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March 1, 2014
'Noles strike quickly after first loss of season
Florida State didn't waste any time thinking about its first loss of the season on Friday night. The Seminoles rebounded almost immediately on Saturday, jumping on Miami for four runs in the first inning of a 10-2 win to even the series.
That was no surprise to FSU head coach Mike Martin, who said he had no concerns about his team after the No. 2 Seminoles (7-1) struggled in the field and at the plate in Friday's 3-1 loss to the No. 14 Hurricanes (5-4).
"You can normally tell a lot when you walk in a clubhouse after a game like that one last night," Martin said. "It was an ugly look on everybody's face. It's Florida State-Miami, that's the main thing you've got to remember. We got beat (on Friday). We got outplayed.
"Today, we played well. Tomorrow, we don't want to feel like we did last night."
The Seminoles' runaway win was sparked by many of the experienced players that Martin expressed confidence in on Friday night. Among Florida State's starting lineup, the only player who did not reach base was freshman Ben DeLuzio. The other eight starters -- two seniors, four juniors and two sophomores -- finished with seven hits and seven walks before most of them exited in the late innings of the game.
The turnaround from Friday started right away. After managing just five hits and three walks the previous night, FSU's first three hitters each walked to load the bases on Saturday. First baseman John Nogowski doubled with a grounder down the first base line to score two runs, and third baseman Jose Brizuela knocked a hit into left to plate two more. The Seminoles never looked back from there.
"It was great from starting off," Brizuela said. "We had two outs when (John) Sansone was up, then Nogo got the big hit and we just kept going after that."
Brizuela went 3-4 with four RBI, tying career highs with both.
FSU took advantage of a strong start from junior lefty Brandon Leibrandt He went 6.2 innings and gave up two runs (one earned) while allowing six hits, one walk and striking out three. He gave up a run in the top of the first, but settled into a comfort zone after the Seminoles piled on in the bottom of the inning.
"The first couple of innings I was dealing with a little bit of emotion and a little bit of adrenaline," Leibrandt said. "When I was able to locate it and get ahead on strike one, it opened everything up and I was able to make pitches."
FSU pulled away in the seventh inning, scoring five runs in the bottom of the inning to push the score to 10-2 before an announced crowd of 6,593, the eighth-largest in school history. The 'Noles cruised from there, pulling five of their starters.
"I thought the entire club had some very good, quality at-bats," Martin said. "That's very important when you play a team as talented as Miami is."
Sophomore Jameis Winston pinch hit for Nogowski in the bottom of the seventh after FSU had broken the game open. He singled to right on the second pitch as the Seminoles continued to pull away from the Hurricanes.
The Seminoles entered the game with the memory of Friday night on their minds. After slamming the door on Saturday, they'll try to keep the Hurricanes from turning the series around yet again in the finale.
"We've had those losses before," Nogowski said. "We kind of understood 'Hey, this is a tough loss but we're going to be out there tomorrow.' I think there was kind of a sense in the clubhouse when we got there this morning that we have to get this taste out of our mouths and really get going."
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