Feb. 29, 2000
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 1 Florida State (14-2) overcame a slow start to defeat
the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (9-7) this afternoon at Dick Howser
Stadium. RHP Blair Varnes had a solid outing for FSU on the mound while
left fielder John-Ford Griffin and shortstop Brett Groves had two hits apiece.
“It was a very competitive ball game,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “If
their second baseman makes that catch on the Brett Groves‘ line drive in the
fourth inning we have a different game on our hands.”
Varnes improved to 2-1 with his most impressive start this season. Varnes
did not allow an earned run (two unearned) over six innings in the win.
“Blair was very sharp today,” said Martin. “When we struggled a little bit
with those errors in the third inning he kept his composure and got us in
the dugout. He was getting his sidearm stuff over and had better velocity
today. He is a guy who is very important to the success of this ball club.”
Varnes did not walk a Buccaneer batter while striking out a career-high
nine batters. He gave up just six hits, none of which were for extra bases.
“It seems like my problem has been not getting warm enough,” said Varnes.
“It has been taking me two or three innings to get going. I felt good out
there today and I think I could have gone a couple more innings if I needed
to. I have to avoid the big inning early.”
Charleston Southern scored their only runs of the game in the third inning,
taking advantage of three Seminole errors. Second baseman Jay Corrigale
reached on an error by FSU third baseman Pichi Balet and then stole second.
Left fielder Ted Malikowski then reached on an error by second basemen
Marshall McDougall and Corrigale scored. First baseman Brandon Massey then
singled to center to score Malikowski and make it 2-0 CSU.
Florida State got one run back in the third when Groves singled, stole
second and scored on right fielder Chris Smith’s double to right field.
In the bottom of the fourth, FSU scored four to take a 5-2 lead. First
baseman Ryan Barthelemy started the rally with a walk, center fielder Karl
Jernigan singled and designated hitter Mike Futrell loaded the bases when he
drew the second walk of the inning. Groves had what proved to be the
game-winning hit when his line drive was just out of the reach of
Corrigale’s glove at second. Barthelemy and Jernigan scored on the play to
put the Tribe up for good. FSU added two more runs when catcher Blair
McCaleb plated Groves and Futrell with a single.
Griffin made it 6-2 with his third home run of the season and McCaleb had
another RBI with a sacrifice fly in the seventh to complete the scoring.
CSU RHP Chad Humbert took the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits in
5.2 innings. Humbert struck out nine Seminoles in the loss and walked three.
Freshman LHP Daniel Hodges worked the seventh and the eighth without giving
up a run and striking out three. Smith finished things off with two
srikeouts in a scoreless ninth. Varnes, Hodges and Smith combined for 14
strikeouts without allowing a walk.
Groves tied a pair of personal bests with three runs scored and three
stolen bases in a game, while Smith extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
FSU will start freshman LHP Matt Lynch (1-0) instead of junior RHP John
Bentley (1-0) on Wednesday. Game time is 3.30 p.m.
“Lynch will go tomorrow,” said Martin. “Bentley is a little bit tender so
we aren’t going to risk it. He’ll start next week in Daytona.”
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