Game 1 - Sitz pitches a gem
Scott Sitz provided No. 9 Florida State (6-0) exactly what they were looking for in game one of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon in defeating USF (1-4) 8-0 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
The senior right hander tossed a career-high 8.0 shutout innings scattering four hits and two walks while striking out six in earning his first victory of the season. After giving up a double to Kyle Teaf to start the fifth, Sitz (1-0) retired the next nine batters that he faced.
The Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native kept the Bulls off-balanced all afternoon using all three pitches effectively. He allowed just three base runners beyond first base over his eight innings of work on Sunday.
“Sitz just totally controlled the situation today,” said head coach Mike Martin. “I was really, really pleased with his performance. He had three pitches going for him. That is what it takes to beat a club like South Florida.”
“That is the farthest that I have been in a game since my freshman year when I pitched in Alaska (during the summer),” said Sitz. “My slider was really working. I was throwing it to both lefties and righties. For the lefties, it was more like a back door pitch on the outside part of the plate. I was trying to throw it away to righties but it seemed to stay in. Overall, I was pleased with the way it was breaking today.”
Dating back to last year’s game against UCLA in the College World Series, Sitz has put together 13.2 consecutive scoreless innings. Over his last four starts, Sitz has allowed just two runs in 23.0 innings.
“I think Mike Bell deserves so much credit in the way that he has bear downed on what he feels is necessary for Scotty to be what he is capable of being,” added Martin. “And that is a guy that can spot the ball; that can throw the curveball in hitter’s counts; that can throw the change-up at any time. He has always held runners fairly well. Scott is a big, big part of this (the success of the team).”
“I heard you guys talking about it,” said Sitz on his scoreless innings streak. “Before that I wouldn’t have known, I knew I hadn’t given one up this year.”
Sitz was also the beneficiary of a four-run first inning that gave the Seminoles an early 4-0 lead. FSU took advantage of two defensive errors as well as some wildness from USF starter Nick Gonzalez (0-2). Josh Delph was hit by a pitch to lead-off the bottom of the first. Giovanny Alfonzo followed with a walk and DJ Stewart reached on a fielder’s choice groundball back to the mound which led to Delph scoring after USF third baseman Kyle Copack could not handle the throw from Gonzalez on a force out at third. Two batters later Marcus Davis drove in Alfonzo and Stewart on a single up the middle. He would score the fourth run of the inning when he stole second. As the throw from first baseman Buddy Putnam ricocheted off his helmet, left fielder Austin Lueck could not field the ball cleanly resulting in Davis scoring from second.
USF’s Gonzalez settled down following a shaky first inning and left after the fifth well over 100 pitches. The junior left hander allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits as he walked four and struck out a career-high 10 batters.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the sixth on a two-run bloop single off the bat of John Sansone. Jose Brizuela and Brett Knief drew back-to-back walks to open the inning off Bulls reliever Justin Patrick and both advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch. With the infield playing in, Sansone dropped a single into short right field to score both Brizuela and Knief and push FSU’s advantage to 6-0.
Brizuela upped the score to 8-0 on a two-run double in the seventh. Stephen McGee led off the inning with a double to left and moved to third on a passed ball. Two batters later, John Nogowski reached when he was hit on the foot by Patrick. Both runners would come around to score on Brizuela’s double to the gap in right center.
With his pitch count at 99, Sitz gave way to freshman right hander Kenny Burkhead to work the ninth.
“This was the next longest outing of my career, so it felt great,” added Sitz. “To be able to go that far, I wanted to go out for the ninth inning, but coach Bell wasn’t having any of it due to my pitch count.”
Burkhead was impressive in his collegiate debut working a scoreless inning as he walked one in the four batters that he faced. The Deltona, Fla., native induced a lineout and a pair of groundouts to preserve the shutout.
Six different Seminole registered a hit in the win, while Davis, Brizuela and Sansone each drove in two runs apiece.
Game 2 - FSU earns the sweep
No. 9 Florida State (7-0) completed the doubleheader sweep as well as the series sweep on Sunday afternoon with a 5-2 victory over USF (1-5) in front of a crowd of 4,582 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium to rmain undefeated on the year.
After Scott Sitz’ eight shutout innings in game one, Peter Miller (1-0) followed suit in game two with 6.0 shutout innings to earn his first victory of the season. In probably his best outing as a Seminole, Miller allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out five. He finished the game tying career-highs for innings pitched and strikeouts.
“You win the first game today, you know you won the series but yet there is no, ‘I’m satisfied,’ said head coach Mike Martin. “There is that desire to win the next one. It is something that makes all of us coaches extremely proud to be associated with a group that approaches the game that way.”
The junior right hander faced the minimum through the first four innings and did not allow his first hit until Jimmy Falla led off the top of the fifth with a single up the middle. He left a pair of runners stranded in the fifth after getting Zac Gilcrease to line out to Josh Delph in right for the third out. Miller returned to pitch the sixth and retired the Bulls in order on three groundouts to put the finishing touches on his afternoon.
“Great quality starts from both pitchers,” said Martin following the game two win. “Best game I have seen Peter Miller pitch since he has been here. Miller had three pitches going for him. That is what it takes to beat a club like South Florida.”
“Peter jumped back,” added Stewart. “He came out ready to work; kept pitching his butt off and we got him some runs. He kept doing his thing and our bullpen came in, helped him out and they did their job too.”
Florida State broke a scoreless tie in the fourth thanks to back-to-back two-out doubles by Casey Smit and Ladson Montgomery. Smit took a 1-2 offering from USF starter Jimmy Herget (0-1) into the gap in left center and scored a batter later on Montgomery’s RBI double to right.
DJ Stewart gave the Seminoles a 3-0 lead in the fifth as he connected on a two-run double to left plating Delph and Jose Brizuela. Delph reached on a fielding error at first and moved to second as Brizuela drew a walk. Both runners would pull off a double steal and score on Stewart’s double to left.
The Bulls pushed their first run across in the seventh off reliever Bryant Holtmann who gave up a walk and double to the only two batters that he faced. Gage Smith came in and walked the first batter that he faced to load the bases with nobody out. But the junior right hander bounced back and got Levi Borders swinging on strikes for the first out of the inning. Luke Maglich cut FSU’s lead to 3-1 as he brought home James Ramsay on a fielder’s choice groundout. Smith would keep the two-run lead intact getting Gilcrease to groundout to second to end the inning.
FSU would answer right back in the bottom half of the seventh with a run to increase its lead back to three at 4-1. John Sansone led off the inning with a walk off Joe Adel and scored three batters later on an RBI single by Stewart.
USF cut the deficit to 4-2 in the top of the eighth as Ramsay drove home Anthony Diaz on a two-out single to center. Diaz opened the inning reaching on a bunt single to the pitcher’s mound and took second on the play as Smith threw wildly over to first. After a sac-bunt moved Diaz to third, Smith answered with his second strikeout of the afternoon getting pinch hitter Joe Altieri looking at a called third strike. But Ramsay would keep the Bulls in the game with his RBI single to center. Following a hit by pitch, FSU went to the bullpen and brought on Kyle Bird as USF threaten with runners at first and second. Bird skipped his third pitch in the dirt and the ball got away from Montgomery momentarily. The Seminole catcher recovered in time to make a throw at third but the ball sailed just beyond the reach of Brizuela. Giovanny Alfonzo was backing up on the play, grabbed the loose ball and fired back to Montgomery at the plate to get Ramsay for the third out of the inning.
FSU wasted very little timing answering the call in the bottom of the eight as Marcus Davis took the first pitch he saw from Steven Leasure over the fence in right for a solo shot and a 5-2 Seminole lead. The home run was Davis’ second of the series and fourth of the season.
Jameis Winston pitched the ninth and retired USF in order on three groundouts to earn his first collegiate save.
“He certainly did a good job in that role tonight,” added Martin on the performance of Winston in the closer role. “He had no display of nerves. He went out there in a save situation and got it done. We are looking for someone to assume that role.”
Stewart paced the Seminoles with his first three-hit game of the season as the freshman centerfielder also drove in a career-high three runs. Davis finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a home run.
“It’s great,” said Stewart on the team’s fast start to the 2013 season. “We’ve been working so hard. This is a special team. We have great leadership. Our new guys, Marcus is tearing it up. We are just trying to feed off him, feed off our pitchers.”
With the two wins on Sunday, FSU has now won its last 15 games in which they have worn the gold jerseys.
Florida State will take the week off and return to the diamond for a three-game series against Villanova beginning Friday, March 1 at 4:00 p.m.