March 10, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida State (12-0) continued its winning ways Wednesday night with a 6-2 victory over North Florida (6-7) on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles won for the third straight time over the Ospreys, while running their record to 7-1 all-time against UNF.
Freshman Robert Benincasa (1-0) pitched a career-high six innings allowing just one run on five hits in earning his first collegiate victory. The right hander from Tampa, Fla., retired the Ospreys in order three times on Wednesday, while facing no more than four batters in five of the six innings that he pitched. Benincasa was also the beneficiary of two beautifully turned groundball double plays that began at first base with Jayce Boyd to end the fourth and sixth innings.
“I thought Benincasa pitched very well and was well deserving of his first collegiate win,” said head coach Mike Martin. “He battled all night long and did a very good job of keeping his poise after giving up the home run to (Preston) Hale. He pitched a very good ball game tonight.”
“It really felt great to get the first win under my belt, I can really focus now and concentrate on my pitches and making the best pitches I can from here on out,” said Benincasa. “It was great. I struggled in the first inning obviously, but throughout the game I got a lot more comfortable and was able to settle down.”
Boyd had solid night both offensively and defensively for the Noles. The Cantonment, Fla., native went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles and two RBI, while turning in a career-high 13 putouts.
Mike McGee also paced the Seminole offense knocking in three runs on a pair of hits including a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth and an RBI double in the sixth. Stuart Tapley went 2-for-3 with a two singles and reached base on three of his four plate appearances recording a walk in his first at-bat in the second.
“I felt I hit the ball well tonight,” said McGee. “It definitely feels nice to have a good offensive performance. I got that pitch pretty good, I got my body out in front a little bit but was able to keep my hands back enough to where I put the ball on the barrel of the bat.”
UNF was first to strike on Wednesday thanks to a two-out solo shot off the bat of Preston Hale. The senior right fielder drilled the first pitch he saw from Benincasa off the speaker post beyond the wall in left center for his second round tripper of the season and a 1-0 Osprey lead.
“That bunch really scraped all night long, they out hit us and did a lot of things that impressed me tonight,” said Martin on the play of UNF. “I tell you what; I can’t say I look forward to playing them two more times.”
The lead was short lived as the Seminoles took advantage of a UNF fielding error in the bottom of the third to tie the game at one a piece. Rafael Lopez led off the inning with a ground ball that went through the legs of Osprey first baseman Andrew Karmeris. The play resulted in a two base error as Lopez raced into second base. Two pitches later, Boyd would tie the game lacing an RBI double to the gap in right center plating Lopez for the first Seminole run of the evening.
The Seminoles would finally get to Osprey starter Robbie Collier (2-1) in the fifth scoring all four runs on two outs. With James Ramsey on at third following a one out walk, a wild pitch and groundout to second, McGee stepped in and powered a 3-2 offering from Collier over the scoreboard in left center for a two-run shot and his second home run of the season.
“Michael’s hit was no question the big hit of the ball game,” said Martin. “We were not in a lull by any stretch of the imagination. We just needed some one to pick us up and Michael did a good job of doing just that.”
A base hit to Tapley ended the evening for Collier, who lasted 4.2 innings, in suffering his first loss of the season. Kyle Westwood came on in relief of Collier and could not get an out as he faced just three batters before handing the ball over to Tommy Organ. Justin Gonzalez drove in Tapley for the third run of the inning on a base hit through the right side of the infield to extend his hit streak to a career best eight games. Boyd would account for the final run of the inning driving in Sherman Johnson as he drew a bases loaded walk from Organ.
The Seminoles plated their final run of the game in the sixth as McGee doubled down the line in left bringing home Cardullo, who scored all the way from first.
Hunter Scantling pitched a perfect seventh facing the minimum on just eight pitches. Tye Buckley threw the eighth and gave up a run on three hits. Hale recorded his second RBI of the evening doubling to the gap in left center to bring home T.J. Thompson. With the Ospreys looking to do further damage, the junior southpaw got designated hitter David Eldredge looking on a called third strike to end the threat.
Andrew Durden pitched the ninth and recorded a walk and a strikeout to preserve the victory.
“I was certainly glad to see Scantling, Buckley and Durden pitch well,” added Martin.
The Seminoles return to the diamond on Friday, March 12 against No. 1 Virginia, in the ACC opener for both teams. Friday and Saturday’s games will air live over the internet on Seminoles.com All-Access, while Sunday’s game will broadcast live on Sun Sports. Fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team and 94.3 FM (Friday), 100.7 FM (Saturday and Sunday) and on the web at Seminoles.com. First pitch for game one on Friday is set for 6:00 p.m.