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Florida State routs Georgia again

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sixth-ranked Florida State improved to 9-0 following a 9-2 win over No. 25 Georgia Saturday in front of a crowd of 5,287 at Dick Howser Stadium.

Georgia senior right-hander Jeff Walters needed 38 pitches to retire the Seminoles in the first as they got a leadoff double from Tyler Holt and eventually loaded the bases after a couple of walks but ultimately came away empty. Walters struck out two in the frame including Sherman Johnson for the final out. Walters never finished the second frame, leaving with the bases loaded and two outs and FSU up 3-0. In his first two starts this season, Walters had walked just one with 10 strikeouts in 10.2 innings. Senior Justin Earls came on for Walters and got Johnson to fly out to left on a 3-1 pitch to end the second. Walters issued a career-high six walks in 1.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and threw 72 pitches. FSU scored its three runs on a wild pitch, a single and a bases-loaded walk. The Seminoles came in the game with a team batting average of .387 and their starting nine had a combined average of .426. They collected 13 hits on the night as Holt finished 3-for-5 with three RBI.

"Even though it's tough losing 9-2, I did see some progress," said Georgia coach David Perno. "I saw a lot more positives after this bashing compared to Friday. The last four innings we got some shutouts on the mound, I saw some better approaches at the plate and the team fought hard."

Georgia (6-5) got a run back in the third but FSU avoided a big inning courtesy of a couple base-running mistakes by the Bulldogs. Third baseman Kevin Ruiz and catcher Carson Schilling led off the inning with a couple of base hits and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Todd Hankins. On a 2-2 pitch, sophomore Johnathan Taylor drove in his team-leading 11th run with a high chopper to first that he beat out for a base hit. With runners at the corners for Colby May, he saw one pitch before the inning ended. First, FSU left-hander John Gast picked off Taylor. Then, his first pitch to May bounced off the plate and got a few feet away from catcher Rafael Lopez and Schilling tried to score. He was out by several feet to send the game to the bottom of the third. The Seminoles got the run right back on a two-out, run-scoring single by Holt off the glove of Ruiz for a 4-1 advantage. Gast had three pickoffs on the night, getting Brett DeLoach in the fourth and Hankins in the sixth to give the Seminoles eight on the year. He provided seven strong innings, allowing one run on seven hits for the victory to move his record to 3-0. Walters got the loss to fall to 0-1.

FSU broke open the game with a five-run outburst in the fourth, collecting six hits including three that never left the infield. Holt's two-run triple capped the scoring as the Seminoles extended their lead to 9-1. Georgia turned to freshman Cooper Moseley to start the fifth. Earls allowed six runs on eight hits over 2.1 innings. For Earls, it was his 86th career appearance, which ranks fourth in school history. Former All-American Joshua Fields holds the school record with 114 appearances in his four-year career. Moseley tossed two shutout innings, giving up a pair of hits and recorded one strikeout. Freshman Blake Dieterich also pitched two scoreless innings.

May delivered a run-scoring double in the eighth off Hunter Scantling, bringing home freshman Robert Shipman who led off the inning with a walk. With one out and runners at second and third, FSU brought in Tyler Everett and he struck out Peter Verdin and then DeLoach worked a walk to load the bases for Zach Cone. Everett struck out Cone to keep it 9-2. Verdin went 0-for-4 on the night that ended his hitting streak at 10 games.

After the game, Perno indicated that May would return to third base on Sunday and Moseley would get the start at second base as injuries have forced Georgia to shuffle its infield since the season opener. In the FSU series, May has made starts at shortstop and second base. He started all 62 games last season at third base.

"We're playing a very good Florida State team, and we've been able to see all our weaknesses in this series, and now it's time to make the adjustments as conference season is only a couple weeks away," said Perno.

The series concludes today with first pitch slated for 1:06 p.m. as the game will be televised by SUN Sports. The Bulldogs will start sophomore right-hander Michael Palazzone (2-0, 6.00 ERA) while the Seminoles counter with junior right-hander Geoff Parker (1-0, 5.79 ERA).