Scott Sitz provided No. 9 Florida State (6-0) exactly what they were looking for in game one of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon in defeating USF (1-4) 8-0 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
The senior right hander tossed a career-high 8.0 shutout innings scattering four hits and two walks while striking out six in earning his first victory of the season. After giving up a double to Kyle Teaf to start the fifth, Sitz (1-0) retired the next nine batters that he faced.
The Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native kept the Bulls off-balanced all afternoon using all three pitches effectively. He allowed just three base runners beyond first base over his eight innings of work on Sunday.
"Sitz just totally controlled the situation today," said head coach Mike Martin. "I was really, really pleased with his performance. He had three pitches going for him. That is what it takes to beat a club like South Florida."
"That is the farthest that I have been in a game since my freshman year when I pitched in Alaska (during the summer)," said Sitz. "My slider was really working. I was throwing it to both lefties and righties. For the lefties, it was more like a back door pitch on the outside part of the plate. I was trying to throw it away to righties but it seemed to stay in. Overall, I was pleased with the way it was breaking today."
Dating back to last year's game against UCLA in the College World Series, Sitz has put together 13.2 consecutive scoreless innings. Over his last four starts, Sitz has allowed just two runs in 23.0 innings.
"I think Mike Bell deserves so much credit in the way that he has bear downed on what he feels is necessary for Scotty to be what he is capable of being," added Martin. "And that is a guy that can spot the ball; that can throw the curveball in hitter's counts; that can throw the change-up at any time. He has always held runners fairly well. Scott is a big, big part of this (the success of the team)."
"I heard you guys talking about it," said Sitz on his scoreless innings streak. "Before that I wouldn't have known, I knew I hadn't given one up this year."
Sitz was also the beneficiary of a four-run first inning that gave the Seminoles an early 4-0 lead. FSU took advantage of two defensive errors as well as some wildness from USF starter Nick Gonzalez (0-2). Josh Delph was hit by a pitch to lead-off the bottom of the first. Giovanny Alfonzo followed with a walk and D.J. Stewart reached on a fielder's choice groundball back to the mound which led to Delph scoring after USF third baseman Kyle Copack could not handle the throw from Gonzalez on a force out at third. Two batters later Marcus Davis drove in Alfonzo and Stewart on a single up the middle. He would score the fourth run of the inning when he stole second. As the throw from first baseman Buddy Putnam ricocheted off his helmet, left fielder Austin Lueck could not field the ball cleanly resulting in Davis scoring from second.
USF's Gonzalez settled down following a shaky first inning and left after the fifth well over 100 pitches. The junior left hander allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits as he walked four and struck out a career-high 10 batters.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the sixth on a two-run bloop single off the bat of John Sansone. Jose Brizuela and Brett Knief drew back-to-back walks to open the inning off Bulls reliever Justin Patrick and both advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch. With the infield playing in, Sansone dropped a single into short right field to score both Brizuela and Knief and push FSU's advantage to 6-0.
Brizuela upped the score to 8-0 on a two-run double in the seventh. Stephen McGee led off the inning with a double to left and moved to third on a passed ball. Two batters later, John Nogowski reached when he was hit on the foot by Patrick. Both runners would come around to score on Brizuela's double to the gap in right center.
With his pitch count at 99, Sitz gave way to freshman right hander Kenny Burkhead to work the ninth.
"This was the next longest outing of my career, so it felt great," added Sitz. "To be able to go that far, I wanted to go out for the ninth inning, but coach Bell wasn't having any of it due to my pitch count."
Burkhead was impressive in his collegiate debut working a scoreless inning as he walked one in the four batters that he faced. The Deltona, Fla., native induced a lineout and a pair of groundouts to preserve the shutout.
Six different Seminole registered a hit in the win, while Davis, Brizuela and Sansone each drove in two runs apiece.