Feb. 28, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 2 Florida State (6-1) fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Friday afternoon falling to No. 14 Miami (5-3), 3-1, in the first of a three-game, non-conference series on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
“Very impressed with the Miami club,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said following Friday night’s game. “Defensively, they were as solid as I expected; offensively I thought they were very impressive. They did a good job of getting good pitches to hit and got it done when they needed to.”
Hurricane starter Chris Diaz (3-0) stymied the Seminole bats in game one as the junior southpaw scattered four hits over 7.0 innings allowing just one unearned run as he walked two and struck out six.
“Very, very impressed with Diaz,” added Martin. “Good looking pitcher that we’ve seen a number of times; he was very sharp tonight.”
A strikeout to get out of a third inning jam led to Diaz retiring 11 straight Seminole hitters. John Sansone snapped the streak drawing a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh.
“He did a good job of keeping us off-balanced,” said senior captain Justin Gonzalez on the performance of Diaz. “He was throwing strikes, getting ahead early and then had us chasing pitches we shouldn’t have been chasing, so sometimes you just have to tip your cap to him.”
Bryan Garcia worked the final two innings to earn his third save of the season.
Florida State put runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings but Garcia closed the door both times to preserve the win. After issuing a one-out walk to DJ Stewart in the eighth, Garcia got out of the jam on the very next pitch getting Brett Knief to ground into an inning ending double play.
In the ninth, Sansone sparked a two-out rally with a single through the left side, but it was to no avail as the Hurricanes closed the door on their first victory in Tallahassee since April 23, 2010 when Garcia got Ben DeLuzio to groundout to short to end the game. The win for Miami snapped FSU’s five-game winning streak at home against its intra-state rival.
“Our side of the ball, I thought Luke, Taylor Blatch and Gager gave us chances to win,” said Martin. “The other club just would not have anything to do with it, so you just tip your hat to Miami and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Luke Weaver (2-1) did his part to keep the Seminoles in the game throwing 6.0 innings in his third start of the season. The junior right hander gave up three runs, one earned, on six hits as he walked two and tied a season-high with seven strikeouts.
Gonzalez led the Florida State offense on Friday night with two hits including a double and a single while scoring the lone Seminole run of the game in the bottom of the first.
In the first, Gonzalez laced a stand-up double to the gap in left center, moved to third on a groundout to short by Stewart and scored on a throwing error by David Thompson at third on a groundball off the bat of Knief.
The Seminoles threatened in the bottom of third as the first two batters to the plate reached on a double down the line in left by Josh Delph and an infield single by Gonzalez. But with runners at the corners and no outs, Diaz would get out of the inning unscathed. The Florida City, Fla., native got Stewart swinging on strikes for the first out and then forced Knief to push his safety squeeze right back to the mound to get Delph out at the plate. The Hurricane starter ended the inning as John Nogowski went down on strikes.
“That was one of the keys no question,” added Martin on Diaz working out of the jam in the third. “That was a real feather in Diaz’ hat and he got one of the best hitters in college baseball out. Then did a good job of fielding his position on the safety (squeeze) and there we are. Credit them for doing an outstanding job of making pitches (when they needed to).”
Miami tied the game in the fourth when Willie Abreu legged out an infield single to second and then advanced to second after Weaver walked Zack Collins. Abreu moved up 90 feet on a passed ball and later scored on a sac-fly to center off the bat of Alex Hernandez.
The Hurricanes gave Diaz all the run support he would need in the fifth pushing across two runs for what would be the final margin. Miami registered three straight one-out singles by Dale Carey, Tyler Palmer and Brad Fieger with the third manufacturing a run. Fieger sent a groundball in the whole between short and third that Gonzalez would glove. The throw to first one-hopped Nogowski allowing Carey to score to give the Canes a 2-1 lead. Thompson would push Miami’s lead to 3-1 as his sac-fly to center scored Palmer.
Making his second career appearance on the mound Friday night, Taylor Blatch was very impressive throwing 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. The freshman right hander retired the first seven batters that he faced before issuing a one-out walk to Garrett Kennedy in the ninth. Blatch finished his outing with two strikeouts while not allowing a hit.
Gage Smith got the final out in the ninth with two runners on as Palmer flew out to right to end the threat.
The two schools are back at it for game two of the series on Saturday, March 1 with first pitch at 2:00 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN3, while fans can listen to the game on Seminoles.com All-Access and locally on 100.7 FM. Live stats will be available via gametracker.