Playing a game that meant virtually nothing with regard to the standings, Florida State finished the season strong Saturday with a 6-2 victory over NC State on Senior Day.
Coach Mike Martin recognized the effort.
"As small as it might be to some people, those guys in that clubhouse don't play a meaningless game," Martin said following the win. "They play baseball, and they play it right. I'm proud to be a part of them. Went out there today, let's face it, what were we playing for? But they went out there and competed and got it done against a very good North Carolina State team. It makes me proud to be a Florida State Seminole. We know that was nothing more than just playing the game professionally, but at the same time it gives me an indication more so that we have a baseball team that is my kind of team and is gonna compete for 27 outs every day, day in and day out."
Similar to Brandon Leibrandt on Friday, freshman pitcher Mike Compton rebounded from his lone loss of the year versus Clemson to beat the Wolfpack and improve to 10-1. He lasted six innings and surrendered two runs on six hits while piecing together his consistently strong fastball-slider combination to strike out seven.
After his last outing, Compton personally wanted a strong start to gain momentum heading into a tough ACC Tournament.
"It was huge," he said of the victory. "To get that confidence going into the ACC Tournament, it's huge. You definitely don't want to be struggling going into the ACC Tournament. It was really important, I thought. Even though statistically or whatever it didn't really mean much, it was definitely important to me and the team."
The ‘Noles wasted no time putting up runs following the Senior Day festivities, which saw Mack Waugh, Brian Busch, Hunter Scantling, Sherman Johnson and captain James Ramsey honored on the field with their families.
With one out in the first, Wolfpack starter Anthony Tzamtzis handed free passes to four consecutive Seminoles -- starting with Devon Travis and ending with Stephen McGee -- to give the ‘Noles their first run. Josh Delph's sacrifice fly to left then scored Ramsey and put FSU up 2-0.
Two outs into the FSU second, Travis made it 3-0 by blasting a double over center fielder Jake Fincher's head to bring in the hustling Johnson from first.
Florida State batters reached base via the walk 11 times, with the one through four hitters accounted for nine of them.
McGee also walked once, but most of the 4,891 in attendance will remember the two times Wolfpack hurlers hit him. The 16 occurrences of getting drilled this year put him at the fourth most single season hit-by-pitches in Seminole history.
McGee's first plunking of the day loaded the bases full of Seminoles in the fourth, and Delph brought two in with a single past the drawn-in NC State third baseman for his second and third RBIs of the ballgame, a career high.
In the same inning, Nogowski scored McGee with a sharp groundout to second to conclude the FSU scoring at six.
NC State's Ryan Mathews supplied Compton with his lone blemish by launching a two-run, opposite-field homer to right center. It was Mathews' third long ball of the series and 14th this season.
It didn't matter, though, as Compton struck out two of the next three Wolfpack hitters and then handed the reigns to Luke Weaver, who tossed three shutout innings and tied a career high with five Ks to close the game.
The Seminoles concluded their surprising season with 24 ACC victories, tying the conference record set by Clemson in 2006 and FSU in '08.
Florida State's ACC Tournament bracket consists of Virginia, Clemson and Georgia Tech. Right off the bat, the 'Noles will most likely face top prospect Buck Farmer when they meet the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday to open round-robin play in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Winners in the last game of the season and for the second straight day, McGee feels that Florida State has returned to playing quality baseball.
"It was real important," he said. "Not as important as yesterday. Yesterday was real big for us to try and get back up on our feet and start playing how we know how to play. Today was important for us to carry yesterday over to today and keep playing the way we were playing and keep being a solid team. Today was a huge day, especially for the seniors. You always want to go out with a bang, especially for the seniors. You want them to go out feeling good. So it was a great win, really big for us."
Jonathan Bockman is the baseball reporter for NoleDigest.com and a student in Sport Management at Florida State.
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