TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 9 Florida State (5-0) used an early offensive explosion en route to a 14-3 victory over USF (1-3) in game one of a three game series Saturday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
With heavy rain pounding the Tallahassee area and more expected later this evening, the two coaches agreed to call the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. The two teams will resume the series Sunday morning with game one of a doubleheader beginning at 11:00 a.m. followed by game two 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
“Obviously, it was a tough day as far as the weather is concerned,” said head coach Mike Martin. “We are just very pleased with the approach we had to the game. We really played well. I thought our team played aggressively and did what they needed to do to win.”
Marcus Davis led the Seminole offensive charge on Saturday going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate as the Cincinnati, Ohio native was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Davis reached base on all five plate appearances collecting a pair of singles, a solo home run, a double and a walk. He finished with two RBI and three runs scored. Through the first five games of the season, Davis is off to a hot start hitting .467 (7-for-15) with three home runs and 6 RBI.
“Marcus is playing very well,” said Martin. “But as much as anything, he has a very good grasp for the game. He has a good level head and his feet are on the ground; he knows it’s a long season. He is off to good start and it is ok with me if he continues to hit this way throughout the year.”
“I’m happy so far,” said Davis on his hot start at the plate. “But todays over with and tomorrow’s a new day. You got to keep pushing, you got to keep grinding. The game is going to humble you at some point, I am just trying to ride this as long as I can.”
Seth Miller also had a perfect afternoon at the plate going 2-for-2 with an RBI single and a double, while Josh Delph tied a career-high with three RBI.
Casey Smit and Ladson Montgomery registered their first career hits as a Seminole in the win. Smit laced a single to center in the second and Montgomery picked up a two-run single in the eighth.
Jameis Winston came within inches of hitting his first career home run as he hit the top of the fence in right center in the eighth leading to an RBI double.
Along with recording 14 hits on Saturday, the Seminoles drew 11walks and were hit by a pitch five times. Jose Brizuela led all players drawing a career-high four walks in five plate appearances.
Brandon Leibrandt (2-0) received all the run support he would need after the second inning and by the third the Seminoles had given the sophomore southpaw an eight-run cushion. Leibrandt pounded the strike zone throughout his 6.0 innings of work to earn his second win of the season. The Alpharetta, Ga., native allowed three runs on five hits as he walked two and struck out five.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning when the Bulls finally scraped a run across the board off Leibrandt. Levi Borders led off the inning with a triple and scored on a sac-fly to center off the bat of Chad Taylor.
USF cut the deficit to 9-3 in the sixth with Austin Lueck connected on a two-run shot to left off Leibrandt.
“It was a good outing for Brandon, but certainly with a lead in the sixth inning he threw one that he normally doesn’t throw in that location,” said Martin. “Their guy really took advantage of it. Overall, it was a good win for him.”
Brandon Johnson worked 2.0 scoreless innings in relief as he allowed three hits and no walks while striking out two.
“He threw the ball very well,” added Martin. “Brandon had good command of his fastball and change-up. I thought he did a very good job. He did what we needed him to do – throw strikes and get outs with the lead.”
The Seminoles broke open the game in the bottom of the eighth scoring five runs off Adrian Puig before the game was called due to heavy rain.
USF starter Joey Lovecchio (1-1) suffered the loss as he allowed eight runs on seven hits in 2.0 plus innings of work.
Sunday’s first game will air live on ESPN3, while game two can be seen on Seminoles.com All-Access.