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Top-Ranked 'Noles Bounce Back, Trounce Clemson 11-1

The No. 1 Florida State Seminoles rebounded from a Friday night loss to best the 13th-ranked Clemson Tigers 11-1 in the first game of today’s doubleheader.

FSU opened the scoring in the third inning, when RBI singles by John Nogowski and John Sansone bookended a two-RBI knock from Brett Knief, staking the ‘Noles to a 4-0 lead.

Justin Gonzalez added two more for Florida State in the fifth, scoring Josh Delph and Gage West on his double to right-center field, and FSU extended its advantage to 6-0.

Clemson got on the board in the fifth inning when Jay Baum dumped a ball into the right field corner. As he dug for third, cut-off man John Sansone airmailed third baseman Jose Brizuela, and Baum was able to come home on the error.

West opened the Seminole seventh with a double to deep center and came home on a Delph groundout to make it 7-1. Gonzalez singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and looked to be a lock to add the eighth Seminole run on a single by D.J. Stewart. But Steven Duggar’s high throw home was snared by a leaping Chris Okey, who swiped a tag on Gonzalez before he touched the plate.

For more runs came across for the ‘Noles in the ninth, when Gonzalez knocked in West for his third RBI of the game. D.J. Stewart added the finishing touches when he hammered a three-run shot over the right-center field wall, making it 11-1. The Tigers had no answer for Stewart today: he went 4 for 5 with a walk.

They also failed to solve Brandon Leibrandt, who took the hill for FSU a day after they were handled by Clemson righty Daniel Gossett. The Florida State southpaw was every bit as dominant. He allowed just one unearned run on four hits while tossing a complete game, allowing Mike Martin to rest his bullpen for the matchup tonight.

Perhaps more important for the ‘Noles was the reawakening of their offense, which had scored just twice in the last 20 innings prior to the third frame today. They wound up collecting 18 hits in the afternoon tilt. The result tied Florida State and Clemson atop the ACC Atlantic division, as each have a conference record of 6-2. The Seminoles are now 18-4 overall, while the Tigers are 14-8. The series finale begins tonight at 6:30 pm.

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