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Georgia Southern hammers Florida State in regional opener

Georgia Southern hammers Florida State in regional opener

Georgia Southern hammers Florida State in regional opener

Georgia Southern starting pitcher Sam...

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State head coach Mike Martin said it best.
    “I can’t remember distinctly the last time my daddy took me to the woodshed and whipped my butt,” he said. “But that’s pretty doggone close to the way I feel.”
    From the opening pitch to the final out, the Seminoles didn’t stand a chance against Georgia Southern pitcher Sam Howard and fourth-seeded Eagles, who pounded Florida State, the No. 4 team in the country, 7-0 in the opening game of the NCAA regionals on Friday at Dick Howser Stadium.
    Howard pitched a complete game for the first time in his career, mowed down 10 batters and threw a complete game two-hitter as GSU belted out 16 hits.
    “We were totally dominated by Sam Howard, who did a beautiful job, a great job of pitching,” Martin said. “We fought, and that’s all you can ask from our club. You tip your hat to Georgia Southern, plain and simple. They were beautiful. They deserved to win.”
    Georgia Southern (40-21) got doubles off the bats of Aaron Mizell (2), Hunter Thomas, Garrett Chapman, Chase Griffin and Dalton Busby.
    “We’re seeing the ball really well lately,” Mizell said. “Right now we’re sticking with the approach that we work on every day in batting practice. I just try to put together good at-bats every time I go out there.”
    The icing on the cake came in the top of the ninth with a two-run bomb by Busby and a solo homer by Chapman.
    “My team battled all night and kept putting up runs,” Howard said. “It helped me relax all night.”
    The top-seeded Seminoles (43-16) elected to start Mike Compton, the regular Saturday starter, and he didn’t make it out of the second inning.
    The Eagles, which plated a pair of runs in the first, chased Compton out of the ballgame with one out in the second after Chapman led things off with a double, Griffin walked on four pitches and Busby moved them to second and third with a sacrifice bunt.
    Relief pitcher Billy Strode ended the threat. The lefty sidewinder struck out Kody Adams and Ben Morgan to get Compton off the hook.
    Compton pitched 1.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits.
    Florida State used five pitchers and its defense committed two errors.
    Howard allowed only six baserunners in the game, and three came in the ninth as he got a bit wild as he reached his 137th pitch. He struck out John Sansone looking to end the game with the bases loaded.
    “Momentum is a force to be reckoned with,” Mizell said. “When you have it, it’s something special to roll with. Honestly right now, this team feels like we have it.”
    Florida State will face elimination against No. 2 seed Alabama, which lost 1-0 to No. 3 Kennesaw State on Friday, today at 1 p.m
NOTES: The win was the first in a regional by GSU since it beat Elon 6-2 in the 2002 Clemson region on June 1, 2002. … The Eagles improved to 18-28 all time in NCAA regionals. Florida State meanwhile, saw a streak of 19 straight wins in a regional come to an end. … This is the 37th regional in a row for FSU, and the Seminoles 31st time hosting. … Georgia Southern will start Southern Conference pitcher of the Year Josh Wirsu against Kennesaw. … The loser of today’s game will face elimination against the winner between FSU and Alabama on Sunday. … Announced attendance was 3,996.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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