March 22, 2014
CLEMSON, S.C. – Behind a complete game effort from Brandon Leibrandt, top-ranked Florida State (18-4, 6-2) defeated No. 13 Clemson (14-8, 6-2), 11-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon inside Doug Kingsmore Stadium to even the weekend series at a game apiece.
“It was a game that was obviously extremely important and he (Brandon) did an outstanding job of changing speeds, pitching to spots; he was in total control of that baseball game,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said.
Leibrandt had the Tiger offense off-balanced all game long holding the ACC’s best hitting team to just four hits on the afternoon en route to throwing his second career complete game and first covering nine innings. His first career complete game came in an eight-inning loss at Virginia back on April 20, 2013.
“He changes eye levels so well,” added Martin. “He will throw the ball up in the zone, he will throw it down in the zone; away, in, three pitches, he just is very difficult to get comfortable in there against.”
The Alpharetta, Ga., native allowed an unearned run on four hits as he walked two and struck out one as it marked the second time this year a Seminole pitcher has gone the distance. Mike Compton threw a complete game shutout against Maryland back on March 9 in Tallahassee.
“I didn’t feel like I had my best off-speed stuff today but I feel like I made enough good pitches and got enough weak contact to keep them off-balanced just enough,” said Leibrandt. “I tried that throughout the whole game and it worked.
“Anytime you go nine innings and give up one run, it’s a good feeling especially when you get the `W’ after last night’s game.”
The Florida State offense gave Leibrandt all the run support he would need following a four-run third inning that chased Clemson starter Matthew Crownover (4-2) from the game after just 2.2 innings of work.
“It helps with confidence knowing that you can go out there, attack the zone and not necessarily shut them down after every pitch you have to throw,” added Leibrandt on the Seminoles giving him an early lead. “They did their job and I was fortunate enough to do mine.”
The top four hitters in the Seminole line-up all registered at least two hits apiece as Florida State pounded out 18 hits in the win to tie a season-high.
DJ Stewart paced the offense in game one as he tied a career-high with four hits. Stewart finished 4-for-5 with a home run, double, three RBI and two runs scored.
John Nogowski registered his second three-hit game of the season to tie a career-high, while Justin Gonzalez also picked up three hits for his sixth multi-hit game of the season. Gonzalez drove in a season-high three runs as he finished with two doubles and a single.
Nine of FSU’s 11 runs in the first game of the doubleheader game on two outs.
The Noles took advantage of a Clemson error to break through first in game one of the doubleheader scoring four unearned runs in the top of the third off Crownover. Nogowski opened the scoring in the inning with an RBI single through the left side plating Gonzalez from third. The next three runs all came with two outs in the inning as Knief drove in two on a single through the left side followed by a bloop single to center by Sansone to score Knief.
Florida State plated two more runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 6-0. The big hit came off the bat of Gonzalez as the senior shortstop delivered a two-out, two-run double to the gap in right center. West and Delph scored on the play as the Seminoles pushed their lead to six.
Clemson plated its only run in the bottom of the fifth taking advantage of a Seminole throwing error. Jay Baum registered a triple down the line in right and scored as Sansone’s relay throw to third sailed high of the bag allowing Baum to score and cut the deficit to 6-1.
The Seminoles pushed their lead back to six with a run in the seventh to make the score 7-1. West led off the inning with a double to the gap in left center and scored two batters later on an RBI groundout by Delph.
FSU added four more runs in the ninth for the winning margin at 11-1. The inning was highlighted by a two-out RBI double by Gonzalez and then Stewart’s three-run home run to right center for his fourth round tripper of the season.
The two teams will conclude the weekend series with game two of the doubleheader at 6:30 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN3. Fans can listen to the game on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally on 100.7 FM. Live stats will be available via www.clemsontigers.com.