Late Runs Brings FSU Past Maryland
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida State (11-1, 1-0) opened ACC play with a 15-3 victory over Maryland (8-3, 0-1) on a cool, brisk Friday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
The Seminoles broke open a 2-2 tie scoring 13 runs in the seventh and eighth innings to secure their largest margin of victory over the Terrapins since handing Maryland a 21-5 loss in College Park back on March 29, 2009.
“Anyone that sees the score of tonight’s game will think it was a laugher; it was a long way from that,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “It was a ball game that Luke Weaver pitched extremely well. It was just a well-played baseball game. Then a couple of things happened and we took advantage of it.”
DJ Stewart and Ben DeLuzio both drove in three runs in the win, while Gage West plated a career-high two runs with a pinch hit single in the eighth.
Stewart, Josh Delph and Danny De La Calle all finished with two hits apiece.
Florida State’s Luke Weaver and Maryland’s Jake Stinnett were engaged in a classic pitcher’s duel through the early portion of the game as both starting pitchers gave up two runs through the first six innings.
“Mr. Stinnett was very impressive,” added Martin. “He has a good arm, a good breaking ball. Struck out four, he did a very good job.
“But our team played solid baseball; very proud of the way we kept our poise. We were in a ballgame and then all of a sudden, you might say the flood gates opened.”
The Seminoles plated an unearned run in the bottom of the third as DeLuzio reached on a hit by pitch and scored on a throwing error by Maryland third baseman Jose Cuas.
Cuas would redeem himself in the fifth taking a 2-0 offering from Weaver out of the park to left for his first home run of the season and a 2-1 Terrapin advantage.
Florida State answered the call in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at two. De La Calle started the inning with a single to center, moved to second on a single through the right side by Delph and advanced to third as Justin Gonzalez drew a walk. With Stewart at the plate, Stinnett unleashed a wild pitch allowing De La Calle to score the tying run.
Maryland put together a two-out rally in the sixth when LaMonte Wade singled through the right side and Kevin Martir was hit by a pitch. But Weaver kept the tie intact getting the Terrapins’ leading hitter Anthony Papio swinging on strikes to retire the side.
Weaver (3-1) went a season-high 7.0 innings on Friday night allowing just the two runs on four hits as he walked one and struck out a season-high eight batters.
“Yeah I do,” said Martin on whether he thought this was Weaver’s best outing of the season. “Very, very dominating early; that was big time stuff.”
“I felt really comfortable the way I pitched today,” said Weaver. “I felt like I was in control most of the game. I just had that one mistake. Besides that, I ran into a couple situations but just had to lock down. Tomorrow I will look back and feel good about my outing.”
Stinnett (2-2) would suffer the loss as the Maryland right hander was charged with five runs, four earned, on six hits in 6.0 plus innings of work.
The Seminoles took the lead for good adding six runs in the seventh before closing the door with a seven-run eighth inning.
Stewart brought home De La Calle for the go-ahead run in the seventh as he was hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded. After a sac-fly by John Nogowski and an RBI double by Jose Brizuela pushed the Seminole lead to 5-2, DeLuzio foiled any plans of a Maryland comeback as he cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run stand-up triple finding the gap in left center.
Florida State sent 11 batters to the plate in the eighth. Brett Knief opened the inning with a double down the line in left and Gonzalez was then hit by a pitch. After a wild pitch moved both runners up 90 feet, Stewart brought them both home on a double to right.
The inning continued when Casey Smit registered a pinch hit RBI single to right and Nick Graganella drove in his first run as a Seminole drawing a bases loaded walk. West brought home two with a pinch hit single to right, while Knief closed out the scoring in the inning with a sac-fly to left.
Billy Strode worked a scoreless eighth inning as he faced the minimum, while Taylor Blatch pitched the ninth and gave up a run on three hits as he struck out one.
Florida State and Maryland will return to the field for game two of the series on Saturday, March 8 with first pitch set for 2:00 p.m. The game will be streamed online at Seminoles.com All-Access. Fans can listen to the game on the All-Access player and locally on 100.7 FM. Live stats will be available via gametracker.
SOURCE: Florida State Seminoles