The Florida State baseball team got its regional play off to a nice start tonight—even if it may have provided a bit more drama than most ‘Noles were anticipating. The Seminoles, hosting the Tallahassee regional, were taken into extra innings by the fourth-seeded Bears before finally coming through in the bottom of the tenth with a walk-off 5-4 victory. What went right? What needs improvement?
What a Relief
Starter Mike Compton didn't have his best stuff, lacking the movement he displayed in the ACC Tourney against North Carolina. But lefty reliever Dylan Silva picked him up - along with the rest of the team - and put them on his back. Silva came on in the sixth and hung around for 3.1 innings total, pitching into the ninth before giving way to Billy Strode.
There is no doubt that Silva had a rough going for much of the first half of the season, but over the last month has arguably been the Seminoles' best pitcher. Prior to his appearance against Stetson on May 5th the southpaw had an ERA of 5.30 with 8.68 hits per nine and a gaudy 6.75 walk per nine innings pitched.
What is so appealing about Silva is his ability to strike batters out, despite the ugly numbers he was striking out 11.50 batters per nine, which is tremendous. Head coach Mike Martin kept the faith and since that outing against the Hatters where he struck out the side, his number have been lights out, as over that span his hits per nine is 6.31, and walks per nine is at 3.44 with a 1.15 ERA. If that wasn't impressive enough, his strikeouts have increased to 14.30 over his last nine appearances, unfortunately, due to his workload tonight, his availability for the rest of the weekend is unknown.
For the second time in as many games, FSU found itself the beneficiary of a rather rare call that came in the sixth that played a big part in keeping this one tied.
After Charlie Madden doubled and Howard Joe singled to give Mercer go-ahead runners at the corners with nobody out, Silva came on and induced a ground ball off the bat of Trey Truitt to Dylan Busby at third, who went after the double play via second.
FSU got the out at second, but couldn't swing it around in time to get Truitt. However, he was called out when Joe was ruled to have interfered at second. The Bears' golden opportunity suddenly became a two-out situation, and Silva promptly fanned Matt Meeder to keep it a 4-4 game.
Delph Does it Again
FSU finally put this one away in the tenth when Ben DeLuzio walked and Taylor Walls attempted to bunt him over. Mercer mishandled the throw to first through (they were especially sloppy, committing five errors on the night), and the ‘Noles had two aboard with nobody out. Danny De La Calle then laid down a perfect bunt to advance the pair into scoring position, bringing up Delph.
After two awkward swings, Martin came out for a quick word with his senior, after which Delph worked a full count. He then lined a ball between first and second, his second walk-off hit of the year, and the FSU crowd celebrated the win.
Here We Go Again
Mercer initiated the scoring in the top of the second when defensive miscues once again presented themselves as a potentially damning characteristic of this young FSU team. After two quick outs, back-to-back erratic throws by Busby and Walls accounted for a 1-0 Mercer lead. Fortunately for Florida State, those were its only two errors of the evening.
Decisions on the base paths have also been an issue, and another one tonight snuffed out a potential rally in the sixth. When Walls reached on an error and Delph singled, Walls stopped between second and third, and the Bears caught him in a rundown.
After promptly jumping on the Bears early to grab a 4-1 second-inning lead, the ‘Noles stalled thereafter, unable to push across another run until the winner in the 10th. They looked off in a number of at bats, fanning eight times against a Mercer pitching staff with a team ERA of 4.55 against largely SoCon competition. From the third to ninth inning, FSU had just two base hits.
They'll look to improve on that tomorrow at 6 pm against the College of Charleston.