Sophomore Giovanny Alfonzo came through with a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie and lift No. 4 Florida State (23-2) to a 2-1 victory over Florida (11-15) on Tuesday night in front of 9,269 fans at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Seminoles have taken the first two meetings between the Sunshine State rivals and the teams will wrap up the season series in Tallahassee on April 9.
Sophomore Jose Brizuela opened the home part of the eighth with a double into the right-field corner and went to third when freshman Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (0-2) was charged with a balk. Sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) relieved Young, who worked a career-high four innings with a personal-best five strikeouts, and had junior pinch hitter Casey Smit ground out to first base, holding the runner at third. Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen and caught senior Seth Miller looking on strikes for the second out. However, Alfonzo legged out an infield single to shortstop that brought home Brizuela with the eventual winning run. FSU junior Robby Coles worked a perfect ninth to collect his fifth save and nail down the win for redshirt junior Gage Smith (3-0), who threw one pitch in the eighth inning.
The Seminoles had loaded the bases with none out in the first inning against freshman Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) and took a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Josh Delph led off with a double into left field and went to third on an infield single by junior Marcus Davis (2-for-4). Freshman DJ Stewart was hit by a pitch to fill the bags and Simpson countered with back-to-back strikeouts of redshirt junior Stephen McGee and Brizuela. After sophomore John Nogowski drew a walk after a nine-pitch at bat to bring across Delph with the game’s opening run, Simpson had Miller fly out to right field to strand the runners.
Florida answered with the tying run in the top of the second on a two-out RBI single by Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.). Sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) began the inning with a base-hit into right field off of sophomore Luke Weaver but was erased when senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) doubled off the wall in right field and sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) was hit by a pitch before Mitchell tied the contest with a base-knock into center field.
Young took over for Simpson in the fourth after the right-hander had allowed three hits and one run, with three strikeouts and three walks. Young made quick work of the Seminoles, retiring the side on five pitches.
McGee drew a one-out walk in the fifth and stole second with two down before Young came through with an inning-ending strikeout of Nogowski.
In the sixth, freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) reached on a fielding error by shortstop Alfonzo with one out, ending a stretch of 11 consecutive Gators retired by Weaver. With two down, Bader raced all the way to third base on a failed pickoff attempt by Weaver and Gushue was walked intentionally. The righty struck out Ramjit to keep the contest deadlocked at a run apiece.
Alfonzo walked on a full count with one down in the bottom of the frame, stole second with two down and took third on an errant relay throw by Gushue. Young had Delph ground out to Ramjit at first base to preserve the stalemate.
Sophomore left-hander Bryant Holtmann took over for Weaver after FSU’s starter matched his career high with nine strikeouts and permitted three hits and one run over six innings. Holtmann was able to put the Gators down in order.
Davis led off the Seminoles’ seventh with a single up the middle and Young had Stewart hit into a 6-3 double play and struck out McGee for his fifth K of the night. Florida State wound up with a 7-3 advantage in hits and its bullpen threw three scoreless and hitless frames.