TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The #10 Florida State Seminoles scored in three of the first four innings and never looked back, en route to a 12-0 win over the VMI Keydets in the season opener for both teams, played Friday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla.
FSU jumped ahead in the second inning, scoring an unearned run on a two-out double by second baseman Devon Travis. The Seminoles then added two in the third, again with two outs, and two more in the fourth to go ahead 5-0. Neither side scored in the 5th and 6th innings, but the home team put the game out of reach in the seventh and eighth, taking advantage of three Keydet walks and a hit batter to plate seven runs in the two frames and give them the 12-0 win.
FSU left-hander Sean Gilmartin (1-0) pitched seven shutout innings, settling down after a rocky start to allow six hits and strike out six. The junior did not walk a batter, while his counterpart, Adam Lopez (0-1), reached his pitch count after just three innings, during which he allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits and four walks. All told, VMI walked 10 hitters and had two errors, and eight of those 12 free bases scored.
"I thought Adam Lopez struggled a bit to command the strike zone today," said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. "That got him to his pitch count after three innings, but Campbell Henkel did a nice job giving us three innings as a freshman in this environment. Overall, however, you can't give free bases to the 10th-ranked team in the country and expect to win."
VMI threatened in the top of the first against Gilmartin, as after the first two hitters were retired, Graham Sullivan and Alex Haitsuka had back-to-back hits. Jacob Morley followed with a seeing-eye single to left, but Sullivan was thrown out at home on a close play, retiring the side and keeping the Keydets off the scoreboard.
The Seminoles struck in the bottom of the second on Travis' double, which scored shortstop Justin Gonzalez after he had reached on a wild pitch during a strikeout. Lopez got the first out of the third inning, but after two straight walks, a fly out advanced the lead runner. First baseman Jayce Boyd then doubled home both runners, increasing the lead to 3-0, and cleanup hitter James Ramsey had a two-run single in the fourth against Campbell Henkel, pushing the margin to 5-0.
Henkel held the FSU bats at bay in the 5th and 6th, helped by an outfield assist from Jacob Morley. After the freshman permitted just a walk in the 5th, the Seminoles loaded the bases in the 6th, but could not score. The key play was a fly out to right field with the bases loaded, as Morley played the ball in to shortstop Sam Roberts. Roberts ran at the middle runner for a moment, but then saw Sherman Johnson, who had slipped briefly, caught between third and home. The VMI shortstop ran at Johnson, and caught him in a rundown. He was tagged out for the second out, and Henkel retired the next hitter to end the frame without damage.
Unfortunately for the Keydets, Gilmartin allowed just three hits after the first inning, and VMI had just one runner in scoring position over the final eight frames. The Keydets also had just one extra base hit against the former Team USA hurler, and after he left the game, FSU tacked on two runs in the seventh and five in the eighth to account for the final margin, 12-0.
Graham Sullivan was the only VMI player with multiple hits, as he went 2 for 4 on the day, including posting VMI's only extra-base hit, a double. The Seminoles outhit VMI 12-6, while the visiting Keydets committed two errors in the season-opening setback.
VMI will be back in action Friday, for game two of the three-game series at Dick Howser Stadium. Game time is set for 2 p.m.