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April 26, 2014

FSU Hands Virginia First Shutout in 156 Games


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fifth-ranked Florida State (33-10, 17-6) evened the weekend series with a 7-0 victory over top-ranked Virginia (36-8, 17-6) Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 5,572 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.

Behind the outstanding pitching performance from Mike Compton and Billy Strode, the Seminoles recorded their fifth shutout of the season and first against Virginia since blanking the Cavaliers 11-0 in seven innings on May 26, 2006 in the ACC Tournament.

The shutout also snapped Virginia's streak of consecutive games without being shutout at 156. The last time the Cavaliers were held without a run was against Liberty on February 28, 2012.

"It was a great win for us," Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. "Wish we could enjoy it longer but obviously, we will be playing in less than 16 hours. I am just pleased for our guys, the way we played the game. It all starts on the mound with Michael and Billy, (they) were outstanding. Mike Bell called a great game. I thought it was a game in which our guys really got after it. It was a heck of a ball game."

The win also snapped Virginia's six-game winning streak in the series.

Compton (4-1) scattered seven hits over 6.1 innings of work in game two as he walked one and struck out one on 101 pitches. The redshirt sophomore right hander worked out of an early jam in the first when the Cavaliers put runners at second and third with two outs following a ground rule double off the bat of Joe McCarthy. Compton responded by getting Nick Howard to ground out to short to retire the side.

"When Michael is cooking, it's no fun (for anyone)," added Martin. "With that heavy ball, it's tough to get anything in the air because you're timing has to be so perfect. He goes in, he goes out, he goes up, goes down, he is a guy that can cause you a lot of problems. Very, very pleased, a big lift for his ball club tonight; he gave his ball club what they needed in 6.1 innings."

The Branson, Mo., native did not allow more than one hit in an inning on Saturday night, while two of the seven hits he gave up went for extra bases.

"I felt great," said Compton. "It's all about keeping the ball low, mixing everything up and keeping them off balanced out there. Mainly fastball tonight, probably about 80 percent…just hitting both sides of the plate, getting that downward movement and having them hit the ball and let the defense play."

Strode entered the ball game with one out in the seventh and sandwiched a single to center by Daniel Pinero with a pair of strikeouts. The junior southpaw faced the minimum over the next two innings to preserve the shutout and the win. Strode allowed just two hits in 2.2 innings as he finished with three strikeouts.

Jose Brizuela and Josh Delph paced the Seminole offense with three hits apiece. Brizuela tied a career-high with his 14th three-hit game. The junior third baseman finished the night with hits in his last three at-bats recording back-to-back doubles in the fourth and fifth innings and a single in the seventh.

The three hits for Delph marked his sixth multi-hit game over the last nine games. During that span, the Bartow, Fla., native has raised his average 36 points. Delph finished 3-for-5 with a double, two singles and a run scored.

"I am really glad to see both of them have the at-bats that they had," said Martin. "Josh did a great job of executing a hit and run. Breezy came through with some big hits; certainly the double to right was the big one. He played very tough mentally and I am very pleased with that because he is a tough out and he proved that tonight."

John Sansone drove in a game-high four runs to tie a career-high. The sophomore second baseman broke the scoreless tie in the fourth with a two-run single off Virginia starter Josh Sborz (4-3). He added an RBI in the fifth on a sac-fly to right field and his fourth RBI of the night on his second sac-fly, this time to center.

Florida State broke the game open in the fifth plating four runs to take a commanding 6-0 lead. D.J. Stewart opened the scoring with an RBI single up the middle to extend his streak of reaching base to 63 consecutive games. After an intentional walk to John Nogowski, Brizuela delivered with a two-run double down the line in right to give FSU a 5-0 advantage. Sansone closed out the scoring in the inning with a sac-fly to right to plate Nogowski.

Sborz suffered the loss for the Cavaliers allowing four runs on five hits in 4.0 plus innings as he walked three and struck out four.

Florida State and Virginia will wrap-up the three game series on Sunday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m. The game will broadcast live on ESPN3. Audio will be available on the Seminoles.com All-Access player. Locally fans can listen to the game on 100.7 FM.

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