When Florida State head coach Mike Martin made the decision to move senior Hunter Scantling from starter to reliever to start 2012, he knew that the 6-foot-8, 270-pound senior would still have an important role.
Scantling was successful in his first relief appearance, calming things down for FSU as it climbed out of a four-run hole to beat Hofstra 10-8 at Dick Howser Stadium on Saturday.
Scantling, who entered in the second inning as sophomore Peter Miller struggled in his first career start, gave up just one earned run on six hits and one walk in 5.1 innings and struck out two to earn the win.
"We felt like he was guy that could come out of the bullpen and pitch well," Martin said. "He certainly did today. He kept us in the ball game and gave us a chance to win."
Scantling entered the game in the bottom of the second after Miller gave up a two-run double to put Hofstra ahead 4-0. Just one of the four runs scored off of Miller were earned.
Miller gave up four runs on three hits and two walks. Martin said this wasn't the Miller he saw in the preseason because of how impressive Miller had been leading up to the regular season.
"If that was Peter Miller out there I hadn't seen him pitch like that," Martin said. "From velocity to--I understand emotions, I have seen it a few times, but I've never seen it to that extreme because that wasn't Peter Miller. Peter Miller is much, much better than what I saw today."
Scantling entered and got out of the inning without throwing a single pitch as he picked off Danny Poma to end the second.
The offense finally game alive for FSU in the bottom of the third. Seniors Sherman Johnson and James Ramsey got things going as they drew walks on a 10-pitch at bat and a nine-pitch at bat respectively.
Jayce Boyd drove them both in with a two-run double to right and would later come around to score on a sacrifice fly from Justin Gonzalez.
Trailing 5-3, freshman Jose Brizulea tied the game up with a two-run double to right with the bases loaded. FSU took its first lead one batter latter on an RBI fielder's choice from Seth Miller and tacked on another run on an RBI single from Devon Travis
"I thought Brizulea's at bat was certainly crucial," Martin said. "He really did a good job of getting the good pitch and getting the good swing and knocked in a couple of runs for us."
Leading 7-5, Scantling posted two scoreless innings before giving way to Brain Busch in the eighth inning. In his final two innings of work, Scantling gave up just two hits and one walk.
"I just wanted to have quick innings, get some zeros up and just get the team to the seventh inning and just hand it over to the next guy," Scantling said.
Busch worked two-thirds of an inning before being replaced by closer Scott Sitz who induced a ground out to leave two Hofstra base-runners stranded in the eighth.
In the bottom half of the inning FSU added three insurance runs as John Nogowski, Gonzalez and Brizulea each drove in a run to push the Seminoles lead to 10-5.
The extra cushion would prove to be crucial as Hofstra scored three runs on three hits, a walk, and an error before Sitz finally closed to door with a strikeout to earn the save.
Martin said after the game he learned a lot about his club as they bounced back from the early deficit and escaped in the final inning with the win. He said he's not concerned with Miller moving forward, because he knows what the sophomore righty is capable of.
Scantling agreed with Martin that Miller will be fine as the year goes on, and he was just happy to have the chance to pick up his teammate on Saturday.
"(Miller) knew I was coming in to pick him up and I felt like I did that," Scantling said. "After the game he told me thanks and I just told him to keep his head up and keeping throwing the ball because he can be a great pitcher."
True freshman Mike Compton will make school history on Sunday in his first career start as it will mark the first time FSU has ever thrown two freshman on opening weekend.
Jayce Boyd's RBI double extended his hitting steak to 8 games. His career high is 15 games.
Saturday's announced attendance at Dick Howser Stadium was 4, 433.