Seminoles bring out their brooms

Florida State had some problems here and there with Hofstra over the weekend, but in the end the Seminoles completed a sweep and are 3-0 on the season. Sunday was a big day for the bats.

The Seminoles played their best game of the weekend.

They completed the sweep of the Hofstra Pride on Sunday, winning 13-6 to conclude the opening series of the season.

Many 'Noles boosted their stats with productive days at the plate. James Ramsey went 3 for 4 with two walks and picked up his first double, John Nogowski registered two hits and two walks, Devon Travis recorded a double and a single and Stephen McGee added two hits and a walk of his own.

Jose Brizuela, who has become a force to be reckoned with, went 2 for 3 and notched three RBIs to lead the Seminoles to their third consecutive victory. Jayce Boyd extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI double in the seventh.

And the outing by freshman pitcher Mike Compton ended up becoming one of the main stories of the afternoon.

One out away from finishing Hofstra in the first, the Pride drew a walk, followed by back-to-back doubles by first baseman Jared Hammer and left fielder Kenny Jackson to put Hofstra up 2-0.

But instead of repeating Saturday's pattern that got fellow starter Peter Miller lit up, Compton bounced back and dominated for the next five innings, allowing only two more hits and no runs and facing the minimum number of batters until he was pulled to start the sixth.

"Compton was real good," McGee said. "He was keeping everything real low. He was controlling his off speed very well, too. He looked like an experienced pitcher out there today."

An improved Seminoles defense aided Compton, making no errors for the first time this season and turning four double plays.

In addition to the solid defense, Compton's adjustment after the first provided him the best results.

"Keeping the ball low," Compton explained. "After that walk [in the first], I got the ball high and they hit the ball. That was the main difference. Second inning on, I just kept the ball low and they hit a lot of ground balls, and the defense made plays."

The Seminoles wasted zero time responding to the early Hofstra lead.

In bottom of the first, after leading off with a walk, Sherman Johnson was driven home by a Travis double down the left field line. Ramsey, Boyd and Nogowski each reached first on a single and two walks, respectively. Brizuela then singled up the middle to drive in two, and Seth Miller's RBI on a fielder's choice put the Seminoles up 5-2.

The ‘Noles faced 10 Pride pitchers on the afternoon.

In the sixth, Nogowski began jogging to first after a 3-0 pitch seemingly missed for ball four. But home plate umpire Dave Bisceglio called strike one, forcing the surprised Nogowski to return home.

Nogowski now owes Bisceglio a steak dinner, as he sent the very next pitch deep into the Hofstra bullpen for his first career collegiate home run.

"I just tried to stay within myself, try not to do too much," Nogowski said. "[Coach Mike Martin] told me, 'Don't get cheated, Nogo,' so I was like, "Ok, coach, I got you,' and he threw me a pitch kind of high and in, and I took a good swing at it. It was special, especially seeing my parents up there and my family and my friends. It meant a lot."

Mirroring Saturday's ninth, Hofstra broke through in the eighth to raise its total to 6 with four runs on three hits and two walks off reliever Bryant Holtmann. The ‘Noles responded with three of their own in the bottom of the eighth, highlighted by a Boyd sac fly to center and pinch hitter Giovanny Alfonzo's walk with the bases loaded.

Reliever Mack Waugh and the Seminoles completed the sweep of Hofstra on a line drive to Boyd, who then stepped on the first-base bag to record the game-ending double play.

This was the Seminoles' most well-rounded performance of opening weekend, putting them at 3-0 in the win-loss column.

Rookie starting pitcher Luke Weaver paid close attention to fellow freshmen Brandon Leibrandt and Mike Compton's performances over the weekend, and as a result he feels more prepared for his Tuesday start against Jacksonville.

"I always ask after they are all done how it was out there," Weaver said, "how kind of they soak in the moment, and they all kind of said the same thing, that they were just all nervous the first inning. I got a head start seeing how it went for them and just kind of use it to my advantage."

Tuesday's start constantly fills Weaver's mind.

"I've been thinking about it since they told me I was in this role," he said. "It's all that runs through my mind. I think my biggest goal is to command the zone, try to give less walks and such like that. Just try to throw strikes, let the defense work. Got one of the best in the nation, so hopefully that will work."

Weaver's start excites McGee behind the plate, as well.

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"I've seen some good stuff from Weaver," McGee said. "He's been keeping a lot low, has good velocity, good control of his off speed, and a lot of what's good with him is his mentality. When he goes out there, he's out there to win. And you can tell. I like that about him, and he can definitely intimidate a team."

Even more intimidating is Florida State's hot lineup. Both rookies and veterans combined to put up a staggering 32 runs over the weekend.

The sweep left Nogowski in particular very confident.

"I know we were all nervous," he said, "but I think we did great. Any time you are sweeping and you come out with three wins, nothing to complain about. If we can keep doing that, just driving in runs, I can protect Jayce and [Ramsey], and Brizuela is gonna keep hitting those bombs. He's a great hitter. He's going to keep hitting. I think that we will be tough to beat."


Jonathan Bockman is the baseball reporter for NoleDigest.com and a student in Sport Management at Florida State.


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