For Pete Sake

Lefty Trent Peterson didn't have time to get comfortable in the bullpen Wednesday against No. 9 seed Duke, getting the call with two outs in the top of the first inning. Peterson didn't blink, pitching suberbly as the top-ranked Seminoles dodged a huge upset to rally past the Blue Devils 10-7. "I was spotting my fastball real well, and I got my strikeouts on my curveball," said Peterson, who surrendered just three hits with one walk and four strike outs in 7.1 innings.

Trent Peterson had every reason to celebrate Wednesday night.

Peterson pitched brilliantly in Florida State's come-from-behind 10-7 win over Duke in opening-round play of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in St. Petersburg. A bushed Peterson, however, planned to relax and have dinner with his father.

There's still plenty of work left for Peterson and the top-ranked Seminoles (52-12), who carry their 18-game winning streak into Thursday's second round against fourth-seeded Clemson (45-12) at 5 p.m. The Tigers mauled Georgia Tech 10-0 in Wednesday's opening game.

Of course, FSU swept Clemson on the road last weekend to capture the ACC regular-season title.

"We didn't get to sit on the victory too long, because you know Clemson will be ready when it comes out tomorrow," Peterson said. "You can't think about what you did last weekend. You have to focus on the game at hand and take it inning-by-inning."

That also pretty much describes Peterson's effort against gritty Duke, which rocked FSU starter Robby Read for five runs in the first inning. Peterson, a left-handed sophomore who is noted for his control, entered with two outs in the top of the first and was able cool the Blue Devils.

Peterson was simply superb, surrendering just three hits with one walk and four strike outs in 7.1 innings. He gave way to lefty Justin Miller in the ninth, who loaded the bases and surrendered a two-out single. Lefty Daniel Hodges got the final hitter to pop-up as FSU avoided its first defeat in the opening round of the ACC tourney since 1994 against North Carolina State.

Peterson improved his record to 4-2 and has allowed just 18 earned runs in 49 innings.

"I was spotting my fastball real well, and I got my strikeouts on my curveball," said Peterson, who also said he threw 94 pitches. "I seemed to throw it (curveball) where I wanted to for a strike and when I wanted to throw it down for a ball, I was able to do that, too. So that worked real well."

Peterson, who recorded his first career complete game in FSU's victory over Wake Forest in last year's ACC Tournament, allowing just one earned run on five hits with eight strike outs, had to quickly prepare himself Wednesday following Read's struggles.

"You have to get mentally prepared really fast when you are down there in the bullpen," said Peterson, who went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA that was the lowest among all five Seminole starting pitchers last season.

"Luckily, when I came in, there was already two outs. You just have to get that first out, then regroup in the dugout and take it from there. I didn't get a chance to prepare for their batters. They were a free-swinging club and I was able to get a lot of quick outs because I was able to spot my pitches."

As Peterson slowed Duke's bats, the Seminoles rallied from a 5-2 deficit entering the seventh inning.

"We keep our poise pretty well," said Peterson, who threw one previous inning against Duke this season.

"We are playing pretty good right now and that helps with our confidence level. When we get behind, we don't give up, we keep our poise and we know that within time we are going to come back. It seems we've been doing that all year. Everybody was pretty confident on the bench and we thought we would get to them.

"You have to give Duke credit. I think a lot of people were figuring Maryland was going to win that game (play-in game against Duke Tuesday). They came out and stroked the ball, basically picking up where they left off (against Maryland in 10-9 victory). But we were able to capitalize and come back late in the game and get the W. It's good to get that first win because you don't want to fall into the losers' bracket on opening day and have to fight your way through it."

Thanks in large part to Peterson, the Seminoles can breath a sigh of relief and relax for the evening. And that's exactly what Peterson had planned.

"As soon as I can find my dad, we are going to get something to eat," Peterson said and laughed.


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