Feb. 25, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Pitching and timely hitting were the keys to victory Saturday afternoon as eighth-ranked Florida State (5-1) evened the weekend series with a 3-1 victory over FIU (1-4) in front of a crowd of 5,117 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Freshman Mike Compton (2-0) put together another strong outing in his second straight start blanking the Panthers over six innings allowing only two hits. The two hits came in the first two innings, both singles, as the Branson, Mo., native did not allow a runner to advance past first base during his outing. He faced the minimum in an inning four times and benefited from a solid defensive effort that did not commit any errors while recording two double plays. Compton finished the game with four strikeouts.
"Mike Compton gave us what we were looking for today and that was six strong innings," said head coach Mike Martin. "Hunter pitched well and Benny pitched well. He (Benincasa) did a very good job in that role as our closer today."
"I just tried to focus on hitting my spots," said Compton. "The defense was great today; they turned a couple double plays. I didn't make a lot of great pitches, but I was able to get out of it. I just felt a lot more comfortable then the last time out."
"I can't tell you how encouraged I was," added Martin on the performance from his freshman starter. "Michael throws a very heavy baseball; hitters don't like it. He had great control today."
James Ramsey provided the offensive fireworks in game two driving in all three Seminole runs. Two of the four hits from the Seminoles in game two came off the bat of the senior captain as he connected on a two-run single in the second and a solo shot in the eighth.
"It is fun to see us play this kind of baseball because this is what we are going to be faced with most of the year," added Martin. "FIU has a good ball club. They did a great job today. We had our chances early but again they made some crucial pitches and denied us opportunities to score.
"Offensively, one guy drove in all the runs and you don't see that every day," said Martin. "James certainly played great baseball as did our entire team."
After leaving the bases loaded in the first, the Seminoles responded with two runs in the second to take the early lead at 2-0. Stephen McGee got things going in the second inning against FIU starter Mason McVay (0-1) with a single to left. Sherman Johnson drew a two-out walk followed by an infield single off the bat of Devon Travis. Ramsey stepped in and worked the count in his favor before lacing a 3-1 offering from McVay through the left side of the infield to score McGee and Johnson.
"Stephen did a good job, had a good hit," said Ramsey. "Dev smoked a ball that knocked off the guy's glove at third. As soon as that happened, I knew they had no room to put me so I knew that they were going to have to come after me. I swung at a ball but it was a fastball down and I was able to take it the other way. Just to be able to do that for my team was key."
The three singles in the second would be the only hits for the Seminoles until the seventh inning when Ramsey connected on a solo home run to right to give FSU a 3-0 lead. The Alpharetta, Ga., native took a 1-0 pitch from Alberto Cardenas over the fence in right for his second home run of the season.
FIU finally broke through with a run in the eighth when catcher Iosmel Leon took the first pitch he saw from Hunter Scantling out of the park to right for his first home run of the season.
Scantling worked the seventh and eighth innings and allowed just the one run on three hits as he did not walk a batter and struck out one.
Robert Benincasa pitched the ninth to earn his first career save. The junior right hander got the first two outs on a fly out to right and then a called third strike. After Mike Martinez reached on a single up the middle, Benincasa got Panther designated hitter Adam Kirsch to pop out to Travis who made a nice running catch in the outfield toward the right field foul line for the final out of the game.
"Definitely to have the first (out of the way) but I don't think the first will be any different than the second or the third," said Benincasa on earning his first career save in his new role as the Seminole closer. "I wanted to go out there and make sure I threw first pitch strikes on everybody I faced and I did that with all four batters that I faced."
The Seminoles and Panthers return to the diamond for the rubber game of the series on Sunday, February 26 at 1:00 p.m. Live stats will be available via gametracker and in-game updates can be seen on twitter at @FSU_Baseball. Fans can listen to all the action locally on 100.7 FM and on the internet at Seminoles.com.