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Late Inning Heroics Lift FSU To Series Sweep



March 20, 2012

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Fourth-ranked Florida State (17-2, 6-0) scored three runs in the eighth inning for the second straight night as the Seminoles capped off another come-from-behind win over Virginia (11-8-1, 2-4) defeating the Cavaliers 7-5 Monday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.

Seth Miller's two-run single in the bottom of the eighth broke a 5-5 tie to help the Seminoles complete the sweep of Virginia and remain the only undefeated team in the ACC through the first two weeks of league play.

"It was a big win for our baseball team especially the way we did it," said head coach Mike Martin. "That was a great accomplishment early in the year to beat a team like Virginia. We are just proud that we were able to pull it off.

"Seth's hit was huge because you are facing one of the best closer's in the country in Justin Thompson. I was just elated that we got it done tonight."

Jayce Boyd began the eighth inning rally on Monday night singling up the middle off reliever Kyle Crockett (0-2). After a walk to Stephen McGee, the Cavaliers went to the bullpen and brought on Austin Young. On the very first pitch, the sophomore right hander hit Justin Gonzalez on the left side of his neck as the Seminole shortstop had squared to bunt. Gonzalez remained on the ground for a few moments before getting to his feet and taking first base. With the bases loaded, Jose Brizuela followed with a sac-fly to center to tie the game at five. After a strikeout to John Nogowski, Virginia went to the bullpen for the second time in the inning and brought on Justin Thompson to face Miller.

"One of the scariest moments of my coaching career," said Martin on the hit-by-pitch to Gonzalez. "When I went out there and Gonzo was on the ground, that scared me. It scared the life out of me. Thank God he is okay."

With McGee at third and Gonzalez at second, Miller took the first pitch he saw from Thompson and singled through the hole on the right side of the infield to give FSU a 7-5 lead.

"It was a team win tonight, everyone did their part," said Miller. "For me, it was more of a timely thing. I was able to make the most of my opportunity and hopefully I will be able to build off it."

Robert Benincasa pitched the ninth and picked up his seventh save in as many chances this year as the junior right hander retired the Cavaliers in order. Benincasa is now tied for the league lead in saves and has not allowed a run in 12.0 innings of work this year.

"It's awesome for us to keep believing," said Johnson. "To get a come-from-behind victory early in the season against a great ACC team in Virginia is great."

Gage Smith (1-0) earned his first career win as he need just one pitch to record the third out in the top of the eighth. The Tallahassee, Fla., native entered the inning with runners at second and third and got Colin Harrington to pop up to second to retire the side.

Boyd led the Seminole offense on Monday night going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Sherman Johnson picked up a pair of hits and scored a run, while Brizuela doubled and drove in a pair.

The Seminoles grabbed the early lead in game three on a two-run single by Boyd in the bottom of the first. Devon Travis drew a one out walk off UVa starter Whit Mayberry and moved to third on a double down the line in right off the bat of James Ramsey. Boyd brought them both home on a two-run single to right.

The Cavaliers answered with a run in the top of the second off FSU starter Peter Miller. Jared King led off the inning with a double to right center and scored on a two-out single to center by Mitchell Shifflett.

Virginia sent nine batters to the plate in the third and scored four runs to take a 5-2 lead. The Cavaliers took advantage of a couple Seminole errors as two of the four runs scored by the `Hoos were unearned.

Miller would not make it through the third inning as the sophomore right hander worked 2.1 innings allowing five runs, three earned, on four hits. He finished with two walks and two strikeouts.

The Seminole bullpen did its part as Kyle Bird, Mack Waugh, Brian Busch, Smith and Benincasa kept the Cavaliers off the scoreboard the rest of the night. The five Seminole relievers worked 6.2 shutout innings allowing five hits and five walks while striking out two.

"We didn't get a good outing from our starter and that was disappointing, but the other guys came in and picked him up. You talk about Bird, Waugh, Busch, Smith and Benincasa, it was nice to see them come in and get the job done."

The work by the bullpen allowed Florida State to slowly chip away at the Virginia lead as the Seminoles scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings to cut the deficit to 5-4.

In the fourth, the Seminoles loaded the bases on a double by Boyd and back-to-back walks to McGee and Gonzalez. Brizuela drove in Boyd on a groundout to first.

Johnson and Travis put together back-to-back doubles to start the fifth for FSU's fourth run of the game. Johnson doubled down the line in right and scored on Travis' double to the gap in left center.

Florida State will return to the field for a two-game mid-week series against Stetson beginning Tuesday, March 20 at 6:00 p.m. Both games will air live on Seminoles.com All-Access, while fans can listen to the game locally on 1270 AM and over the internet at Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can receive updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.

--www.seminoles.com--

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