No. 5 Florida State (20-1) needed two big innings Wednesday afternoon to cruise to a 14-1 victory over Stetson (10-11) sweeping the two-game mid-week series on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles scored four runs in the fifth and nine more in the sixth to remain undefeated at home (17-0) this year.
Florida State out hit Stetson 12-4 as Josh Delph and Jose Brizuela paced the Seminole offense with two hits each. Delph finished the game with a pair of singles and a career-high four RBI. Seth Miller went 1-for-2 with a single as he scored three times and drew a season-high three walks.
Marcus Davis blasted his team leading fifth home run of the season in the fourth and finished with three RBI. John Nogowski highlighted FSU's nine-run sixth as he drove in three runs on a bases clearing triple, the first of his career.
JJ Gould registered his first career hit in the seventh as he singled down the line in left. DJ Stewart, Stephen McGee, Casey Smit and John Sansone all picked up a hit in the win. Scott Sitz recorded his first two career at-bats as the Jacksonville Beach, Fla., went 0-for-2 but he did drive in his first career run on a groundout with the bases loaded in the eighth.
"I was very pleased with the effort," said head coach Mike Martin. "The way we came out and got after it. Their starting pitcher was extremely impressive. Credit him for keeping us from scoring until he left the game after the fourth inning."
In making his second career start, Billy Strode was outstanding on the hill to earn his first career victory. The sophomore southpaw worked a career-high 6.0 innings as he gave up just one unearned run on three hits. He finished with two walks and a career-high nine strikeouts. Strode faced the minimum in an inning four times and closed out Wednesday's start by retiring the last seven batters that he faced.
"It definitely felt good out there," said Strode. "My slider was really working well today which is what I attribute a lot of my strikeouts to but spotting the fastball was a big thing as well.
"I have always been a pitcher that likes to work fast. I've been a rhythm pitcher my whole career. It helps the whole team out to go out there and get three quick outs to keep the game rolling."
Strode's nine strikeouts tied a season-high by a Seminole starting pitcher this year as he joined Luke Weaver (vs. Jacksonville, February 20) and Sitz (vs. Villanova, March 2).
"Billy Strode was outstanding; he certainly gave us what we needed and that was six innings from our starter," added Martin.
The Parkland, Fla., native worked out of an early jam in the second as the Hatters loaded the bases on a lead-off single by James Rasmussen, a one-out double down the line in right by Carlos Garmendia and a two-out walk to Tyler Bocock. Strode responded by getting K'shawn Smith looking at a called third strike to keep the game scoreless.
Stetson scored its lone run in the fourth courtesy of the only Seminole error of the game. Rasmussen and Garrett Russini reached on a single and a fielding error to open the inning and moved 90 feet on a sac-bunt by Garmendia. After a strikeout and an intentional walk, Strode unleashed a wild pitch allowing Rasmussen to score from third to give the Hatters a 1-0 lead.
Stetson starter Tyler Warmoth, who would not factor into the decision on Wednesday, went four scoreless innings allowing four hits and no walks as he struck out three. He turned it over to the Hatter bullpen to start the bottom of the fifth and seven combined pitchers could not hold the lead giving up 14 runs on eight hits and 12 walks.
Florida State would take the lead with four runs in the fifth and never look back. Delph tied the game with a sac-fly to right and Davis gave the Seminoles the lead for good on his two-run home run over the screen in right. McGee drove in a run on a double down the line in left to close out the scoring in the inning.
The Seminoles sent 14 batters to the plate in the sixth scoring nine times on four hits, four walks and three hit by pitches. Giovanny Alfonzo was hit by a pitch twice in the inning, Delph registered two hits, and Miller walked twice and stole two bases.
"Anytime the whole team can put it together is definitely rewarding just because we have some guys, myself included, that are struggling a little bit at the plate," said Davis. "It was good to have an offensive explosion like that today."
Brandon Johnson, Kenny Burkhead and Dylan Silva each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. Johnson faced the minimum on nine pitches as he recorded a strikeout. Burkhead worked around a walk and a single to keep the Hatters off the scoreboard in the eighth. Silva closed out the game with a perfect ninth as he posted a fly out, strikeout and a groundout.
Florida State will return to the diamond this weekend as the Seminoles host Georgia Tech for a key ACC series on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium beginning Friday, March 22 at 6:00 p.m. All three games will air live on ESPN3.