By Ariel Bedford
Florida State welcomed their southern rivals to town with a convincing display of solid defense and explosive offense, opening their series against the Hurricanes with an easy win to grow their lead in the ACC Conference standings…
Seminole 3rd baseman Sherman Johnson opened things up for State, placing a ball deep through the left-field gap for a double in the bottom of the 1st inning. Singles by Devon Travis and team captain James Ramsey loaded the bases for the Noles, and a fielder’s choice courtesy of a failed double-play turn by Miami’s Jarred Mederos brought Johnson home for the first run of the game. The Canes answered in the top of the 3rd with a sacrifice RBI by Homestead native Chantz Mack that sent Tyler Palmer to home plate tying the game at 1. Florida State’s offensive onslaught was just beginning though, and by the 5th inning they had a 6-1 advantage thanks in part to an RBI double by Jayce Boyd, a timely bunt RBI by Stephen McGee as well as an RBI single by Jose Brizuela.
The two leading offensive stars for FSU had to be Justin Gonzalez and Sherman Johnson, with Miami native Gonzalez crushing two home-runs in the 4th and 7th innings to blow the Hurricanes out of the water. Johnson’s 3 doubles and savvy base-running kept the runs coming for FSU all night, and the team fed off the energy of both players to cruise to victory.
FSU Pitcher Brandon Leibrandt got into trouble early with the bases loaded in the first, but overall kept his composure and threw solidly, not letting Miami get into any consistent offensive rhythm after inning one. FSU’s infielders were also crisp throughout the ball-game, with 6-4-3 double plays being turned like flapjacks by Gonzalez, Travis, and Boyd. If the Seminoles can bottle half of their stellar play and keep it for their next two games, it will be a long weekend for the Hurricanes.