April 1, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Fourth-ranked Florida State (24-4, 11-1 ACC) pounded out 14 hits including seven of the extra base variety en route to an 11-4 victory over Virginia Tech (18-12, 2-10 ACC) Sunday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Florida State completed the sweep of the Hokies on Sunday marking its third series sweep of a Coastal Division opponent this year. The Seminoles have won all four league series this year and are off to their best start in the ACC since 2008 when the Garnet & Gold won 11 of their first 12 games in the league.
“That was an excellent weekend of baseball,” said head coach Mike Martin. “When you win two games, the third game is always so difficult because the other club is fighting like crazy not to lose three ball games. They know the trip going back is not going to be any fun and I have been in that situation. For our guys to accomplish what they did is certainly a tip of the hat from our coaching staff because they went out there today and got it done. Our guys did not hold back, they didn’t take anything for granted, they weren’t complacent, they didn’t go through the motions and that is a credit to them.”
The Seminoles brought out the lumber in game three registering five doubles, a triple and a grand slam home run off the bat Justin Gonzalez. Six Florida State hitters registered multiple hits on Sunday led by freshman John Holland who went a perfect 3-for-3 with two doubles, a single and two walks in his first collegiate start. Holland scored three times and finished the game reaching base on all five of his plate appearances.
Devon Travis, James Ramsey, Jayce Boyd, Gonzalez and Seth Miller each recorded two hits, while Ramsey and Jose Brizuela both drove in two runs. Gonzalez led all players on Sunday with four RBI as he connected on his first career grand slam in the first inning.
The Seminoles provided plenty of run support for starter Peter Miller who tied a career-high with 5.0 innings pitched and five strikeouts to move to 4-1 on the year. The sophomore right hander allowed just two runs on five hits and three walks.
“It was struggle today, I felt like I was scratching and clawing a few times,” said Miller. “I definitely did not have my best stuff but to only allow two runs, I will take that every time.”
Florida State sent 12 batters to the plate in the first scoring all six runs on two outs to knock Virginia Tech starter Andrew Aizenstadt (2-2) from the game after recording just two-thirds of an inning on Sunday.
The Hokies looked as if they were on their way to matching Peter Miller’s three up, three down performance in the top half of the first after Aizenstadt recorded a strikeout and a groundout. But the next nine batters reached on five hits and four walks.
Ramsey drew a walk to begin the two-out, first inning rally followed by a Boyd single and a walk to McGee. Gonzalez stepped in and ripped a 2-1 offering from Aizenstadt over the fence in left for a grand slam good for his second home run of the season. It marked the third grand slam hit by a Seminole this year.
“Any time you are in the position to help your team and get a comfortable lead is key,” said Gonzalez. “I was just fortunate to get a good pitch to hit and it went out. I couldn’t be happier.”
After Gonzalez gave the Seminoles a 4-0 lead, Seth Miller drew a walk and moved to third on double by Holland. Both runners would score on Brizuela’s double down the line in left to cap off FSU’s six-run first.
“I don’t think there is any question the first inning was the key to the ball game,” added Martin. “Sure we got solid pitching from everyone today, but for us to get six in the first was deflating for them.”
Virginia Tech cut into the lead in the third plating a run on an RBI groundout to short off the bat of Johnny Morales to score Gabe Ortiz who reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Seminoles answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-1 advantage. Miller and Holland opened the inning with back-to-back doubles as the latter scored Miller for the first run in the third. With runners at the corners after a groundout and walk to Johnson, Travis brought home Holland on an infield single to short. Ramsey cleared the bases with a two-run triple down the line in right.
The Hokies added their second run off Miller when Chad Pinder connected on the first of his two home runs on Sunday afternoon. The sophomore third baseman took a 1-2 offering from Miller over the fence in right for his third round tripper of the season.
FSU pushed its lead to 11-2 as Holland scored his third run of the afternoon on a wild pitch from Hokie reliever Eddie Campbell.
Virginia Tech pushed a run across in the sixth and seventh innings off Hunter Scantling and Brian Busch, respectively. Pinder went yard for the second time in game three taking the first pitch he saw from Scantling over the fence in right center.
Mark Zagunis connected on an RBI single to right off Busch in the seventh to score Ortiz, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Florida State will return to the diamond against Florida Gulf Coast for a two-game mid-week series beginning Tuesday, April 3. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Both games will air live over the internet on Seminoles All-Access, while fans can listen to the game locally on 1270 AM and over the internet at Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can receive updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.