No. 5 Florida State claimed a 6-1 win over the Jacksonville Dolphins on Tuesday night, thanks to some late offensive production and excellent pitching.
On this damp, windy night in Tallahassee, the chill in the air seemed to once again emanate from the cold Seminoles’ bats early, as the ‘Noles again struggled to notch clutch hits.
FSU picked up its first knock with two outs in the third inning, when Danny De La Calle stroked a solid single to left and Josh Delph’s perfect bunt gave the ‘Noles two aboard. But Justin Gonzalez flied out, and the threat was diffused.
Another two-out opportunity presented itself in the fourth, when Jose Brizuela slapped a double down the right-field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. But when Casey Smit grounded out, the innings was over.
Jacksonville did get a big two-out hit in the fifth, as Seth DeWitt singled off FSU starter Billy Strode to lead off the frame, was bunted around to third, and scored to make it 1-0 on Angelo Amendolare’s single.
The Seminoles’ fifth nearly replicated their third: again De La Calle and Delph registered two-out singles, and when Gonzalez walked, DJ Stewart came to the plate with the bases loaded. Stewart grounded the first pitch to the shortstop for the third out.
Florida State’s best chance came in the sixth, when JU pitcher Nathan Disch hit John Nogowski and Brizuela to start the inning. Smit lined a single to center, and FSU had the sacks packed with nobody out. Adam Maxon relieved Disch, and John Sansone tied the score with a sacrifice fly to center. When a pitch bounced in front of Dolphins’ catcher Braddock Rowe, he caught Brizuela between second and third for the second out. And after a Ben DeLuzio walk, De La Calle struck out, netting the ‘Noles just one run after the inning’s promising start.
Peter Miller came on to relieve Strode and was perfect over two innings. Lost among the Seminoles’ offensive woes was the exceptional game tossed by Strode, who gave up just one run on five hits over six innings.
FSU took the lead in the seventh, when Gonzalez was hit by Maxon, who then walked Stewart and John Nogowski. Brizuela singled in two, and the ‘Noles claimed a 3-1 advantage. They added three more in the eighth, when DeLuzio and De La Calle got things going with singles. Delph then followed suit, driving home DeLuzio to make it 4-1. A Nogowski double down the left-field line extended the margin to 6-1.
Jameis Winston preserved the lead, working a scoreless ninth.
FSU is now 28-8 and will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a weekend series against Wake Forest, the team in second place behind the ‘Noles in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.