March 2, 2001
Tallahassee, Fla. – The 19th-ranked Florida State Seminoles (7-5) got a strong outing from junior starter Blair Varnes as they defeated Michigan State (0-3), 7-4, in front of 2,089 fans at Dick Howser Stadium. Varnes (2-1) earned the victory after pitching seven scoreless innings and giving up just three hits. He struck out six and walked two.
“Blair Varnes pitched very well,” said head coach Mike Martin. “That was his best outing of the year. He seems to be throwing as hard as I’ve ever seen him throw. His pitching set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Chris Cole started a Seminole rally in the fourth when he grounded to the pitcher and went all the way to third on a throwing error. Karl Jernigan then walked and stole second before Mike Futrell came through with a two-run double to center. Brett Groves knocked in Futrell with a base hit to make it 3-0. FSU’s fourth run came when Groves stole second, third and home – his first three stolen bases of the season.
“Brett can be that type of captain for us,” said Martin. “He can create those kind of things when he is on base.”
FSU added another run in the fifth when John-Ford Griffin walked and came around to score on a double by Cole.
Griffin made it 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh when he belted a two-run homer deep over the right field fence. Griffin’s homer extended his hitting streak to eight games and scored Bryan Zech, who had singled.
Michigan State took advantage of two FSU errors in the top of the eighth, scoring four runs without a hit. The first run scored when reliever Eric Roman hit Bob Malek with the bases loaded. Three more runs crossed the plate when Richie Smith couldn’t come up with Brady Burrill’s liner to left with the bases loaded.
“There is no question that too many errors are being made,” said Martin. “This is not Florida State baseball, but the bottom line is we won the game.”
Futrell was 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI to pace the Seminoles offensively.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 2:00 p.m. with LHP Matt Lynch (1-1) scheduled to start for FSU.