The Seminoles erased a three-run deficit with four runs in the fifth to take their first lead of the ball game. FSU added four more runs over the final three innings to win the rubber game on Sunday.
"It was a big win for us today," said head coach Mike Martin. "I am very proud of these young men. When we fell behind by three, their guy was cooking (out on the mound). I am just very proud of the way we kept our poise, had some quality at-bats and got some great pitching."
Sherman Johnson led the Garnet and Gold as he tied a career-high with three hits on the afternoon, while Mike McGee went 2-for-5 with three RBI. Stuart Tapley added two hits and two runs, while Devon Travis put together a 1-for-2 performance with two RBI and a run scored.
Florida State's pitching staff was the story on Sunday as the Seminoles got five solid innings from starter John Gast. Geoff Parker and Mike McGee blanked the Blue Devils over the final four innings to preserve the win.
Gast (5-2) worked 5.0 innings for the Seminoles on Sunday to pick up his fifth victory of the season. The junior southpaw allowed just three runs, two earned, on five hits as he walked one and struck out one. It marked his longest outing since working 5.1 innings in earning a win over Maryland back on March 27.
"I ran into a little trouble in the second and third innings, but I was able to throw my fastball in a lot which was good because they were getting on the plate a little bit," said Gast. "I was really able to bury it in there which is something I haven't been able to do a lot this year."
Geoff Parker entered in the sixth and pitched three scoreless innings allowing just one Blue Devil batter to reach. The junior right hander retired the first seven batters that he faced before issuing his only walk of the afternoon in the eighth. Parker finished his outing on Sunday with one strike out.
Mike McGee pitched the ninth and worked around a pair of walks to start the inning to clinch the victory. The junior right hander got out of trouble as he sandwiched a strikeout between two fly outs.
"Johnny Gast had a good outing," added Martin. "I am very proud of him, and certainly Geoff Parker and Mike McGee; they did a great job this afternoon."
Duke struck first on Sunday as Marcus Stroman led off the bottom of the second with a triple and scored on an RBI groundout to second by Brian Litwin. The Blue Devils needed just two pitches to grab the early lead as Stroman laced a fly ball over the head of James Ramey in right for his second triple of the season and one pitch later scored on Litwin's RBI groundout.
Sherman Johnson registered the first Seminole hit of the game leading off the top of the third with a single to left. Johnson was erased from the base paths for the second out of the inning as he was thrown out trying to steal second. Parker Brunelle and Tyler Holt kept the inning alive drawing back-to-back walks off Duke starter Chase Bebout (4-1), but the freshman right hander got out of the jam getting Stephen Cardullo to ground into a fielder's choice put out at second to end the inning.
The Blue Devils extended their lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Duke loaded the bases as the first three batters to the plate reached on a single by Ryan McCurdy, a walk to Jake Lemmerman and a hit-by-pitch to Will Piwnica-Worms. After battling with Will Currier, Gast got the Blue Devil designated hitter to ground into a double play that scored McCurdy from third for the first run of the inning. Gast looked as though he would get out of the inning allowing just one run as Jeremy Gould hit a short fly to left. But Mike McGee could not come up with the catch resulting in the second run of the inning and a three-run lead for Duke.
FSU grabbed its first lead on Sunday scoring four runs in the top of the fifth for a 4-3 advantage. Tapley and Johnson led off the inning with a walk and single, respectively and then advanced 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Travis. Tapley registered the first Seminole run of the afternoon crossing the plate on a passed ball by McCurdy. Brunelle stepped in and just missed tying the game at three on a fly ball hauled in at the warning track by Duke right fielder Brian Litwin. The result of the play was a sac-fly as Johnson crossed the plate for the second FSU run of the game. Consecutive two-out walks to Holt and Cardullo came back to haunt Bebout as McGee brought them both home on a double to right center. McGee took a 0-2 pitch and drilled it off the wall for his fourth and fifth RBI of the series.
"It was kind of a stressful at-bat because I got down 0-2 real quick," said McGee. "Their pitcher made two good off speed pitches; he started with a change-up right down the middle and followed that with a curveball. The fastball I got he left it up a little and I was able to put a good swing on it."
"Michael certainly had a great at-bat," said Martin. "He hit the ball 400 feet and got a double. This park is a graveyard but it was a big, big hit for us to give us our first lead of the ball game."
Duke got the leadoff batter aboard in the fifth on a single through the left side by Lemmerman but he was left stranded at third as Gast retired the next three batters to maintain FSU's one-run lead.
Florida State added to its lead with a run in the seventh as Travis scored on a sac-fly to center by Cardullo. Duke reliever Ben Grisz issued a leadoff walk to Travis. Two batters later Holt laced a double to left to put runners on at second and third with one out. Cardullo then followed with a sac-fly to give the Seminoles a 5-3 lead.
Travis came through with a big two-out double in the eighth tacking on two more runs and extending FSU's lead to 7-3. The Seminoles strung together three straight two-out hits on a single up the middle by Tapley, a double to right center by Johnson and a two-run double down the left field line by Travis.
FSU retired 10 straight Duke hitters before Currier drew a one out walk from Parker in the eighth. But the runner was quickly eliminated as Parker got Gould to ground into an inning ending double play, the third turned by the Seminoles on Sunday.
"I went out there and threw and did what I knew how to do and did it well," said Parker. "It felt good; it always feels good when you can go out there and shut the opposing team down, no matter what the situation is, whether you are up by a lot or down by a lot. I wanted to go in there and keep the game where it was at and let the offense do their job."
McGee drove in his third run of the afternoon with a base hit through the right side of the infield scoring Cardullo for an 8-3 Florida State advantage. Cardullo reached on a double to the gap in right center and moved to third as he swiped his 14th base of the season to remain perfect on the year in the stolen base category.
The Seminoles are back in action for a two-game mid-week contest against Charleston Southern beginning Tuesday, April 20 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium. Both games will air live over the internet on Seminoles.com All-Access while fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team, 94.3 FM and on the web at Seminoles.com. Fans are encouraged to come out to the stadium on Wednesday as the Noles host ALS Awareness Night at the ball park. Donations will be accepted at the gate, a silent auction will be held at the stadium and players and coaches from Florida State will wear jerseys which will be auctioned off online at Seminoles.com. Proceeds from the event will go towards ALS Research and the Florida Chapter ALS Association.