March 14, 2004
Tallahassee, Fla. – No. 19 Florida State (16-5) completed a three-game sweep of Michigan State (4-7) by a final score of 4-0 Sunday afternoon in front of 3,086 fans at Dick Howser Stadium. Mark Sauls (1-1) picked up his first win of the season after pitching five scoreless innings. Sauls had four strikeouts and two walks. Rhett James and Brian Schultz relieved Sauls and held the Spartans scoreless to give the Seminoles their second shutout of the season. Aaron Cheesman led the FSU offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
“The pitching staff did an outstanding job today,” said Florida State head coach Mike Martin. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Jamey Shouppe is the best pitching coach in the country. He’s done an excellent job with this year’s staff.”
Ryne Malone hit his first home run of the season to lead off the fifth inning, a deep shot over the fence in right center, to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead.
FSU added another run in the sixth to push the lead to 2-0. Cheesman singled and advanced to second on an errant throw from third baseman James Moreno. Derrick Smith’s single to right moved Cheesman to third before he scored as Shane Robinson grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Michigan State put runners in scoring position in the sixth inning but James pitched strong to keep them off the board. With a runner on second and no outs, James entered the game in relief of Sauls and gave up a base hit to put runners on second and third with nobody out. James struck out the next three batters to preserve the shutout.
“Rhett did a good job of keeping his composure and getting us in the dugout without any runs scored,” said Martin. “That was the key moment in the game.”
The Seminoles scored two insurance runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach at 4-0. Gibbs Chapman walked and moved to second and Eddy Martinez-Esteve reached on an error. Cheesman’s two-out, two-run double to left center plated Chapman and Martinez-Esteve.
Michigan State starter Jeff Gerbe took the loss after allowing two runs on six hits in 5.2 innings. Gerbe walked one and struck out four.
Florida State will return to action against Jacksonville on Wednesday at Dick Howser Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. Shortstop Stephen Drew, who missed the Michigan State series with an injury, is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday.