FSU Sweeps Oral Roberts

The Sauls Brothers teamed to help Florida State sweep Oral Roberts on Sunday at Dick Howser Stadium. Starting pitcher <b>Mark Sauls</b> turned in a solid performance before giving way to the Seminoles' bullpen, and brother <b>Matt Sauls</b> ripped the game-winning hit with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as FSU nipped Oran Roberts 4-3.

Florida State coach Mike Martin expressed earlier concerns with starting pitcher Mark Sauls after Sauls surrendered three runs on five hits in relief against Jacksonville last Monday.

Well, Sauls made a positive statement on Sunday, helping the Seminoles sweep the Golden Eagles with a 4-3 victory on Sunday.

Although Sauls did not get the victory, he turned in a solid effort, surrendering two runs -- one earned -- in 5.1 innings. Sauls allowed four hits, fanned five and did not walk a batter before giving way to middle reliever Rhett James.

James notched the win, going 3.2 innings and allowing three hits and fanning two.

Oral Roberts tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning, but FSU won it in the bottom of the ninth on Matt Sauls' sharp single to left field.

Talk about Brotherly Love.

"My brother was awesome," Mark Sauls said of Matt's game-winning hit. Still, Mark Sauls' performance should help soothe any nerves surrounding the Seminoles' starting rotation.

"Mark Sauls showed that he belongs and that's what we've been wanting to see out of him," said FSU coach Mike Martin, who wasn't around to see the end of the game as he was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a call at first base.

"Jamey (Shouppe, FSU pitching coach) did a great job with him the last week, straightening out some things. He spotted his fastball extremely well and threw all the other pitches to locations."

Sauls, who entered with a 7.04 earned-run average, said he didn't feel any pressure entering the game. Sauls also said he felt his changeup has improved following extra sessions with Shouppe last week.

"All the coaches watched the tape from the last game and they came in and told me I hit every spot," Sauls said. "I was just unlucky. I wasn't really worried at all. I just came out today and did what I've been doing and it all came together.

"They were a very good hitting team. That's one of the things we talked about as pitchers, we wanted to keep away from them. The first day of BP, they were hitting balls over the scoreboard. We knew they could turn on the ball, so the main thing was keep it away from them and make them hit it to the right side."

Brother Matt Sauls, who was moved to the leadoff spot for the game by Martin, ended up being the right player in the right spot in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Pinch-hitter Gibbs Champman walked and was sacrificed to second base by catcher Aaron Cheesman's bunt. It was Cheesman's first sacrifice of the year. Sauls then followed with the game-winning hit.

"It's amazing he came up in that situation," Martin said. "But it was a good spot for an experienced guy to be in and Saulsie did a great job of getting it done for us.

"I am very proud of this ballclub. It was a good weekend for us. We were challenged and we were pushed all three ballgames, we knew we had to play well and we did. I am very, very pleased."

Matt Sauls was pleased as well.

"The hit to win the game feels good," Sauls said.

"The first pitch, he threw me a slider and the next pitch was the same exact pitch -- they have been throwing me sliders the whole game, so I figured they would come after me with sliders again. I just thought about hitting it hard.

"He (brother) did a very good job. He got ahead of the hitters and threw a lot of strikes. That's a very good team there."


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