Feb. 25, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State broke out its bats - literally and figuratively - Friday night, pounding Hofstra 14-3 behind a 15-hit attack which included three homers and four doubles.
The Seminoles (5-0) seized control from the start and didn't stop scoring until freshman Sean O'Brien capped the affair with a three-run blast to left in the eighth inning.
"It was a great feeling to get my first home run as a Seminole," O'Brien said. "Those are things you dream about growing up."
O'Brien's nightcap blast - on a 3-2 pitch off Cody Normand - came with a twist. Normand's pitch prior to the homer cracked the nob at the end of the bat, which led O'Brien to find a new weapon in the dugout.
"It wasn't even my bat, so big thanks go out to Stephen McGee, for letting me use his bat," O'Brien said. "I'm going to have to use Stephen's for a little bit."
There were plenty of offensive fireworks in the early going as the Seminoles roughed up Hofstra starter Jared Rogers for seven runs over the first two innings. Jayce Boyd's two-run double in the first got things started for the `Noles and Rafael Lopez followed with the first of his two RBI doubles for a 3-0 cushion.
Hofstra (0-4) cut into the deficit in the home second when T.J. Thomas reached on a bloop single to right and Joe Perez planted a misplaced offering from Sean Gilmartin deep over the fence in left-center.
Florida State answered back in the home half with four runs, including a one-out, opposite field homer by Justin Gonzalez - his first since March 5 of last season. With two outs Sherman Johnson singled and Mike McGee drew a walk; one of 10 on the day issued by four Hofstra pitchers.
James Ramsey worked Rogers deep in the count, then sent a shot to deep center, which caromed off the top of the wall and back into play. Ramsey wheeled all the way around the bases for a three-run, inside the park homer and a 7-2 FSU lead.
"After you start the way we did after the first couple of innings, you can have the tendency to relax, drop off, whatever you want to call it; slack off," said FSU coach Mike Martin. "But our guys didn't do that. They kept getting after it and a couple innings later we put a three spot up there. That is just a credit to continuing to play and not getting complacent because anything can happen in this game."
Not only did the Seminoles continue to swing the bats, but Gilmartin got back in a groove. The Pride scored an unearned run in the third, but never threatened again.
Gilmartin (2-0) scored his third consecutive win against the Pride in as many seasons, scattering six hits over six innings. The left-hander struck out five and did not issue a walk for a second consecutive game; facing the minimum over his last three innings. Hunter Scantling came on in relief in the seventh and retired six consecutive batters, including a six-pitch eighth inning. Daniel Bennet sat the Pride down in order in ninth, capped by a strikeout.
The combined six-hit effort marked the fourth time in five games the Seminoles have not issued a walk.
"To be successful we know that we have to get it out of all of our pitching, both starting and in the bullpen, because games are won in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings," Martin said. "We had a little cushion going into that part of the ball game, but it was good to see Scantling and Bennett come in and pitch well for us."
The Seminoles will go after their 12th consecutive win over Hofstra Saturday at 4 p.m. with left-hander Brian Busch looking to rebound from a rough first outing. He'll take on Hofstra right-hander Rob Kumbatovic.