March 8, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – If you’re within earshot of the Florida State baseball dugout during any game, you’ve likely heard Seminole coach Mike Martin’s constant reminder:
“Two-out hits win ballgames.”
Heeding Martin’s words, sophomore first baseman Jayce Boyd has been extending innings and driving in runs at an incredible pace through the first dozen games for the fifth-ranked Seminoles.
Boyd extended his team lead in two-out run production Tuesday night, driving in four runs in a 3-for-4 performance which helped the Seminoles (11-1) to a 10-2 win over Maine at Dick Howser Stadium.
All three of Boyd’s hits came with two outs, but his two-run singles in the first and second innings enabled FSU to get off to a 6-0 start which the road weary Black Bears (3-10) never threatened.
“We got good pitching out of [starter Gary] Merians and played errorless baseball,” Martin said. “And that’s very encouraging. From a coaching standpoint, that’s encouraging to see a team come off of a week in which we played Florida, Georgia … it was gratifying to watch us play tonight.”
Merians (3-0) remained perfect on the season with five solid innings, yielding two earned runs on six hits. FSU relievers Tyler Everett, Jack Posey, Robby Scott and Mack Waugh each worked an inning to close out the contest. Maine managed one hit off the quartet, which combined for six strikeouts without issuing a free pass.
It was an enviable late-inning situation to be in, thanks to the Seminoles’ continued two-out run production, led by Boyd. Through 12 games the FSU has scored 107 runs; 51 of which have been driven in or scored with two outs after pushing eight two-out runs across the plate against the Black Bears.
Boyd pushed his team-leading total to 12 two-out RBI with his first two singles and tacked out a two-out double in the fourth. He is now 10-for-19 on the season when batting with two outs.
“There’s a little more pressure because you know if you don’t get the hit the inning is over, but at the same time you have to stay within yourself,” Boyd said. “It’s all about your teammates and when they put you in the situation, to know that they count on you and rely on you to produce in the two-out situations. It’s something important to me and I take a lot of pride in it.”
Martin attributes much of Boyd’s success to the maturity he gained as a freshman starter last season.
“He’s getting to understand the game better and getting some good swings,” Martin said. “There’s something to be said about a guy who drives in runs, especially two-out runs.”
Devon Travis, Mike McGee and Stuart Tapley contributed two hits each to Tuesday night’s 15-hit attack. Tapley’s first mult-hit game of the season included a leadoff homer in the third, which rattled around the top of the scoreboard in left. The blast came after his two-run single to close out a four-run first.
Tapley, who had been mired in a season-long slump, was beaming as he circled the bases following his first four-bagger of the season and 29th of his career.
“When you’re going bad you’ll take anything – swinging bunts, little bloop shots over first base – it doesn’t matter,” Tapley said. “Once you start getting on base you start to feel like you’re getting your confidence back. You start running the bases and scoring a few runs here and there, drawing a couple walks, the next thing you know you’re hitting balls out of the ballpark.”
With foul weather expected to arrive later in the day, Wednesday’s game with Maine has been moved to a 12 noon start. Junior right-hander Hunter Scantling will make his first start of the season for the Seminoles in what amounts to a business man’s luncheon game, with $1 hot dogs available at the stadium.