Feb. 19, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior Adam Simmons came out of the bullpen and into his own Saturday as 10th-ranked Florida State locked down a 9-2 victory over VMI, in front of a Dick Howser Stadium crowd of 5,183.
Simmons’ debut came quickly as the right-hander from South Florida Community College replaced starter Brian Busch with two outs in the third inning and VMI runners at second and third.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Simmons admitted.
It certainly didn’t show. He got out of the jam enticing Keydet Jacob Morley into a first-pitch ground ball to third baseman Sherman Johnson – the first of 12 consecutive batters he retired.
“As soon as that happened, all my nerves went away,” said Simmons, who earned his first career victory with 4 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout baseball.
“That was so huge,” said FSU junior James Ramsey, who paced the Seminoles 10-hit attack with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate. “One-pitch, one-out is a pitcher’s best friend.”
Simmons’ friends in the home dugout followed his cue, as the Florida State bats came alive in well-crafted, five-run fifth inning, snapping a 1-1 deadlock.
Seminoles James Ramsey, Jayce Boyd and Rafael Lopez strung together one-out singles off VMI starter Jason Farley. Lopez, whose sacrifice fly to deep center in the second erased a 1-0 deficit, unlocked the tie with an RBI single to right. Justin Gonzalez walked, loading the bases for DH Stephen McGee, whose two-run double off the right field screen put the Seminoles in front 4-1.
Junior Taiwan Easterling, making his first start in centerfield, pushed and RBI safety squeeze single up the right side. Devon Travis followed with a run-scoring sacrifice bunt for a 6-1 lead and all the cushion Simmons would need.
“We played well,” said FSU coach Mike Martin. “We weren’t perfect today, but we were pretty doggone good.”
Simmons set the tone, relieving Busch, who yielded four walks, three hits and a run. The right-hander pounded the strike zone – 32 strikes in 45 pitches – and mowed down 12 consecutive batters before yielding a two-out single in the seventh to VMI leadoff batter Sam Roberts.
“Adam Simmons was certainly the pitching story, the way he came in and showed great poise and pitching for his first win as a Seminole,” Martin said. “I’m very proud for him. He was a guy that we expected to come in and contribute. We’re very happy that he had that success today.”
The Seminoles didn’t waste any trouble responding to VMI’s first run of the series in the top of the second. Ramsey led off the home half of the inning with a single to left, moved to third on Boyd’s double to right and scored the tying run on Lopez’s well-hit sacrifice to center.
“When you can start out hitting the ball the other way, it opens up a lot of the field for me,” said Ramsey, who through two games is 5-for-7 at the plate. Ramsey singled to right-center in his second at-bat, then collected his first triple of the season – he led the team with six last year – into the right field corner for an RBI in FSU’s two-run seventh.
Florida State will attempt to complete their sweep of the Keydets on Sunday, when sophomore right-hander Scott Sitz gets the starting nod and will face VMI right-hander Sam Roberts. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.