Eighth-ranked Florida State (7-1) recorded its first shutout of the year, blanking Maine (3-3) 6-0 Friday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Brandon Leibrandt, Hunter Scantling and Kyle Bird combined to four-hit the Black Bears to stay unbeaten against Maine in seven all-time meetings.
For the third straight game, the Seminole pitching staff put together a solid outing, recording a shutout for the first time since May 6, 2011 (vs. UCF). The trio of pitchers finished Friday night's game retiring the last 15 Maine batters in order. Over the last 27 innings, Florida State has given up just two runs on 17 hits while collecting 24 strikeouts.
"That was a good ballgame today," said coach Mike Martin. "We had excellent pitching, solid defense and beat a good baseball team. That ballclub is talented and will be anxious to play again on Sunday."
Leibrandt (2-1) worked five innings Friday to earn his second win of the season. The freshman southpaw gave up four hits, issued one walk and struck out a career-high six batters. After allowing a single to Maine leadoff hitter Colin Gay, Leibrandt struck out the next three batters that he faced to retire the side. The Black Bears did not get more than one hit in each of Leibrandt's five innings and did not have more than one runner on base the whole game.
"It was definitely nice to come out here, especially after last week, and erase the bad taste in my mouth," said Leibrandt. "I just wanted to do what I could to give my team the best chance to win."
Scantling came on in the sixth and threw three perfect innings in relief. The senior right hander finished with a season-high three strikeouts. Bird pitched the ninth and was just as impressive, retiring all three batters that he faced while recording a career-high two strikeouts.
"Leibrandt had a good outing, there is no doubt about it," added Martin. "He was throwing all three pitches well. I thought he changed speeds extremely well and kept the hitters off balance. It was a very good job of pitching. Hunter came in and was really impressive. Kyle Bird certainly pitched well there at the end. I am just very pleased with the way that we approached the game and the way we got after it."
"I just wanted to go out there and make them hit my pitches," said Scantling. "I fell behind on a couple of guys, but I was able to battle back. I did not want to issue any walks and that was a big thing, one that [pitching] coach [Mike] Bell mentioned to us in the locker room after the game. He held them to four hits today and in the last four innings didn't allow a base runner. To be able to get in and off the field quickly is always key."
Leibrandt received all the run support he would need in the bottom of the second inning thanks to Seth Miller's two-out, bases-clearing triple. The Seminoles loaded the bases on a single by John Nogowski, a bloop single to right by Jose Brizuela and a walk to Stephen McGee. With the count at 2-1, Miller went opposite field off Maine starter Steve Perakslis (0-1), finding the gap in left center for the team's first triple of the season to give FSU a 3-0 lead.
"I was looking for a fastball, and he threw one over the plate," said Miller. "I was behind the first one, swung late and fouled it off. I started a little sooner, squared it up and luckily hit it in the gap and cleared the bases."
The Seminoles added to their lead with a run in the fourth and fifth innings, taking advantage of a couple Maine errors. Justin Gonzalez led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to center, stole second and advanced to third on a combined fielding and throwing error by Maine third baseman Alex Calbick. McGee sent a line drive that went in and out of the glove of Calbick at third. He retrieved the ball and threw high over to first, allowing the runners to advance a base. After Miller was plunked on the arm to load the bases, one of two hit-by-pitches recorded by the junior right fielder on Friday, Sherman Johnson drove in a run, as he drew a bases-loaded walk.
A throwing error by Maine right fielder Brian Doran set up the Seminoles' fifth run of the afternoon. With James Ramsey on at first after drawing a walk, Jayce Boyd bounced a single through the right side. Boyd would end up at third, as the throw from Doran, who was trying to throw out Ramsey, sailed high over to third. Ramsey tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate. Nogowski brought home Boyd a batter later after blasting a base hit past a drawn-in infield at second base.
Florida State finished the scoring in the seventh, as Josh Delph drove in his first collegiate run on a well-executed sacrifice bunt to bring home Devon Travis from third. Travis led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a stolen base and moved to third on a wild pitch.
The Black Bears finished Friday's game with a season-high five errors.
Nogowski and Gonzalez each finished with two hits in Game 1 to lead all players, while Miller recorded his second multi-RBI game of the season, as he drove in three. Travis recorded his team-leading sixth double of the season in the third, making that No. 40 for his career.
Florida State and Maine will return to the diamond for a doubleheader Sunday, March 4, beginning at 12:05 p.m. Saturday's game was postponed and moved to Sunday due to the forecast of severe thunderstorms that plan on hitting the Tallahassee area on Saturday.
'Noles blank Maine to open series
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