May 6, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – A pair of four-run innings in the second and third provided top-ranked Florida State (39-7, 21-2 ACC) a lead they would not relinquish Sunday afternoon as the Seminoles rolled to a 9-2 victory over Maryland (39-22, 8-18 ACC) in front of 4,242 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Behind a four-hit performance from Jayce Boyd and Justin Gonzalez’ second grand slam of the season, the Seminoles tied a season-best with their 10th straight win, while running their home win streak over the Terps to 22 in a row.
The win also marked FSU’s eighth ACC series victory of the season reducing its magic number to clinch the league’s regular season title to two.
“It was a very well played baseball game on our part,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I am very proud of the way our guys played all day long.”
Boyd finished the afternoon with his third four-hit game of the season as the junior first baseman went 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. The bottom third of the order did a bulk of the damage on Sunday as Gonzalez, Stephen Spradling and Josh Delph combined for five of FSU’s 10 hits while driving in eight of the nine runs.
“That is what we are striving for to get everyone involved,” added Martin. “That undoubtedly was huge; they drove in eight of the nine runs for us this afternoon. I am just pleased with this baseball team’s approach to the game. They come out here every day ready to play baseball.”
“That’s been the mentality of this offense to be aggressive, attack and win every inning,” said Gonzalez. “Fortunately, that is something that we have been able to do throughout this season. We can’t always let the top of the order have all the fun, so luckily over the last couple of game we have been able to put it together.”
Florida State gave FSU starter Mike Compton all the run support he would need spotting the freshman right hander with an eight-run lead after three innings of play. Compton, who improved to 9-0 on the season, worked 5.0 innings allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits as he walked two and struck out six.
“Getting a big lead early makes things a lot easier because you can really focus on hitting your spots,” said Compton. “Whenever you get a lead like that you don’t want to become complacent and let them feel like they can get back in the game.”
The Seminoles wasted little time cracking the scoreboard on Sunday as Spradling and Delph drove in a pair of runs on back-to-back hits in the second. Florida State started the inning loading the bases off Maryland starter Michael Boyden (2-3) on a single by Boyd and walks to Stephen McGee and Gonzalez. Spradling found the hole through the right side of the infield to plate a pair, while Delph cleared the bases with a two-run double to left.
FSU doubled its lead thanks to a monster grand slam off the bat of Gonzalez in the third. Boyd ripped a single back up the middle, followed by a walk to McGee and a hit-by-pitch to John Nogowski to load the bases. Gonzalez then took a 1-0 pitch from Boyden over the fence in left center for his seventh home run of the season and second grand slam this year. It marked the second straight game in which the junior shortstop has left the yard.
“We took advantage of our scoring opportunities (early in the game),” said Martin. “Of course, you don’t expect to see one of your guys hit it out of the ballpark with the bases loaded, but we did a good job of taking advantage of our opportunities.”
“I tried to be aggressive early in the count,” said Gonzalez. “I just let the game come to me and was fortunate enough to get a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Maryland cut into the deficit in the fifth plating two runs off Compton to narrow the margin to 8-2. With the bases loaded and one out, Tim Kiene hit a groundball to Boyd, who went to second in search of an inning ending double play. But Gonzalez mishandled the ball allowing Kyle Convissar and Matt Bosse to score the only Terrapin runs of the game. Compton shut the door on any further runs scoring as he struck out Tomo Delp and KJ Hockaday to end the inning.
The Seminole bullpen kept the Maryland bats at bay the rest of the way as Gage Smith and Bryant Holtmann each delivered two shutout innings in relief. Smith allowed a hit and a walk, while striking out one of the eight batters that he faced. Holtmann worked the eighth and ninth innings as he walked one and struck out two.
FSU added to its lead in the eighth on an RBI single by Boyd scoring John Holland, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Garnet & Gold improved to 11-0 at home in the ACC, while it marked their 12th consecutive series victory this year.
“It is just such a huge honor to do that,” said Boyd on not dropping a series this year. “It is just a pride thing. There is a lot of maturity, a lot of good leaders on this team. We do a good job of keeping our composure and play the game.”
Florida State and Maryland will square-off in the series finale on Monday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. in a game shown live on ESPNU. Fans can listen to the game locally on 1270 AM and over the internet on Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can receive updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.