, not try and be too pretty out there."

Weaver, who worked his way out of the weekend rotation quickly with the trio of rough starts this season, entered Wednesday with a 17.09 ERA in three starts, allowing 19 baserunners and 12 earned runs in a combined 6.1 innings. He surpassed his season inning count with the seven innings against the Hatters.

FSU coach Mike Martin said that a bullpen session with pitching coach Mike Bell helped turn Weaver's performance around. The two focused on speeding up his tempo.

"Luke really got it done (Wednesday)," Martin said. "I think Mike (Bell) told him he was pitching to 'find,' and to go out there and get a rhythm and pitch and not be concerned if a guy gets on base.

We don't like to play slow. We like to get the ball and 'Let's play.' He did that (Wednesday). There wasn't any of this walking around, adjusting his belt and adjusting his hat it was catch it and get on the rubber. I'm very pleased with the way he pitched."

Weaver's improved focus was bolstered with plenty of run support as the Seminoles plated nine runs in the first five innings. A sacrifice fly by James Ramsey and RBI singles from Jayce Boyd and Jose Brizuela in the third opened up a 3-0 lead.

Seth Miller added a sacrifice fly in the fourth to extend the lead to 4-0, then Devon Travis sparked a five-run fifth inning with a leadoff home run. Travis went 9-of-16 with a home run and 9 RBI in the five-game home set.

Brizuela paced the Seminoles with a 3-for-4 afternoon, plating a run and 2 RBI from the No. 9 spot in the lineup. All nine starters scored one run apiece for FSU. Stetson's lone run, which came in the seventh inning after the FSU starting position players had been replaced, was unearned.

Stetson (15-6) starter Josh Powers took the loss, allowing seven hits and six runs (four earned) in four innings of work.

Florida State (19-2) travels to Winston Salem, N.C. for a weekend series with Wake Forest. The Seminoles are a perfect 6-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play entering Friday's series opener.



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