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March 30, 2012

Leibrandt shuts down Virginia Tech in series opener

Thanks to a career-high seven innings from starter Brandon Leibrandt, No. 4 Florida State defeated Virginia Tech 5-2 on Friday night in the first of a three game series at Dick Howser Stadium.

Leibrandt improved to 3-1 on the year as he gave up no runs, five hits, walked one batter, and had four strikeouts to earn the win.. He threw just 85 pitches and came back out after a 42-minute rain delay for his final inning of work.

"They were a pretty aggressive team and they gave me some first-pitch outs," Leibrandt said. "Throughout the night I was able to keep command through my fastball."

Offensively Jayce Boyd and James Ramsey each drove in a pair of runs, while Devon Travis added an RBI as well.

Travis finished the game 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. Sherman Johnson and Ramsey each scored a run as well as the top three hitters scored all but one of the Seminoles' five runs.

"The guys in front of me just keep doing their job, keep getting on base, keep getting hits," said Boyd, who finished 3 for 4 with a double. "They make it pretty easy on me, just put the ball in play and good things usually happen."

Jose Brizulea also had a productive night at the plate going 3 for 4 with a run scored.

In the bottom of the fourth Leibrandt was able to work himself out of his only real jam of the night. After loading the bases with no outs he was able to get out of the inning unscathed with a strikeout, a 1-2 putout, and another strikeout.

"I just tried to bear down and limit the damage the best that I could," the freshman lefty said. "I thought that if I got out of it with one run that would be a win for us, but luckily was able to get two strikeouts and throw up a zero on the board."

After Leibrandt left the game, Gage Smith gave up an unearned run in the eighth inning on two hits and no walks.

The Hokies (18-10, 2-8 ACC) added another run in the ninth off of Robert Benincasa, set up by the fourth FSU error of the night, a throwing error by Justin Gonzalez. The unearned run was the first run period that Benincasa had allowed in 15.2 innings pitched this season.

The fact that Leibrandt was able to get the ball to the eighth inning will set up FSU (22-4, 9-1 ACC) well for the rest of the weekend series with VT.

"It was big because it's the first game of the series and you haven't used any of your bullpen other than Benny and Gage," Martin said of Leibrandt's outing. "Gage is the kind of guy that can pop back the next day with no problem."

The two teams return to action on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN3.com. Mike Compton (5-0, 2.08 ERA) will start for FSU, while VT will go with Marc Zecchino (2-3, 4.63 ERA).

Noteworthy

  • Sherman Johnson has now reached base safely in all 26 games this season thanks to a first inning single.

  • Martin announced that Peter Miller (3-1, 3.67 ERA) will stay in the weekend rotation and start on Sunday. He has failed to make it out of the third inning in each of his last two starts.



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