For seven and a half innings the Stetson Hatters did everything right against the Florida State Seminoles.
Fortunately for the fifth-ranked Seminoles, the two teams played nine innings on Tuesday night at Dick Howser Stadium. The Hatters dropped a pair of fly balls and committed a wild pitch in bottom of the eighth as FSU erased a two-run deficit to defeat Stetson 5-3.
Two-sport star Jameis Winston earned the first win of his career as he pitched a perfect eighth and ninth inning, striking out one as FSU improved to 19-1 on the year.
"I'm proud that we won the ballgame, yes we were fortunate," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "No question. But it's still (a win) and I'm proud of those young men for getting it done."
Stetson (10-10) led 3-1 entering the eight inning after a three-run seventh inning as they chased FSU starter Luke Weaver from the game. Weaver allowed a pair of earned runs on seven hits and one walk in 6.2 innings, striking out four batters.
The Hatters tied the game at 1 on a double by Tyler Bocock to left. DJ Stewart misplayed the ball and allowed Robert Bruce to score from first base. Stetson pushed across another run on an RBI single by Kevin Fagan.
The third run came around to score on a throwing error by Jose Brizuela at third base.
In addition to producing at the plate, Fagan turned in a terrific performance on the mound in his first-career start. The freshman allowed just two runs, one earned, on three hits and three walks while striking out six in seven innings.
"Fagan was absolutely beautiful," Martin said. "He kept us totally off-balance, he spotted his pitches well, you really have to give him credit."
Fagan came out to start the eighth inning, but after giving up a leadoff single to Giovanny Alfonzo, his day was done after 106 pitches. He gave way to Cameron Griffin who gave up three unearned runs in the inning as he took the loss.
FSU loaded the bases with no outs for Brizuela. The sophomore delivered an RBI single to right, and another run came home to score one batter later as DJ Stewart grounded into a double-play.
After Stephen McGee was intentionally walked, John Nogowski hit a pop up right that was dropped, giving FSU a 4-3 lead. It was the second dropped pop up of the inning for Stetson, and McGee came around to score on a wild pitch for a 5-3 lead.
"It was a little sluggish the first seven innings but we've got faith in each other to come back and win," Brizuela said. "But that can't happen again."
Stetson committed four errors in the game, while FSU had two of their own. Brizuela's throwing error was his 10th error of the season. The third baseman said he wasn't bothered by the mistakes, because he has also been making plenty of difficult plays in the field.
"I know I'm making a lot of errors, but you know what it's part of the game and I'm not going to let it bother me," he said." I'm still making great plays, I still feel comfortable out there and I'm just going to keep playing the game I've been playing."
Brizuela sparked a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning as he made a nice play going to his left on a chopper to third, as Winston worked his second perfect inning of relief.
One day before the start of spring practice, Winston said it felt good to record his first win of the season on the mound.
"I had a good feeling that something good was going to happen, so I had to create some energy," Winston said. "It was fun coming in there at the last inning knowing we were down (earlier in the game) and everybody was pumped up because we knew we didn't want to lose at home."