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April 7, 2012

No. 2 FSU overcomes five-run deficit in 12-7 win

ATLANTA-- As Florida State staring pitcher Mike Compton struggled to locate early on Saturday evening, the second-ranked Seminoles found themselves down five runs quickly to No. 24 Georgia Tech.

Despite the fact that the Seminole offense has been struggling somewhat the past couple of weeks, the faces in the visitors' dugout at Russ Chandler Stadium never showed defeat.

In the top of the fifth inning, FSU took control of the game, as it posted nine runs on nine hits, including a grand slam by freshman left fielder Jose Brizuela and a solo pinch-hit home run by fellow freshman John Nogowski. The Seminoles never relinquished the lead coming away with an improbable 12-7 victory to clinch the three-game series.

"It was like we flicked on a switch," said second baseman Devon Travis who finished the game 3-for-6 with a two-run home run and four RBI. "Breezy came up and got that big, big hit obviously, and then from then on we got it rolling.

"Really I've got to credit the dugout and all the players on not giving up because today would have been an easy game just to fold playing a tough Georgia Tech team on the road down 6-1 and we really fought."

The Yellow Jackets took a 6-1 lead into the fifth inning as Compton gave up a career high five runs and seven hits in two-plus innings. Compton was pulled in the top of the third for Hunter Scantling who worked a scoreless frame.

Bryant Holtmann lasted just a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on two walks and a pair of hit batters before Mack Waugh finally settled things down to improve to 3-0 this season.

"Michael had a bad outing almost from the time he went out there," FSU head coach Mike Martin said of Compton. "He didn't look like himself. Let's just face it, he was bailed out. Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong, but we got a good performance out of Scantling and Waugh and Boomer."

Waugh came into the game and immediately induced a 6-4-3 double play with bases loaded to being the momentum swing. Waugh pitched 4.1 innings, giving up one earned run on six hits and a walk with one strike out.

"That was a tremendous play when it was 6-1," Martin said of he double play, which came on a tough backhand from Justin Gonzalez. "That ball goes through it's 8-1 because they had the bases loaded."

In the top of the fifth a two-out rib single to center field by Jayce Boyd to make it a 6-2 game with runners on the corners. Stephen McGee then drew a walk to load the bases and Gonzalez followed with an RBI walk.

With the bases loaded Josh Heddinger entered the game and promptly surrendered the lead on 1-2 pitch that Brizulea drilled over the right field wall for his second homer of the year to put FSU ahead 7-6.

"He hung the curve ball and I just did work on it," said Brizuela who finished the game 3 for 4 with four RBI and just a triple short of the cycle.

Nogowski then extended the lead with solo homer to left filed on a 2-0 pitch. Travis drove in two more runs in the inning on a single to left field to make it 10-6 FSU.

In the top of the eighth inning Travis crushed a 3-1 pitch to left field for his third hit of the night and second homer of the season.

"I haven't hit many balls this year that I can really say I felt I hit really well and that was probably about the best one I've hit since I've been here," he said of the no-doubter.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth Waugh gave way to Brian Busch who recorded the final four outs of the game as he struck out two and allowed no base runners.

The win improves FSU to 26-5 overall, 13-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, and clinched the fifth straight conference series to open the year.

"These young men understand the game," Martin said of his club. "They're experienced, the majority of our young men are experienced. It's the ones that aren't experienced that are bothering us the most right now and they've just got to keep learning the game and playing it with respect."

Noteworthy

  • The win was the 1,699th win of Mike Martin's career. With his next victory Martin will become just the fourth Division I head coach to reach the 1,700 win plateau.

  • FSU is now 13-1 this season when it scores five or more runs.

  • Brizulea's grand slam was the fourth of the season for FSU as Seth Miller has two and Justin Gonzalez has one as well.



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