Around the horn: Davis starts hot

For some baseball players, the jump from the junior-college level to Division I is a major adjustment.

Marcus Davis had five RBIs and a home run in FSU's weekend sweep of USF.

Florida State outfielder Marcus Davis isn’t having much trouble so far.

Davis hit 7 for 11 with five RBIs and four runs scored in the Seminoles’ three-game sweep of South Florida this weekend. And the left-handed hitting Davis added an eighth-inning home run in the second game on Sunday that went over the right-field screen.

“I’ve been around here a couple of years,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “That ball that he hit, I didn’t think it was out. Just goes to show you the juice he has in that bat.”

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound outfielder from Cincinnati has plenty of pop in his bat. An LSU signee, Davis eventually landed at Walter State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., just east of Knoxville. Last season, Davis hit .450 with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs in 61 games.

And he hasn’t skipped a beat at FSU, earning a 3.0 grade-point average in the fall semester and then impressing on the field early in the season. In seven games, the junior is 10 for 22 with four home runs, nine RBIs and eight runs scored. He’s seen playing time at both left field and designated hitter, and it’s clear that Davis’ bat will be in the lineup.

“There’s a little bit of a misconception about it,” Davis said. “There’s obviously a jump. The game is faster. The arms are better. But at the end of the day, it’s still baseball.”
—Bob Ferrante

Martin 'concerned' about Gonzalez' injury

Florida State’s sweep of South Florida was dampened by the news that senior shortstop Justin Gonzalez will have an MRI for what coach Mike Martin thinks may be a hip injury.

“A little concerned with Gonzalez,” Martin said. “He’s not seeming to get better with treatment.”

Justin Gonzalez missed both of Sunday's games with what Mike Martin believes is a hip injury.

It’s not clear when Gonzalez suffered the injury, but Martin said that it had been bothering him before he went 1 for 3 with an RBI on Saturday. Giovanny Alfonzo took over at shortstop in both games of the Sunday doubleheader.

Gonzalez is hitting .278 with two home runs and five RBIs in five games. He is the only returning infielder for the 2013 season, and Martin said he and the trainers will await the MRI result and proceed with caution.

“We hope that the MRI is not going show us any bad stuff,” Martin said. “And if it takes two more weeks, so be it. We don’t want him to obviously be out for an extended period of time.”
—Bob Ferrante

Sitz continues tear

This is getting to be a regular thing for Scott Sitz.

Florida State's Sunday-starter-turned-Saturday-starter is off to a hot start this season, picking up right where he left off last summer in Omaha.

Sitz, who was promoted to the No. 2 spot in the rotation following Mike Compton's season-ending injury, turned in another fine performance Sunday afternoon, pitching eight complete innings in FSU's 8-0 win over South Florida.

“Sitz-y just totally controlled the situation,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “He had three pitches going for him … that's what it takes to beat a club like South Florida.”

A senior from Jacksonville, Sitz raised eyebrows in June when he turned in a sterling, 6 2/3 innings performance against UCLA that kept FSU alive in the College World Series.

He allowed one run in the game, a 4-1 Seminoles victory Since then, Sitz has continued his tear – he's pitched 13 2/3 innings without allowing a single run, striking out 10 total batters in the process.

Scott Sitz rode his slider to eight shutout innings against USF.

Sitz credited his slider both for his recent success and for his dominance against the Bulls.

“It's such a huge pitcher for me – getting out of jams or just being able to throw it for strikes,” Sitz said.
—Tim Linafelt

Winston earns first career save

Florida State still doesn't have a full-time closer. But, following Sunday's second game against USF, coach Mike Martin's decision may be coming in to focus.

Jameis Winston took the mound in the top of the ninth with a 5-2 lead to preserve, and three batters later, finished off the first save of his collegiate career.

“It felt great,” said Winston, also a quarterback on the FSU football team. “I believe in that closer mentality because you've got to be extremely competitive.”

Through four innings pitched this season, Winston has yet to allow a single run and has struck out four batters.

He coaxed three groundouts Sunday afternoon, including one that required a tough play from third baseman Jose Brizuela.

“When you've got a good team like (I do) behind me, you really can't lose,” Brizuela said.

Martin was pleased with Winston's performance and it's a safe bet the Hueytown, Ala., native will get another shot as the Seminoles' closer.

“He certainly did a good job in that role tonight,” Martin said. “Had no display of nerves. We're looking for someone to assume that role.”
—Tim Linafelt

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