Feb. 17, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State (1-0) registered its 14-consecutive opening day victory defeating Hofstra (0-1) 9-2 in Friday’s season opener in front of 4,849 fans on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
The Seminoles blasted four home runs and received a solid pitching performance from freshman starter Brandon Leibrandt (1-0) to remain undefeated all-time against the Pride in 14 all-time meetings.
“We are very pleased with the start,” said head coach Mike Martin. “It was an exciting day. I was very impressed with the Hofstra team. It was a good game and I thought that our guys had some big hits. I am very, very proud with the way we played.”
“It was definitely an atmosphere out there,” said Leibrandt, who made history Friday night as the first freshman to start an opening day game at Florida State. “I didn’t realize how big it was until I stepped out on the mound. I actually got the chills when I heard my name running out there; heard the crowd cheering, there was nothing like it.
Eight of the nine Seminole runs came off a home run as Jayce Boyd, Jose Brizuela, James Ramsey and Seth Miller all went yard on Friday. Sherman Johnson, Justin Gonzalez and Miller paced the Seminole offense with two hits apiece, while Miller led all players with a career-high four RBI.
“I can’t tell you what that does for us, to see a mixture of veterans and new guys contributing on opening day,” said Martin. “Brizuela is not a home run hitter, but if you leave the ball in the wrong spot, he will do damage. Rammer and Jayce, that is why they hit third and fourth in the line-up, we hope that is what they will do for us all season long.”
Hofstra grabbed an early 1-0 lead off Leibrandt (1-0) in the first as Pride catcher Matt Reistetter brought home Matt Ford on a two-out RBI single through the left side. But the freshman southpaw settled in nicely allowing just two more hits over the next 4.0 innings to earn his first collegiate win in his first career start.
“He was pitching his first game at Florida State and was a little jittery,” added Martin on Leibrandt making his first career start. “He did not locate as well as he can, but he had a great game in the way he took control of the situation. He did not panic; he did not start wondering if things were going to happen for him. He fought through it. Starting in the third inning he looked like Brandon Leibrandt.”
After allowing a double to start the second, Leibrandt did not give up another hit until a two-out single in the fifth by Pride shortstop Dalton Rouleau. The Seminole starter finished the game working 5.0 innings allowing just one run on three hits as he walked four and struck out two.
“I felt like I was able to make pitches when I needed after finally calming down,” said Leibrandt. “My fastball command was okay and I walked some guys but there were times that I needed to buckle down, hit my spots and get some outs.”
With the Seminoles down 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Boyd took the first pitch he saw from Hofstra starter Jared Rogers (0-1) over the fence in right center for his 17th career round tripper to tie the game at one. Dating back to last season, the home run by Boyd was his fourth in the last five games. The hit also extended his hitting streak to seven games.
After a one-out single by Gonzalez, Brizuela gave the Seminoles the lead for good blasting a 1-1 offering from Rogers off the light pole in right center for a two-run shot. The hit was the freshman left fielders first of his career.
Ramsey added to FSU’s lead in the fourth connecting on a solo shot to right for his 22nd career home run to give the Seminoles a 4-1 advantage.
Miller broke the game open in the sixth with one swing of the bat as he registered his first career grand slam unloading on a 0-1 pitch from Pride reliever David Jesch. Jesch found himself in trouble as he issued a walk to John Nogowski, a single to Gonzalez and a two-out walk to Stephen McGee.
“It felt good,” said Miller on hitting his first career grand slam. “I was sitting dead red fastball. Eleven (Mike Martin) told me to take a breaking ball until I got two strikes, so I was looking fastball and he threw it right down the plate. I was able to square it up and hit it well.”
Florida State added one more run in the sixth as Boyd drove in his second run of the game drawing a bases loaded walk to score Devon Travis and give the Seminoles a 9-1 lead.
Hofstra added its second run in the ninth off Seminole reliever Kyle Bird to cap off the scoring on Friday night. Reistetter drew a walk to open the top of the ninth and came all the way around to score on a double down the line in left off the bat of T.J. Thomas. Bird would settle down as he recorded a strike out, fly out and bunt groundout to Nogowski at first to close out the game.
Brian Busch worked the sixth and seventh innings and allowed just two hits. He struck out one and was quite effective in his first appearance throwing only 20 pitches.
Gage Smith made his first career appearance in the eighth and worked a scoreless inning retiring all three batters that he faced on groundouts.
Thomas registered half of Hofstra’s hits on Friday to pace the Pride offense finishing the game 3-for-4 with an RBI.
The Seminoles and Pride return to the diamond for game two of the series on Saturday, February 18 at 2:00 p.m. The game will air live over the internet on Seminoles All-Access, while live stats will be available via gametracker. Fans can listen to all the action locally on 100.7 FM and on the internet at Seminoles.com.
Sophomore Peter Miller will take the mound for the Seminoles on Saturday making his first career start, while John Tiedemann gets the start for the Pride.