Noles Complete the Sweep
Barret Browning's quality outing gave him his first win in an FSU uniform. The junior transfer out of Chipola Community College worked around four walks and three hits in five innings of work before giving way to Hunter Jones.
Jones, making his first appearance since offseason surgery on his pitching elbow, made an impressive return with three scoreless innings before Ryan Strauss worked the ninth.
"He was very impressive and certainly showed us that he is ready to be Hunter Jones again," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "I would say he is one hundred percent."
Nine different Seminoles knocked in runs in an offensive performance that was highlighted by FSU's first two homers of the season. Reserve catcher Danny Diaz and outfielder Ruairi O'Conner both jumped on first-pitch fastballs and blasted shots into the parking lot beyond the left-field fence for their first career home runs.
FSU touched five different Keydet pitchers for 13 hits on the afternoon, seven of which went for extra bases.
"I think they had it in their minds to get some of their younger pitchers in there to get some work," Martin said. "So it got a little bit out of hand. We're not looking to hit the ball out of the ballpark. We just wanted to hit the ball hard."
O'Conner and infielder Ryne Jernigan played well in their starting debuts for the Seminoles (6-0). Jernigan scored a run, drove in another and played flawless defense at both shortstop and second base.
O'Conner, who graduated from high school in December to enroll early, complemented his two-run, fifth-inning blast by scoring two more. O'Conner started the game in right before moving over to center when Jack Rye – the starter in the first five contests – entered the game.
"It was a great feeling,"said O'Connor of his homer. "I can't even explain what I was feeling coming around the bases. I got a curtain call, wow."
The Keydets (0-3) were betrayed by their defense. A pair of throwing errors by losing pitcher Mike Anton in the second inning led to the first two FSU runs of the afternoon as errant tosses allowed both O'Conner and Bryan Henry to reach.
VMI – now 0-14 against FSU all-time – committed four errors on the afternoon.
FSU returns to action next weekend when Auburn comes to town for a three-game series that will provide a excellent barometer for the youthful Seminoles.
"I'm very happy with where we are this point," said Martin, who will evaluate returning Jones to a starting role. "But you still have to be cautious. Next weekend will be a good measuring tool for this team."
Added Jones: "We're playing great ball. These guys have been putting it (work) in and we have been putting up numbers. It's all coming together."
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