March 31, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Fourth-ranked Florida State (23-4, 10-1 ACC) received another stellar outing from its freshman starter Mike Compton as the Seminoles defeated Virginia Tech (18-11, 2-9 ACC) 2-1 Saturday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Compton (6-0) went 7.2 innings, the longest stint of any Seminole starter this year, and recorded a career-high eight strikeouts to become the first six-game winner in the ACC this year. Compton out dueled Virginia Tech starter Marc Zecchino (2-4), who worked 7.0 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits as he struck out six and walked three.
“It was an outstanding performance by Michael Compton,” said head coach Mike Martin. “You got to complement their guy (Zecchino), he did a very good job. It was just a well-played college baseball game tonight”
“It was a fastball, slider combination (working for me), I got ahead of hitters a lot tonight and did not walk anyone,” said Compton. “I just let the defense play as usual. Stephen McGee was awesome behind the plate, giving me a lot of strikes. I felt really good about my outing tonight.”
Florida State scored both of its runs in the fourth as Devon Travis led off the inning with a double to right center and advanced to third on a single to center by James Ramsey. The senior captain would move into second on a fielding error by Virginia Tech first baseman Brendon Hayden. Travis scored the game’s first run on an RBI groundout to second by Jayce Boyd and Ramsey would follow with the second run on a sac-fly to right off the bat of Stephen McGee.
“We happened to have a series of outstanding at-bats by Devon, Rammer, Jayce and McGee in the fourth,” added Martin. “Jayce does a good job of hitting to drive in a run and then we get another run driven in by McGee. That’s it. I don’t remember a game this year in which we had so few base runners. You really have to credit Virginia Tech; they came out and played a good ball game. I am just very pleased that we were able to pull that one off tonight.”
Travis’ double was his team leading 13th of the season, while Ramsey’s single extended his hitting streak to a team-high 12 games. Sherman Johnson recorded a walk in the first inning to extend his streak of reaching base to 27 straight games. Jose Brizuela also registered a single in the third and is now hitting .316 in 10 league games this year.
The runs in the fourth would be all the run support Compton would need as the freshman right hander retired the first six Hokie batters that he faced while facing the minimum in an inning four times Saturday night. He did not walk a batter and became the first Seminole starter to not issue a walk this year. Florida State did not surrender a walk Saturday night for the first time in a game this season.
“We know we have a rested bullpen,” said Martin on getting back-to-back 7.0 plus inning performances from his starters this weekend.
Virginia Tech put pressure on Compton in the third as the first two batters reached on a pair of infield singles, but the Branson, Mo., native struck out Sean Keselica and then forced Mark Zagunis to ground into an inning ending double play.
The only run for the Hokies on Saturday night came on a solo shot to right by Tyler Horan in the fifth. The redshirt sophomore left fielder led off the inning taking a 2-0 pitch from Compton out of the park to right for his seventh home run of the season to cut the Florida State lead to 2-1.
Compton would then give up a one-out double to Hayden in the fifth, but would retire the next two Hokie hitters on strikeouts to maintain FSU’s one-run advantage.
“He plays in advance of a freshman,” added Martin on Compton’s poise on the mound. “I am very pleased with that. He and Leibrandt both seem to be in total control of their emotions and of the situation. They have a good baseball head on their shoulders.”
Virginia Tech looked to push across the tying run in the sixth as Zagunis led off the inning with a single to center, stole second and advanced to third on a sac-bunt by Alex Perez. Compton would leave Zagunis at third as he struck out Chad Pinder and got Johnny Morales to groundout to Justin Gonzalez at short for the final out of the inning.
Compton retired the next five batters before giving up a two-out bloop single to right to Zagunis in the eighth. That would be the final batter he would face as Compton left the game to a standing ovation in front of a packed crowd of 6,158, the largest crowd of the season and 18th largest in school history.
Bryant Holtmann came on and threw just two pitches as McGee threw a bullet down to Gonzalez at second to catch Zagunis stealing for the final out in the eighth.
The ninth inning belonged to Robert Benincasa as the junior right hander retired the side in order to pick up his league leading ninth save of the season. The Tampa, Fla., native added a strikeout in the inning and is now a perfect 9-for-9 in save situations this year.
Florida State and Virginia Tech will return to the diamond for the third and final game of the series on Sunday, April 1 at 1:00 p.m. The game will air live over the internet on ESPN3, while fans can listen to the game locally on 100.7 FM and over the internet at Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can receive updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.