Seminoles offense wakes up in dominating sweep of Hurricanes

Based on the first month of the season, no one would have predicted the prodigious production of Florida State’s offense the past week against two top-10 opponents.

The Seminoles beat Florida 10-2 on Tuesday and then outscored Miami 34-2 over three games in its first road sweep of the Hurricanes since 2002. FSU was rewarded in the polls Monday, checking in as high as No. 15.

“That was a four-game stretch that was much needed,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “I don’t think I’ve seen a group play better.”

The Seminoles (10-6, 7-5 ACC) got out to a 5-6 start, their worst record ever after 11 games. They were swept by Pittsburgh at home in their conference opening series and hit .183 and averaged 3.4 runs in their first eight ACC games.

The turning point came after they lost 5-0 in the second game at Virginia Tech on March 13. The next day they won 14-7 to start their current five-game streak.

“That Virginia Tech series really woke us up,” catcher Mat Nelson said. “Playing in front of that crowd and everybody taunting us the way they did. It really opened our eyes. People all over the country, all over the state, were bashing us, (even) our own fans. We’re not going to take that.”

Robby Martin was 8 for 15 with three doubles and a home run against Miami, Nelson was 6 for 12 with a double and two home runs and Logan Lacey was 6 for 14 with two doubles and a homer.

FSU pitchers struck out 34 and starters Conor Grady, Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart led a staff that posted an 0.67 ERA against the Hurricanes. Miami batted just .140 in the series. The Seminoles committed no errors.

IN THE POLLS

Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter turned in two more stellar pitching performances against South Carolina, and those carried Vanderbilt (15-3) to the No. 1 ranking in the D1Baseball.com and Collegiate Baseball newspaper polls Monday. The Commodores remain No. 3 by Baseball America.

Rocker struck out 14 in a 3-2 win Friday, and Leiter threw a no-hitter with a career-high 16 strikeouts in a 5-0 win Saturday. The Commodores lost 6-5 Sunday.

Rocker and Leiter are projected to be the Nos. 1 and 2 overall picks in the Major League Baseball draft this summer. The two have combined to strike out 97 and allow three earned runs in 60 innings.

Arkansas (14-3) took two of three from Alabama at home after losing a midweek home game against Oklahoma and slipped to No. 2 in the D1Baseball poll and to fifth in Collegiate Baseball. Baseball America still rates the Razorbacks No. 1.

Mississippi State (16-4) is No. 2 by Baseball America and No. 3 by D1Baseball. Collegiate Baseball’s Nos. 2 and 3 teams are Florida (16-5) and Mississippi (16-4).

THAT HAD TO HURT

Michigan State had in-state rival Michigan down 7-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth inning and had not allowed a baserunner past second Sunday. The first five batters reached base in the Wolverines’ half, and Jimmy Obertop hit a two-run walk-off home run to give his team an 8-7 win.

“It’s a memory for our players, coaches, staff and fans, something they’ll never forget,” coach Erik Bakich said. “That kind of thing just doesn’t happen very often. I’ve never been part of something like that.”

ANOTHER WALK-OFF

Speaking of walk-offs, five of California’s 12 wins have come on its final at-bat. The latest was Sunday, when Dylan Beavers hit his seventh homer of the season in the bottom of the ninth for a 9-8 victory over Cal Baptist.

THAT HAD TO HURT II

Ohio State’s Seth Lonsway and Joe Gahm combined to allow just one hit against Rutgers — and lost.

Big Ten home run leader Chris Brito hit his eighth in the first inning, and it stood up in the Scarlet Knights’ 2-0 win. Ben Wereski and Dale Stanavich combined on a five-hit shutout.

Lonsway struck out eight and walked four over seven innings in his best start of the season.

PITCHING POWELL

Walker Powell continues to string together outstanding pitching performances, and doing it a bit under the radar.

The Southern Mississippi senior allowed three hits over eight innings in a 5-0 win over Missouri State on Saturday and extended his scoreless inning streak to 23.

Since the start of last season, Powell has given up eight runs in 57 innings (1.26 ERA) with 51 strikeouts and six walks.

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