Winston plays larger role in USF loss


As 2,261 fans watched Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston in his first start of the season, Florida State took the second game of a two-game set 4-1 at the USF Baseball Stadium on Wednesday.

Though the turnout was a step down from the record setting 3,615 attendees Tuesday night, the crowd was still split between the Seminoles’ garnet and gold and the Bulls’ green and gold.

In his second appearance against the Bulls this season, Winston made more of a significant impact than he did with his two
at bats the previous night, and once again received a louder ovation than all of his teammates.

Winston, who batted sixth as the designated hitter for the No. 2 ‘Noles, hit a two-out, RBI double to the base of the right-field wall. With two unearned runs already on the board, FSU’s Jose Brizuela scored to make it 3-0 during the first inning. The next batter drove in Winston with a bloop single to right.

“I said it before we started,” coach Lelo Prado said. “You’ve got to stay away from the big innings, and you can’t give away those extra outs. (The Seminoles) took advantage of it, and that’s why they’re No. 2 in the country.”

Winston made contact in his three other at bats, but grounded out each time.

In the ninth inning, fans pulled out their cameras to snap photos of Winston on the mound, as FSU(10-1) elected to bring in the right-hander to try to close the game.

USF (9-4) catcher Levi Borders reached base on an error by the FSU third baseman, giving Bulls’ fans one last hope for the win, but it soon died as Winston retired the next three batters to get his second save of the season, keeping his ERA at 0.00 in six innings.

As for USF, starter Jimmy Herget allowed four unearned runs in the first inning, but went on to pitch four more frames without giving up another run. FSU outfielder DJ Stewart, who went 2-for-3 with two walks, said he was very impressed with USF.

“We scored four in the first inning, and didn’t get another run the rest of the game,” Stewart said. “Their pitchers did a great job of battling back.” 

After 97 pitches, Herget left, leaving it to the bullpen. 

Lawrence Pardo struck out four in three innings and Jordan Strittmatter retired the side in order for the final inning.

Though FSU left Tampa with two more wins and held the Bulls to two runs in two games, FSU coach Mike Martin said USF was a very patient team offensively. USF struck out twice on Wednesday, a significant drop from the Bulls’ 15 punch-outs Tuesday night.

On the mound, the Bulls loaded the bases two times, but Martin was impressed with the USF pitching staff. 

“(Herget) punched out five in a short period of time and Pardo certainly did a good job too – the way he dominated upstairs so to speak,” Martin said.

The Bulls’ lone run came in the first when Buddy Putnam singled to right field, scoring Kyle Teaf, who went 4-for-8 in the two-game series. Teaf has reached base safely in all
13 games this year.

The Bulls look to shake off the losses as they face Northwestern in a three-game weekend series, beginning Friday at 7 p.m.