Top-ranked Florida State (40-8) broke up a one-run game late, scoring seven runs in the ninth for a 9-1 victory over Stetson (30-18) Tuesday night inside Conrad Park on Melching Field. With the victory, the Seminoles reached the 40-win plateau for the 35th year in a row.
"Anybody here tonight saw a very good ballgame, and anybody that saw the score had no idea what a great ballgame that was," said coach Mike Martin. "We are very impressed with that Stetson team. We were very fortunate to win tonight."
Florida State's Scott Sitz and Stetson's Will Dorsey found themselves in a pitcher's duel during the early going, as neither team cracked the scoreboard until James Ramsey lifted a one out, two-run shot to right in the sixth to give FSU a 2-0 lead.
Sitz (3-2) gave Florida State exactly what it needed with the Seminoles playing their fourth game in five days. The junior right hander went six-plus innings allowing just one run on five hits, as he did not issue a walk and struck out one. Sitz held the Hatters without a run through the first six innings stranding three runners in scoring position, including a runner at third in the third and fifth.
"The only thing that's predictable about the game of baseball is the unpredictability," added Martin. "It was a game in which we needed a quality start. We got it from Scott Sitz, and that was huge. It was just a big lift to get those innings out of him tonight."
"After my last two starts, which weren't that great, to come out here and throw six was really nice," said Sitz. "I was trying to stay out there as long as I could to give our bullpen a break."
Dorsey was just as impressive, shutting out the Seminoles through the first five innings allowing just two hits. But Ramsey made him pay for a pitch up in the zone in the sixth, as the senior captain deposited a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right for his team-leading 11th home run of the season.
"Ramsey's hit was certainly huge," added Martin. "Any time you get a home run in this day in age, you are tickled to death. When it produces two runs, you're twice as happy."
The Seminoles blew the game open in the ninth, as 13 batters came to the plate en route to scoring seven runs for the winning margin.
Ramsey led the Seminole offense with a 3 for 4 night, as the drove in two and scored twice. Jayce Boyd picked up two hits, while Sherman Johnson, Devon Travis, Stephen McGee, Justin Gonzalez and Jose Brizuela all registered a hit apiece.
With the victory, the Seminoles extended their win streak to four over the Hatters while recording their seventh straight win in DeLand.
Bryant Holtmann and Gage Smith combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief. Holtmann allowed a hit and struck out one in the seventh, while Smith pitched the final two innings to earn his third save of the season.
Stetson's Tanner Blackman, who went 4 for 4, registered the first hit of the game for either team in the bottom of the third, reaching on an infield single that ricocheted off the glove of Sitz. After a stolen base and a groundout to short put Blackman at third with only one out, Sitz recorded a key out, as Trey Blackman grounded to second with the infield playing in to hold the runner at third. The junior right hander then struck out Sam Kimmel for the third out of the inning to keep the game scoreless.
Ramsey opened the fourth with FSU's first hit of the game, finding the hole through the right side. He swiped second for his seventh steal of the game with one out but was stranded at second after Dorsey recorded a groundout and a flyout to retire the side.
A one-out double by Stetson's Ben Carhart in the fourth went to no avail, as Sitz registered consecutive groundouts to keep the game scoreless.
Gonzalez led off the top of the fifth legging out an infield single to short but was thrown out at second after trying to advance a base on the overthrow from Hatters shortstop Mark Jones. Dorsey then recorded back-to-back groundouts to keep the Seminoles off the scoreboard.
Stetson wasted a golden opportunity to plate the first run of the game when Tanner Blackman hammered a one-out triple to the gap in right center. But Sitz once again recorded another key out with the infield drawn in, as Spencer Theisen hit a groundball to Gonzalez at short, who looked Blackman back and then threw on to first for the second out of the inning. Sitz then got Trey Blackman to fly out to left to end the scoring threat and keep the game knotted at zero after five complete.
"That was definitely awesome," said Sitz on getting out of trouble with runners in scoring position. "Having the infield in, any hard hit ball will get through easily, but I was able to throw some good pitches and get some key groundballs to get outs."
Dorsey's (6-5) night would come to a close after giving up the two-run home run to Ramsey with one out in the sixth. It would be the only runs the Hatter right hander would give up in 5 1/3 innings of work, finishing the game issuing four hits and one walk while striking out two.
Stetson would chase Sitz in the seventh after the Hatters led off the inning with a double and a single by Jones and Kurt Schluter, respectively, to put runners at the corners. Holtmann entered and held the Hatters to just one run, as James Rasmussen drove in Jones on a groundout to third. After an infield single put runners at the corners for the second time in the inning, Holtmann got Theisen swinging on strikes and then Trey Blackman to fly out to right to keep FSU out in front at 2-1.
Kimmel drew a walk to start the bottom of the eighth off Smith and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Robert Crews. But the Hatters left Kimmel stranded at second, as Smith got Carhart to line out to Seth Miller in right and Jones to pop out to Boyd at first.
Florida State and Stetson return to the diamond for Game 2 of the midweek series Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
Sitz paces FSU to victory over Stetson
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