Disciplined Bats Fuel FSU Baseball Victory Over No. 6 UCF


On many occasions through the early portion of the FSU baseball team’s season, the pitching staff has performed very well and bailed out the bats which have, at times, struggled. In tonight’s game against the UCF Knights, the opposite was true. The bats were clicking, scoring runs early and often, and the pitching staff struggled. In the end, the bats did enough for FSU to pull off the upset against top-ten UCF, winning this one 11-8.

Alec Byrd, who has been stellar out of the Seminoles’ bullpen, got his first start of the season in today’s game, and, although he struggled a bit more than he did in recent games, he avoided the big inning that easily could have happened and got the win, moving to 3-0 on the season. Billy Strode came in with 2 outs in the 9th inning after reliever Derek Vail gave up a run, which made it a save opportunity. Strode struck out the final batter and got his 7th save of the season.

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Early in this one, everything seemed to be going the Seminoles’ way, as they scored in each of the first 5 innings before plating 0 runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th. The Florida State batters saved one of their best collective performances for the toughest opponent that they have faced so far this season. It was a night that saw 9 out of the 10 FSU batters who saw an official at-bat get at least one hit, along with seven ‘Noles drawing walks.

John Sansone, who has spent this season in the cleanup spot of the lineup, was moved to the #2 spot for tonight’s game, and the change seemed to ignite something inside of him as he went reached base 3 times, scored 3 times, and had a monster home run in the 5th inning, his 4th of the year. An interesting development in tonight’s game was the FSU debut for Duke transfer Chris Marconcini, who is well ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee surgery, which he had this past offseason. Marconcini had 4 at-bats before he was replaced, and he made them count, reaching base two times and registering a pair of RBIs.

Defensively, the ‘Noles continued to look like a changed team, having an errorless game, and keeping their total in the last 4 games at just 2. However, there were a few scary moments for the Seminole players today.

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In the 3rd inning, DJ Stewart chased a ball into left-center and made a diving attempt, missing the catch and landing awkwardly on his shoulder. After a tense moment in Dick Howser Stadium when Stewart stayed down on the ground after the catch, seemingly hurt and requiring the assistance of the team trainer, he rose to his feet on his own power and remained in the game.

A similar moment happened in the 9th inning when center fielder Ben DeLuzio made a leaping attempt at a ball over his head. He had it bounce off his glove, and he landed awkwardly as well but rose to his feet without trainer assistance after staying down for a brief moment.

With the win, No. 11 Florida State moves to 14-3 on the season and a perfect 13-0 at home. UCF drops to 14-3 with the loss. Game 2 of the series will take place tomorrow at Dick Howser with first pitch scheduled for 4 PM.