TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees' Spring Training dress rehearsal is officially in the books. New York opened its exhibition schedule on Tuesday with an 8-3 victory over the Florida State Seminoles at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
The contest was well attended by Florida State fans, who dominated the grandstands in their colors of garnet and gold. Yankees manager Joe Girardi remarked that it was the first time he'd ever seen the Bombers' own iconic colors outnumbered in the seats.
"I think it's fun," Girardi said. "It's enjoyable to see the kids. Obviously, I think it's enjoyable for them, to play kind of a local school -- most of their kids are from Florida. You could tell who had family [in attendance], because when they came in the game, that whole section would go kind of nuts."
Kicking off his bid to make the big league roster out of camp, left-hander Vidal Nuno started for the Yankees and was credited with the victory. He threw two scoreless innings around an infield single, walking none and striking out three.
Nuno threw 17 of his 26 pitches for strikes and said he did not feel much different facing a college team instead of a big league squad for his first outing of the spring.
"Not really. It's just, don't change your approach," Nuno said. "I didn't change my approach. You just start throwing strikes and get them off balance."
The contest marked the first meeting between the Yankees and the Seminoles since 1958, when New York defeated Florida State, 7-3, in a game that was played in Tallahassee, Fla.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston entered the game as a defensive replacement for Florida State in the fifth inning, playing left field. He grounded out to second base facing right-hander Shane Greene in the fifth inning, breaking his bat during the plate appearance, and worked the count full before striking out looking against Bryan Mitchell in the eighth.
"My favorite part of the day was just being out here, being around a bunch of big league guys," Winston said. "They proved it; they beat us. We were looking forward to giving them a good game and seeing those guys, just getting the opportunity to be on the same field as them."
Winston said that baseball continues to be a passion for him and that he has entertained thoughts of pursuing both baseball and football professionally, following in the paths of dual-sport athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders.
As it was, Winston was able to fulfill one lifelong dream on Tuesday, meeting Yankees captain Derek Jeter. Jeter and Jorge Posada posed for a photograph with Winston outside the visiting clubhouse as they left the stadium.
"I was kind of star-struck," Winston said. "I just kept telling him it was an honor to meet him -- and it really was. I guess it feels like when I talk to little kids, how they feel sometimes. Sometimes they'll be speechless and that's how I was with Mr. Jeter."
New York is scheduled to play its first Grapefruit League game on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.