Feb. 3, 2001
GRIFFIN LEADS NO. 4 SEMINOLES PAST WESTERN KENTUCKY, 5-4
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior All-American John-Ford Griffin led No. 4 Florida State (1-0) past Western Kentucky (0-1) on opening day at Dick Howser Stadium. Griffin went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in the Seminoles’ 5-4 victory. Starting pitcher Blair Varnes earned the win, working five innings without allowing an earned run while striking out four.
After a game-opening error by right fielder Mike Futrell, Western Kentucky jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. The error, which allowed leadoff hitter David Lower to reach third, proved costly when designated hitter Jeff Pacholke lined a two-out double to score Lower.
The Seminoles answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. Brett Groves drew a walk to start the inning and advanced to third on a Griffin single. With runners at the corners, Hilltopper starter Ryan Hutchison balked, sending Groves home with FSU’s first run.
The Tribe went up 2-1 when second baseman Scott Toole singled home center fielder Richie Smith in the bottom of the second.
Up 2-1, both pitching staffs battled through the next four innings, until Griffin came up big in the seventh. Toole opened up the inning with a single and shortstop Brett Groves followed with a walk. With runners on first and second, Griffin stepped to the plate and ripped his first home run of the season over the right field fence to give FSU a 5-1 advantage.
Western Kentucky made it interesting in the top of the ninth with three runs off reliever Brent Pearson, but sophomore Nick Whidden came in from the bullpen and recorded the final three outs of the game to secure the victory and pick up the save.