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March 30, 2013

FSU splits doubleheader, drops series to VT



BLACKSBURG, Va. - No. 4 Florida State (24-4, 8-4 ACC) could not replicate its offensive production from earlier in the day as the Seminoles dropped game two of the doubleheader to Virginia Tech (19-9, 6-5 ACC), 8-1, in the rubber game of the series Saturday evening on English Field.

With the loss, the Seminoles dropped their first ACC series of the season and their first series against Virginia Tech in five trips to Blacksburg. Florida State committed three errors for the second straight game, while only one of the eight runs they allowed was unearned.

"We made some mistakes but you also have to credit Virginia Tech, they took advantage of them and really poured it on, so to speak, and got a big four spot twice tonight," said head coach Mike Martin. "When you make some mistakes you expect good clubs to take advantage of it and that's exactly what they did."

The Hokies scored all their runs over two innings in game two of the doubleheader plating four runs in the fourth and four more in the seventh. The lone run for the Seminoles came in the top of the sixth.

"Virginia Tech has a very solid baseball team," added Martin. "I was very impressed them. I didn't see any weaknesses; thought they were strong up the middle. They deserved to win the ball game today, no doubt about it."

Peter Miller suffered the loss for the Seminoles as the junior right hander fell to 3-1 on the year. The Lutz, Fla., native was charged with four runs, three earned, on six hits in 3.1 innings of work as he finished with one walk and one strikeout.

On the other side, Virginia Tech got an outstanding performance from Joe Mantiply as the senior southpaw allowed one run while scattering six hits over 6.2 innings of work. Mantiply walked three and struck out seven to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Clark Labitan worked the final 2.1 innings to earn his fifth save of the season.

After both starting pitchers breezed through the first three innings, the Hokies struck first in the bottom of the fourth scoring four runs off Miller. Chad Pinder and Tyler Horan opened the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Miller then got Mark Zagunis to hit a groundball to third but the throw from Jose Brizuela to the plate was out of the reach of Stephen McGee allowing Pinder to slide in safely for the first run of the game. Andrew Rash then cleared the bases with a two-run double to right center. He would score two batters later on an RBI double to left by Chad Morgan to end the evening for Miller.

Brandon Johnson came on and kept Florida State in striking distance as he blanked the Hokies for 2.2 innings. Johnson did not allow a hit as he walked two and struck out two.

The Seminoles broke through with their first run in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Giovanny Alfonzo. Florida State loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by McGee and Casey Smit and a walk to John Nogowski. Alfonzo then laced a ball back up the middle that hit off Mantiply's foot and ricocheted over to foul territory on the first base side. Sean Keselica retrieved the ball and applied the tag on Alfonzo for the out. McGee scored on the play as FSU cut the deficit to 4-1.

The Hokies threatened in the bottom of the inning but Johnson escaped the jam as Virginia Tech loaded the bases with one out. Johnson got Alex Perez to ground into an inning ending double play to retire the side.

FSU left two stranded in the seventh after Marcus Davis reached on a fielder's choice groundout to second followed by a single to center off the bat of DJ Stewart. Mantiply's night would come to a close after the base hit by Stewart as the Hokies called on Labitan. The senior right hander battled with McGee but kept the Hokies lead intact as he got the Seminole catcher to hit into a fielder's choice putout at second to the end the inning.

Virginia Tech blew the game open with a four-run seventh to extend its lead to 8-1. All four runs came off Kyle Bird as Pinder began the run scoring inning with an RBI double down the line in right. Gage Smith came on with the bases loaded and gave up consecutive RBI singles to Rash and Brendon Hayden. The fourth run of the inning scored on a fielder's choice groundout off the bat of Morgan.

Florida State returns home for a two-game mid-week series against No. 26 Florida Gulf Coast beginning Tuesday, April 2. First pitch for both games is set for 6:00 p.m.

FSU holds on for 11-10 win in game two

In a wild start to doubleheader Saturday on English Field, No. 4 Florida State (24-3, 8-3 ACC) hung on for the game one victory defeating Virginia Tech (19-9, 6-5 ACC) 11-10 to even the three-game series. The Seminoles squandered an early eight-run lead and then held on for the one-run victory as Virginia Tech had the game-tying run at third with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Three straight Hokie batters reached off Robby Coles to cut FSU's lead to one but the Seminole right hander responded by getting Kyle Wernicki swinging on strikes and then Alex Perez to groundout to second to end the game. The save for Coles was his sixth in as many opportunities in 2013.

For the second straight game, Giovanny Alfonzo paced the Seminole offense with three hits as the sophomore shortstop registered three singles in his first three at-bats. Stephen McGee and Jose Brizuela recorded two hits apiece in the win. The trio of McGee, Brizuela and Alfonzo combined to drive in seven of FSU's 11 runs led by McGee with three RBI.

Both teams were not sharp defensively in game one of the doubleheader as each team committed three errors. Of the 11 runs scored by Florida State, five were earned, while three of Virginia Tech's 10 runs were earned.

The Seminoles drew 12 walks in the game to go along with their 12 hits. FSU finished the game leaving 12 runners on base.

Bryant Holtmann earned his second win of the season as the sophomore southpaw turned in 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of FSU starter Scott Sitz. Holtmann allowed three hits and walked a batter to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Sitz did not factor into the decision as the senior right hander could not make it out of the fourth inning, an inning in which the Hokies scored seven unearned runs to erase FSU's early lead and tie the game at eight. Sitz would leave the game allowing eight runs, one earned, on seven hits as he walked one and struck out one.

Gage Smith worked 2.0 innings in relief and allowed a run on two hits as he finished with two strikeouts.

Mark Zagunis and Gary Schneider paced the Hokies with three hits each, while Zagunis and Brendon Hayden both drove in two runs.

Florida State wasted little time cracking the scoreboard in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday scoring five runs in the top of the first. The Seminoles sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning recording three hits, drawing four walks and taking advantage of two Hokie errors. Brizuela began the scoring spree legging out would could have been an inning ending double play on a groundball to second to score Marcus Davis for the first run of the game. John Nogowski followed with an RBI single to right and after Seth Miller drew a walk to load the bases, Alfonzo laced a base hit to center that cleared the bases. Alfonzo was credited with two RBI on the play as the third run scored on a fielding error by Andrew Rash in center.

The Noles extended their lead to 8-0 with three more runs in the second. DJ Stewart opened the inning with a double to the gap in left center and scored on McGee's RBI double down the line in left. Brizuela followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield to score McGee ending the afternoon for Virginia Tech starter Devin Burke. Brizuela would score the third run of the inning on Miller's sac-fly to center.

Virginia Tech scored a run in the second to cut the deficit to 8-1. The Hokies opened the inning with back-to-back singles off Sitz by Tyler Horan and Zagunis. The Seminole starter then registered consecutive fielder's choice groundouts with the second coming off the bat of Hayden to plate Horan from third. Sitz would retire the side on a pop out to short by Wernicki.

Burke did not factor into the decision for the Hokies despite going just 1.0 plus inning. The junior right hander allowed eight runs, two earned, on six hits as he walked four and did not record a strikeout.

Three Seminole errors in the fourth led to seven unearned runs as the Hokies fought back to tie the game at 8-8. Virginia Tech sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning as all seven runs were scored with two outs. The Hokies put together four straight RBI hits with only one leaving the infield. The inning continued with consecutive fielding errors, first by Sitz and then from Holtmann. The inning finally came to end when Horan was thrown out at third but not before Zagunis tied the game with a two-run single to right.

Florida State retook the lead in the fifth when McGee drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded. The Seminoles could not add to the lead as Jake Joyce, the third Hokie pitcher of the afternoon, got Brizuela swinging on strikes to end the inning.

Virginia Tech threatened in the bottom of the fifth putting runners at the corners off Holtmann following a walk to Rash and a single by Wernicki. But the sophomore southpaw got out the jam and kept FSU's lead intact getting Perez to ground into an inning ending double play.

The Seminoles increased their lead to 11-8 after plating two runs, both on two outs, off Joyce. With Josh Delph and Davis on at third and second, respectively, after reaching on a fielder's choice and a walk, Delph would come home on a wild pitch by Joyce. McGee drove in Davis for the second run of the inning on a base hit to left.

The Hokies answered with a run in the bottom of the inning off Smith to cut the Florida State lead to 11-9. Zagunis led off the inning with a triple to the gap in right center and scored a batter later on a groundout to second by Rash.

Virginia Tech made things interesting in the ninth as Zagunis drew a one-out walk off Coles. The Hokie catcher would move to third when Rash hammered a double to the gap in left center. With runners at second and third, Hayden hit a tough chopper just over the mound that Alfonzo gloved but the Virginia Tech second basemen beat the throw for an infield single. Zagunis scored on the plate to cut the Florida State lead to 11-10. The Hokies put the pressure on Coles with runners at the corners and one out but the junior closer responded by getting Wernicki swinging on strikes and then Perez to ground out to second to end the game.



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