March 24, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (seminoles.com) – Two home runs and a solid pitching performance from the Seminoles Saturday evening led fourth-ranked Florida State (21-2, 8-0 ACC) to a 3-2 victory over Wake Forest (16-8, 3-4 ACC) on Gene Hooks Field inside Wake Forest Baseball Stadium.
James Ramsey and Justin Gonzalez both left the yard on Saturday accounting for all three runs in game two as the Seminoles registered their second straight one-run victory over the Deacs, while improving to 6-0 in one-run games on the year.
“It was a well-played game,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I am just very, very pleased with the fact that we were able to come out with the win. It is always tough to play on the road.”
“Fortunately tonight we were blessed that Rammer hit a shot and I was able to provide a timely hit,” added Gonzalez.
Mike Compton (5-0) gave Florida State another solid outing as the freshman right hander worked 5.0 plus innings allowing two runs on six hits as he walked two and struck out a pair. Both runs for Wake Forest came in the second inning as Carlos Lopez and Charlie Morgan connected on back-to-back solo home runs.
“When they hit back-to-back home runs, I thought Compton kept his poise, settled down and pitched well,” added Martin.
The Seminole bullpen was stellar once again as Kyle Bird, Bryant Holtmann and Robert Benincasa pitched the final 4.0 innings. The trio blanked the Demon Deacons giving up just four hits and no walks while combining to strike out seven.
Bird struck out a career-high three batters, while Benincasa worked around two singles in the ninth retiring the side on three strike outs to record his eighth save in as many chances this year.
“All three guys pitched well tonight,” said Martin. “Compton pitched well and deserved the win. Of course, Bird, Holtmann and Benincasa did a very good job. I was very pleased with their effort tonight.”
“Compton faced a lot of adversity tonight, but he came through for us which shows a lot from a freshman,” said Gonzalez. “The bullpen – Bird, Holtmann and Benincasa – they have all been great, keeping us in each game. Benny was awesome again tonight.”
Florida State ran out to an early lead in game two courtesy of a solo home run off the bat of Ramsey. The senior center fielder took the first pitch he saw from Justin Van Grouw (1-2) out of the park to left field for his eighth home run of the season and second of the series.
Wake Forest registered back-to-back home runs in the second to grab the lead at 2-1. Lopez started the inning taking a 2-2 pitch from Compton over the fence in left for his seventh round tripper of the season. Morgan followed with a solo shot to right for his second home run of the season. It was the first two home runs allowed by Compton this year, while it was the first time an opponent hit back-to-back home runs off an FSU pitcher since Miami performed the feat in the second inning back in 2010.
Gonzalez gave the lead back to the Seminoles in the top of the fourth hitting a two-run shot out to right for his first home run of the season. The home run was set up after McGee battled back from being down 0-2 in the count to draw a walk. On the very next pitch, Gonzalez hit a line drive off Van Grouw that just cleared the right field wall for a two-run home run to give FSU a 3-2 lead.
“I was looking for a fastball that I could drive,” said Gonzalez. “The previous at-bat he threw me a first pitch slider. I swung at it and drove it pretty good to the opposite way but got under it. I figured they would come after me strong with a fastball, they did, I got it and was able to do some damage with it.”
The Demon Deacons put runners on in the third, fourth and fifth innings but could not push a run across off Compton in any of the three innings. With runners at second and third after consecutive two-out singles, Wake Forest attempted a double steal with Lopez at the plate but McGee threw out Conor Keniry at third to end the threat.
Wake Forest once again put together another two-out rally with singles by Mark Rhine and Kenny Jordan. Compton once again escaped without giving up a run as he got James Harris to fly out to right.
In the fifth, Evan Stephens drew a walk to start the inning and moved to second a groundout to third by Pat Blair. The Wake Forest right fielder advanced to third on an errant throw by Compton on a failed pick-off attempt at second. With the tying run just 90 feet away, Compton got Brett Armour swinging on strikes and then Mac Williamson to ground out to short but not before an outstanding defensive play by Gonzalez to get to the ball up the middle and then a great pick by Boyd at first to get the out.
The Seminoles put two on in the sixth on singles by Boyd and McGee but could not add to their lead as Gonzalez and Miller lined out to right and center, respectively.
A walk to Lopez to start the bottom of the sixth ended the evening for Compton. Bird came on and retired the next three batters that he faced to keep FSU’s one-run lead intact.
Wake Forest left two runners on in the seventh after stringing together a pair of two-out singles off Bird. After collecting two quick outs, Bird gave up consecutive singles to Blair and Armour. Holtmann came on and needed just one pitch to retire the side as he got Williamson to ground into a fielder’s choice put out at second.
The Seminoles looked to add to their lead in the ninth as Miller and Spradling reached base on a walk and single, respectively. But Nate Jones got Brizuela to groundout to second to keep FSU’s lead at 3-2.
Benincasa entered in the bottom of the ninth and gave up two singles in an inning for the first time this year, but the Tampa, Fla., native struck out the side to preserve the win.
Florida State and Wake Forest will wrap up the series with game three on Sunday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m. The game will air live over the internet on WakeForestSports.com, while fans can listen to the game locally on 100.7 FM and over the internet at Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can receive updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.