March 25, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jayce Boyd belted his first career grand slam in the first inning and Florida State never looked back, cruising to a 12-4 victory over Wake Forest in Friday’s ACC series opener at Dick Howser Stadium.
The fifth-ranked Seminoles (17-5, 5-2) scored five runs in the first and six in the fourth, more than enough to put an end to their frustrating string of five consecutive extra-inning games. It marked the first time since March 12 that FSU did not bat in the ninth inning – or later.
“There’s no two ways about it, it is a relief,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “We got a big lead. We didn’t know how to act.”
Wake Forest (7-14, 2-5) suffered its fifth consecutive loss since taking two of three games from North Carolina.
FSU junior left-hander Sean Gilmartin (5-0) never let the Demon Deacons in the game, limiting them to four hits and an unearned run in six innings. Wake Forest contributed to its own demise as starter Austin Stadler and three relievers combined to issue 13 walks and two hit batters.
Mike McGee, returning to the starting lineup for the first time since March 18, went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI doubles to lead the way. Sherman Johnson (2-for-3) broke out of an extended hitting slump and contributed as pair of RBI, while Justin Gonzalez also picked up two hits.
Four of those nine hits came in the six-run fourth, including RBI doubles by McGee and Johnson and an RBI single by Gonzalez as the Seminoles pushed their lead to 11-0.
Still, it was Boyd’s blast in the first, high off the scoreboard in left, broke the ice for a team that had dropped four of five games despite being outscored by just four runs during that stretch.
Boyd came to the plate with the bases full following a walk, two errors and McGee’s first RBI double.
“You just get in there looking for a good pitch to hit and hopefully you can get something done with it,” Boyd said. “That was the case tonight. Sometimes you do it, sometimes you don’t.
“It was change-up away. Obviously you’re not supposed to pull that pitch, but I was sitting on off-speed, because that’s pretty much what a lefty wants to do to right-handed batter in a situation like that. I definitely got a good swing on it.”
It was Boyd’s second homer of the season, but the sophomore first baseman’s first career grand slam.
At that point, the `Noles put the ball in the capable hands of Gilmartin, who kept the Deacs in check.
“When you get a five-run lead, the last thing you’re thinking about is striking people out,” Martin said. “Gilly went out there and did exactly what he was supposed to do, get quick outs and get his team in the dugout.”
“He didn’t give up an earned run. We’re really pleased with his performance.”
Gilmartin seemed more excited about seeing his teammates enjoy some success at the plate than moving to 5-0 on the year and lowering his ERA to 1.43.
“It was a lot better for our offense than it was for our pitching, to jump out to the early lead,” he said. “More than anything else it was good to get the guys who had been struggling at the plate some confidence.”
The Seminoles will send right-hander Scott Sitz (2-0, 2.70) against Wake Forest ace left-hander Tim Cooney (2-1, 1.83) Saturday at 6 p.m.