Tech (21-12 overall, 7-8 ACC) benefited from a superior start from Marquis Grissom Jr., who threw 5 ⅔ scoreless innings as the Jackets pushed out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third, where the key hit was a two-out, 0-2 double by Drew Compton that drove in three.
Grissom, who had his worst outing of the season a week ago in Tech’s series-deciding 18-9 loss at No. 2 Virginia, walked four, gave up five hits and also hit two batters, but prevented the Seminoles from generating the big hit to get on the scoreboard.
“Grissom, even though he walked four, I thought he did a tremendous job of just pitching out of trouble (Sunday),” Hall said. “Particularly last weekend, he just had a hard time making that pitch to get out of trouble, and that’s one of those things we’re trying to just get better at.”
Sunday, Grissom pitched out of the stretch the entire game, as coaches noticed (and were supported by data) that he threw better without a full windup. He was part of a five-man relay that produced Tech’s third shutout of the season and its first against an ACC opponent. It was the second loss by shutout for FSU (18-13, 7-8) this season.
The shutout was no small achievement for a pitching staff that gave up 35 runs last weekend to Virginia and came into the series second to last in the ACC in ERA (6.07). The 12 runs allowed for the three games were the lowest in a three-game series for Tech this season against ACC competition.
“That’s big,” Grissom said of the blanking. “Offense is the powerhouse, so just coming together as a team on the pitching side is a really big key for us, and this shutout will be great moving forward.”
Grissom was aided in the top of the fifth when Colin Hall threw out James Tibbs at home trying to score from second on a single for the third out of the inning. It was the centerpiece of a clean defensive performance for the Jackets, another area in which Tech had struggled in losing the three ACC series in a row, its longest such slide since dropping six in a row in 2017.
“That was huge,” Grissom said of Hall’s run-killing throw from center. “It’s a possible run, and he threw him out. That’s the second time I’ve seen him do that. That’s crazy. I just love watching it. I’m behind home plate (backing up the throw), so it’s like I’ve got the best seat in the house to see it.”
Tech split the first two games of the series – 7-3 for Tech on Friday and 9-6 for FSU on Saturday – but the Jackets earned the clincher Sunday afternoon in Midtown in front of 1,836 fans.
After the Saturday loss, “they definitely stayed humble,” said shortstop Jadyn Jackson of his teammates. “I came back (Sunday from attending his grandfather’s funeral) and they were like, ‘Glad to have you back. Now we go’ kind of thing. We were able to rally today and get a ‘dub.’”
In a matchup of one of the top offenses in Division I (Tech) and a superior pitching staff (FSU), the Jackets prevailed, sparked by shortstop and leadoff man Chandler Simpson. The fleet-footed Simpson was 7-for-14 with seven runs scored in the three games and raised his season batting average to .494.
The Jackets hit .327 against an FSU staff that had started the series with an opponent batting average of .221. On Friday, Tech chased Seminoles ace Parker Messick after 2 ⅔ innings, his shortest start since the sophomore’s first of his career.