Going into the season Mike Martin wasn't sure how much he would let leadoff hitter Josh Delph bat against left-handed pitching. Initially he toyed with the idea of platooning the left-handed hitting Delph with Brett Knief and his right-handed swing in right field.
But through 12 games, Martin has opted to keep Delph, a sophomore, in right field and as the team's leadoff hitter no matter what side the other team's starter throws from. Including on Wednesday night when Presbyterian College started left-hander Chad Sanders.
The move paid off as Delph recorded a career-high four hits, including his first career homerun, with three RBI and three runs scored. Delph finished 4 for 5 (all against lefties) as No. 5 FSU cruised to a 10-4 victory over the Blue Hose.
Delph's homerun was a two-run shot on a 1-0 pitch over the screen in right field at Dick Howser stadium. Off the bat there was little doubt to that it was gone, but Delph didn't truly believe it until it actually cleared the fence.
"I didn't think it was going," Delph said. "I've hit the top of the screen so many times that that's what I thought was going to happen again. I got it in the air and I heard everyone going crazy so I knew there was a chance and then the wind got it a little bit so that definitely helped."
FSU (12-0) fell behind initially 1-0 in the top of the second, but came roaring back in the bottom half of the inning. The Seminoles batted around as they chased Sanders (0-1) from the game after just 1.2 innings and scored seven runs, all with two outs.
Delph drove in a run on an RBI infield single to shortstop, John Nogowski platted a pair of runs on a Texas leaguer to left field, Stephen McGee drew a bases loaded walk for an RBI, and Jose Brizuela and Brett Knief each recorded two hits and drove in a run in the inning.
Knief, who started in left field, finished the game 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored in the game.
"I thought Knief had a couple of good swings today against a lefty," Martin said. "We can continue to look at his an option."
Freshman D.J. Stewart returned to the lineup after sitting out four games with a sore wrist on Wednesay. The centerfielder hit in the two-hole for the first time this season and went 2 for 5 with a n RBI double and a run scored. Designated hitter Marcus Davis, who like Stewart bats left-handed was 1 for 3 with a double, a walk and a run scored.
Martin said overall he was pleased with how his team performed at the plate, considering after Sander Presbyterian ran out two left-handed pitchers before throwing a righty in the eighth inning.
"We hung in there very well against left-handers today and it's always a plus for us," Martin said. "I mean D.J. Stewart, and it was great to have in back in the lineup today, they're gonna see a lot of left-handed pitching this year."
On the mound FSU used Wednesday's game as an opportunity to get six relievers some work against live hitting. Billy Strode started the game, but threw just 34 pitches in 1.2 innings as he gave up one earned run on two hits and no walks.
Gage Smith improved to 2-0 as he came in and picked 1.1 innings, giving up one earned run on two his with one strikeout. Brandon Johnson gave up a pair of unearned runs in his two innings of work, followed by a scoreless two innings from Bryant Holtmann. Robby Coles retired all three batters he faced in the eighth, as did Jameis Winston in the ninth.
The six Seminole pitchers gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits, one error and two hit batters. They combined for no walks and struck out four as FSU swept the two-game series from the Blue Hose (8-6).
FSU opens up ACC-play in Tallahassee this weekend with a three-game series against Boston College starting Friday at 6 p.m. ET.
"I think when you look at the game today, the fact that we won was certainly important and we're very proud of our young men," Martin said. "But more importantly we were able to get our guys work."