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April 18, 2012

No. 2 FSU shuts out North Georgia 6-0

With a weekend series against in-state rival and 11th-ranked Miami looming, it would have been easy for No. 2 Florida State to just go through the motions against Division II North Georgia on Wednesday afternoon.

But that wasn't the case as the Seminoles (30-7) cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Saints (20-22) on a soggy Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.

In addition the 'trap-game' set up, FSU also had to deal with rain falling on the field up until about 45 minutes prior to first pitch, and the absence of Jayce Boyd in the lineup for the first time in 112 games due to flu-like symptoms.

"I was very excited about the way we approached the game and the way we got after it," head coach Mike Martin said. "Of course we were doing it without the leading hitter in the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Right out of the gates FSU took an early lead in the bottom of the first behind a two-run triple by senior center fielder James Ramsey. Ramsey came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Stephen McGee for a 3-0 lead.

In the second inning Justin Gonzalez blasted a solo home run over the visitor's bullpen in left field for a 4-0 advantage.

"When you play a game where there's rain, there's a little bit of delay, there's not as many people in the stands, the home field advantage kind of goes away," Ramsey said. "The game we lost to FIU, the game we lost to Florida Gulf Coast were both kind of like that. We haven't played a whole lot of games like that… you just have to tune your focus in a little bit more when you're sitting around the clubhouse hanging out when you know at any moment it's kind of hurry up wait. So to get three in the first was big because our pitchers just knew they had to challenge their hitters."

FSU used seven different pitchers behind Scott Sitz who was on a controlled start. Sitz earned the win as he gave up just two hits, but faced the minimum in his two innings of work, improving to 2-2 on the season.

The eight different Seminoles pitchers all faced the minimum, expect for Bryant Holtmann in the sixth who worked around a lead off single for a scoreless inning.

"We used probably more (pitchers) tonight than we've been able to use all year," Martin said. "It was nice to be able to get them their work. Scotty Sitz got his and is ready to go Sunday now. I thought he pitched very well."

In the fifth FSU added a pair of runs as Ramsey, who was 3 for 4 with 3 RBI in the game, drove in Devon Travis, who reached on a double in the previous at-bat. Ramsey later scored on a sacrifice fly by John Nogowski.

In the eighth inning redshirt freshman Evan Geist made his collegiate debut as he worked a perfect inning, inducing a fly out and a pair of groundouts.

"I've watched a lot of baseball over the last year and half so I wasn't really nervous," the left-hander from Georgia said. "I just wanted to get out there. It's fun seeing it from that view instead of (in the dugout) where I've made nice little home so it was good. It was fun."

Gage Smith worked around a Giovanny Alfonzo error at shortstop to face the minimum in the ninth thanks a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

It was the Seminoles' fifth shutout of the season, meaning during practice on Thursday the FSU pitching staff will get chance to show what they can do at the plate.

"We're very pleased that we were able to play as well we did," Martin said. "There will be a little pitchers BP tomorrow because we got a shutout."



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