The road to Omaha just got harder for Florida State as they fall to Indiana 10-9 in the first game of the Super Regionals. In what started as a pitchers duel between the Seminoles (47-16) and Hoosiers (47-14), ended in a back-and-forth affair and one last at-bat which could have won it for FSU.
“Indiana University, they did a great job,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “It’s one of those situations, I guess, when you look at the opportunity we had, but they got it done. I’m very, very proud of the fight in our ballclub. They put themselves in a position, but that’s the game of baseball. You just tip your hat to the other team and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Entering the game as the 7th National Seed in the tournament, Florida State sent out their ace Luke Weaver in hopes that he could redo his performance from the previous weekend. It began well for Weaver as Indiana hard a difficult time against him the first time through the lineup as they only got one man on base in the first three innings.
The fourth inning would prove to be a breaking point for Weaver. Will Nolden started it for IU with a single to left field. He was quickly brought home off a Kyle Schwarber two-run homerun over the right field fence, giving the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead. Indiana would get two more in during the fourth inning, coming off a Michael Basil single and a Casey Smith double.
Still not out of the game, FSU fought back in the bottom half of the inning. With John Nogowski getting hit by a pitch to lead off and Jose Brizuela drawing a walk, the Noles had two on with none out. A Brett Knief single would allow Nogowski to score. Giovanny Alfonzo would follow it up with a single of his own, scoring Brizuela and cutting the score to 4-2 Indiana. A fielder’s choice from DJ Stewart and an RBI single from Stephen McGee would tie the game at four.
Weaver came out in the fifth pitching like he was early in the game and preventing any serious damage from Indiana.
Florida State took their first lead of the game in the fifth inning. Beginning with a Nogowski single, the Seminoles once again had the chance to strike. Nogowski would make it home later in the inning, coming off an Alfonzo single.
Unfortunately for the Seminoles, IU would tie the game once again in the following inning off a Dustin DeMuth RBI single.
In the bottom half of the sixth, FSU got another run across. This time it came from a Marcus Davis single through the right side.
Weaver would be pulled after pitching the sixth inning. He allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking two.
FSU’s bullpen, which at times has looked brilliant, would not have their best game against Indiana. Beginning with Gage Smith in the seventh, and continuing with Billy Strode and Peter Miller, the Seminoles’ bullpen gave up a combined five runs late in the game. Four of those runs came in a big seventh inning for the Hoosiers as they took a 9-6 lead over FSU. The Seminole defense would not help as three of the five runs were unearned.
“It’s always frustrating,” Nogowski said on the three FSU errors. “But you have to give credit to [Indiana], they swung the bats great. It seemed like every chance they had a guy in scoring position, they brought him in.”
Bringing in base runners was the biggest downfall for Florida State as they stranded 13.
The Noles would scrap along in the eighth to pull within two. Bryant Holtmann kept the lead from getting any larger for Indiana in the top half of the ninth.
Entering the bottom of the ninth and needed two runs to tie it, Florida State quickly got things going with Alfonzo’s leadoff single, followed by Casey Smit drawing a walk. Stewart’s RBI single to center brought in Alfonzo to make it 10-9. After a wild pitch, the tying and winning runs would be put in scoring position with one out. McGee took a 1-1 pitch to center field, but the ball was not hit far enough to bring in Smith at third. Davis would end it with a fly out to right, putting the Noles in an 0-1 hole for the Super Regionals and their first home loss in the NCAA postseason this year.
Florida State will be fighting to keep their season alive as another loss in the Super Regionals will eliminate the Seminoles. Scott Sitz and Indiana ace Aaron Slegers are expected to go in tomorrow’s game, which begins at 1 p.m.