The No. 4 Florida State Seminoles took an important step toward a national seed and postseason home-field advantage today, completing a three-game sweep of the Big Ten’s Minnesota Golden Gophers at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee.
Florida State’s home-field dominance came into question a bit last weekend, as the Seminoles dropped two of three to the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers. While they notched a 7-0 blowout win over the ‘Hoos, FSU’s Achilles heel was its inability to pull out the close game, as they dropped an extra-inning affair and a one-run decision. What a difference a week makes.
This time — while still administering a sound drubbing in today’s finale — the ‘Noles found a way to pull out those tight games that will ultimately decide just how successful this team will be.
After having Friday’s night’s contest pushed back a day due to rain, Florida State began the series struggling in all-too-familiar ways. Luke Weaver started slowly, allowing a run in the top of the first before settling in. The Seminoles again produced scant offense early but finally took a 3-1 lead in the sixth. A rare Gage Smith lapse in the ninth (his frequent appearances may be tiring his arm), however, cost FSU its advantage, and the ‘Noles trailed 4-3 headed to the home ninth. But they finally found some clutch hitting: RBI knocks from DJ Stewart and John Nogowski completed a 5-4 comeback victory.
Mike Compton continued to round into form for Florida State in the doubleheader’s second game, as the sophomore righty gave Mike Martin 7.2 quality innings and allowed just two runs. The Seminoles got their runs early, plating one in the first and two more in the fourth, largely powered by Nogowski’s four-hit effort. This time the bullpen was up to the task, as Dylan Sylva and Peter Miller each retired two Gophers to preserve the close 3-2 win.
Which brings us to today’s contest. Freshman Taylor Blatch provided a possible solution to Martin’s sudden pitching depth issues, getting the start and surrendering just one run over four frames. Nogowski added another three hits, and Jose Brizuela drove in a pair as the ‘Noles cruised past Minnesota 7-1.
The sweep improves the Seminoles to 36-11 overall. FSU travels to DeLand, FL to complete their season series with Stetson on Tuesday. Florida State took the first two games against the Hatters in late April.