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February 24, 2013

FSU sweeps double-header, series from USF



Florida State completed a three-game sweep of South Florida as it took both games in Sunday's double-header at Dick Howser Stadium.

The Seminoles (7-0) got 14 combined innings of shutout baseball from its two starters on Sunday afternoon. Scott Sitz pitched a career-high eight shutout innings in the first game as FSU cruised to an 8-0 victory. Not to be out done, Peter Miller tied his career-high with six scoreless innings in the 5-2 series finale.

"Quality starts from both of those guys," head coach Mike Martin said. "Best game I've seen Peter Miller pitch since he's been here. Sitzy just totally controlled the situation. Really, really pleased. Had three pitches going for him, Miller had three pitches going for him and that's what it takes to beat a club like South Florida."

Sitz allowed just four hits, two walks and stuck out six batters in the longest outing of his career. The senior threw 99 pitches as he extended his scoreless innings streak to 13.2.

FSU took control early with a four-run first tinning behind two hits, two USF errors and a two hit by pitches. Marcus Davis drove in a pair of runs on a single up the middle in the first.

"It was good to jump out on them quick today," said freshman outfielder D.J. Stewart. "Get four runs from them in the first inning, kind of went dead a little bit between there. But getting runs for (the starting pitchers), they're great pitchers so one run, two runs, that's good enough for them."

After the rough first inning, USF starter Nick Gonzalez settled in nicely as he didn't allow another run the rest of the way. Gonzalez finished with 107 pitches thrown in five innings, allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits and four walks. He recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts.

FSU got back on track in the sixth inning as John Sansone drove in a pair of runs on a bloop single. Jose Brizuela had two RBI of his own as he was 1 for 1 with a double and two walks in the first game.

Freshman Kenny Burkehead made his collegiate debut with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing just one walk as he preserved the shutout.

Miller kept the Bulls (1-5) at bay in the second game as he allowed just two hits and one walk in his six innings of work. He struck out a career-high five batters and threw 73 pitches.

Stewart provided much of the offense in the second game as he was 3 for 4 with a double and three RBIs. All three runs were driven in on opposite field hits.

"The first game I was trying to do too much," he said. "I've been trying to do too much all weekend, just needed to let the ball get deep on me, needed to try to do something different. Stop trying to pull the ball and just let my hands work. If they came inside I'd try to pull it, but was just mainly trying to work opposite field today."

USF threatened in the seventh inning as it loaded the bases with no outs against reliever Gage Smith, who inherited the first two runners on base from Bryant Holtmann. Smith got out of the jam with walk and a pair of ground outs, the Bulls did score on one of the ground outs to make it 3-1.

FSU added a run in the bottom half of the seventh on an RBI single from Stewart to score Sansone. The Bulls added a run in the eighth inning, but a terrific defensive play by Giovanny Alfonzo kept things from getting any tighter.

Alfonzo, who started both games in place of Justin Gonzalez who sat out with a hip injury, was in the right place at the right time. Kyle Bird's pitch caught away from Ladson Montgomery, who started behind the plate in the second game, to advance two USF base runners. Mongtomery's throw to third sailed by Brizuela, but Alfnonzo skidded in front of it and popped up to throw the runner out at home and end the inning.

"That was a great play because it was getting kind of tight," Davis said. "If that run scores it's a one-run game so that play was awesome. Gage came in and did well, Bird came in and did well and once (Alfonzo) made that play it was like 'OK everybody take a step back and let's try to get some insurance here.'"

It would be Davis who delivered the insurance run on the first pitch of the bottom half of the inning. Davis launched his fourth homerun of the season over the right field wall for a 5-2 lead heading into the ninth inning.

Freshman Jameis Winston retired the side for his first-career save in the ninth inning to complete the sweep.

"They were swinging," Winston said when asked what worked in the quick inning. He threw just 16 pitches to earn the save. "They were swinging early too. They were taking until they got a strike so I just put it in there. Coach (Mike) Bell told me to relax and just go out there and play my game, not get over my head. I went out there and did that."

Martin said that he thinks Winston could be the Seminoles' closer moving forward the rest of the season.

"He did a good job in that role tonight. Had no display of nerves and got it done. We're looking for somebody to assume that role."

Notable

  • Junior college transfer Ladson Montgomery drove in his third run of the year in the fourth inning of the series finale. Montgomery doubled off the wall in right to score Casey Smit, who also reached on a double.

  • FSU recorded four stolen bases in the two games as Davis, Stewart, Brizuela and Josh Delph each swiped one bag.

  • The Seminoles wore their gold jerseys for both of Sunday's games, extending the winning streak in the gold uniforms to 15 games.



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