Go figure - the most resistance Savannah State could muster against Florida State actually came from the stands during the NCAA Regional on Friday night.
Top seed Florida State dismantled the fourth-seeded Tigers with ease, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings on the way to a 10-0 win in front of 3,084 at Dick Howser Stadium.
And with all on-field drama gone early, that left the pinnacle of suspense to a stadium walkway in the third inning as a small group of unruly Savannah State fans had to be corralled and ejected by FSU athletic director Randy Spetman.
FSU, which snapped a four-game losing skid, moves on from a wild Friday to play No. 3-seed Troy on Saturday at 5 p.m. Troy beat Alabama 5-2 in the early game, meaning Alabama and Savannah State, the MEAC Champions, will play in an elimination game at Noon Saturday.
"Anytime that you can shut out a team with the ability of Savannah State, you have to certainly be pleased as a coach," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "It was a good win for us."
Any potential for a SSU upset centered on SSU ace Kyle McGowin, who entered Friday with a 12-1 record and a 1.33 ERA. FSU (45-15) had no trouble, however, knocking him around for 10 earned runs.
McGowin (12-2) needed 132 pitches to get through five innings, and the 10 runs catapulted his overall season ERA almost a full run to 2.06.
"You pitch a lot more than you plan on," McGowin said of FSU's patience at the plate. "They worked the count, six walks I had, I didn't have my fastball all day … they were not chasing, they were a patient, great hitting team."
Holding a 1-0 lead after the first inning, FSU delivered the big blow in the second with five runs. A DJ Stewart two-run double and a two-run home run from Stephen McGee highlighted the five-hit inning.
FSU added four more in the third as doubles from Stewart and Marcus Davis pushed it to a more-than-comfortable 10-0.
FSU's No. 2-5 hitters - Stewart, Davis, McGee and and Jose Brizuela - went a combined 10 for 16 with a HR, four doubles and 10 RBI.
"We've been working," said Stewart, who finished 3 for 4 with three runs and 3 RBI. "We've been wanting to get that taste of the ACC Tournament out of our mouth."
With the game well in hand, the stage was clear for Spetman, who would gave the fans more to cheer about by stepping into stadium security detail in bottom of the third. A handful of SSU fans made their way to the first base side to taunt members of FSU's famed and rowdy "Animals of Section B." As fans screamed back and forth and situation began to escalate, in came Spetman, who put himself between the catalyst in the SSU group and the FSU fans to prevent a scuffle. An animated Spetman began to escort the fan out of the stadium on his own. About a minute later, Spetman was assisted by FSU Police.
Spetman and the officers walked the SSU fans out of Howser to a boisterous standing ovation.
FSU starter Scott Sitz said the team was aware of the group of SSU fans stirring up trouble - seeing them engage FSU fans earlier in the game - but they couldn't see the third-inning confrontation behind their dugout.
No scuffle or tight situation seemed to bother Sitz (10-1), who stayed effective all night, throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings. The senior allowed seven hits, walked no one and struck out eight. He worked out of minor jams in the first, second, third and seventh innings, stranding a combined eight runners in those frames.
He lowered his team-best ERA to 1.59.
"I think obviously it was the Scotty Sitz show tonight," FSU coach Mike Martin said.
Dominance aside, on a night when FSU scored 10 runs and had a school administrator taking charge of security, Sitz just might be sharing the stage.
Injury update: McGee bruises hand
With the game in hand, FSU had an injury scare when catcher Stephen McGee's glove was hit by a swinging bat in the second inning. McGee was called for catcher's interference on the play. McGee was attended to by the FSU training staff on the field but remained in the game.
After the game, McGee said it was a bruise and said "it should be OK."
"He just squared up my hand with the barrel of the bat," McGee said. "But I didn't feel like I was too close to him though and it was a fastball, I went to reach for it, and I don't know what kind of swing he took, maybe it was (late) but I didn't think I was too close to get hit. And yea, he just hit my hand."
He seemed to recover nicely in the bottom half of the inning as he crushed a two-run homer to left to give the 'Noles a 6-0 lead. McGee was replaced by reserve Ladson Montgomery in the seventh inning.