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3 up, 3 down: FSU baseball disposes of Notre Dame in extra innings

It took 12 innings but the Seminoles prevailed over the Fighting Irish, 7-6, clinching the series.

Quincy Nieporte
Quincy Nieporte

The Florida State baseball team entered Saturday looking to win its second game in as many days against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Seminoles looked the part of the better team for large stretches of Saturday's game. But, their early attempts to put away the Irish were futile, as the 'Noles twice giving up leads, including a 6-4 lead in the ninth inning. Still, Florida State emerged in the end, 7-6 in 12 innings, thanks to some late-inning heroics from a number of Seminoles. Here's what went well, and not so well, in Florida State's win.

3 up

1. Saturday's starting pitcher script followed Friday's to an eerie degree. Drew Carlton struggled in the first inning, issuing two walks and a double which resulted in a pair of runs. However, the script was flipped from there on out. Carlton shut down the Irish the rest of the way, allowing one run on two hits in the next five innings, racking up seven strikeouts on the way. Mike Martin's decision to allow Carlton to return to the mound for the 7th when he was at 94 pitches through six can be questioned after Carlton allowed two more hits and a run which tied the game at four before his departure. Still, Carlton's 6.1 innings of work is the most by any Florida State weekend starter since Mike Compton threw seven innings on March 11th against Georgia Tech in FSU's conference opener. Carlton was more good than great on Saturday but with how Florida State's starting pitching has been in recent weeks, the Seminoles will take good any day of the week.

2. For the second straight night, Quincy Nieporte played a large role in the Florida State offense. Nieporte homered for the second straight night, a scoreboard shot to left in the fourth inning, and gave FSU a 6-4 lead in the seventh frame with a two-run single to center after the two previous batters struck out with the bases juiced. Nieporte, who entered this weekend with a .243 batting average, one home run, and 16 RBI in 28 games this year, has been instrumental in the Seminoles' success in the first two games against Notre Dame. Combining Friday and Saturday's games, Nieporte has gone 6-10 (.600) with two homers, three doubles, eight RBI, four runs, and a ridiculous 1.500 slugging percentage.

3. Jackson Lueck's line: 2-6 with two singles and two RBI is not overwhelmingly impressive by itself. However, it's hard to keep a player off the three up when he delivers the game-winning hit. The freshman's one-out double brought pinchrunner Hank Truluck around to score, clinching the win for the Seminoles in the 12th inning.  With the 2-6 outing, Lueck's batting average now sits at .406, second-best on the team behind John Sansone, and it would seem that Lueck is emerging more and more with each passing day from behind the shadow of fellow freshman phenom Cal Raleigh.

3 down

1. Taylor Walls, normally Mr. Consistent at the top of the FSU order, was off his game on Saturday. He led off the game with a meek groundout to short and not much got better from there. He finished 0-4 with a strikeout and stranded three runners. His sole positive contribution proved to be two walks, the first of which he later scored on. Walls also emerged as a defensive liability in Saturday's game, committing the lone error of the game for either team on a short-hopped throw from short to first, his 10th error of the year, tying him with John Sansone for most on the team. A rough night for Walls has been a rare occurrence in 2016 but poor performances from the leadoff man could prove problematic down the stretch.

2. The bullpen again underwhelmed after a solid start by a Florida State pitcher. This time, it was closer Tyler Warmoth who entered in the 9th inning with a 6-4 lead. Warmoth first allowed a one-out double to Irish catcher Ryan Lidge. After that, he hit his groove, retiring the next batter he faced, Cavan Biggio, by strikeout and got up 1-2 on Jake Shepski. But, down to what would have been the final strike of the game, Shepski delivered with a towering homer that looked to be a routine out off the bat before it kept carrying and cleared the fence in right, leveling the score at 6. Warmoth then pitched a flawless 10th and got into a jam in the 11th before he was pulled but it was too late and the damage had been done. Warmoth proved unable to protect a lead, something the FSU bullpen has done quite well this year.. This week's slate of games has shown a bit of a flip in mentality as the starting pitching has shown improvement while the bullpen has taken a step back.

3. Florida State had only one error show up in the column on the box score, the aforementioned mishap by Walls. Despite the Seminoles' relatively clean game according to the box, there were a multitude of errors that will not show up in the box score, some of which were even more troublesome than the official error the 'Noles recorded. A few, such as Dylan Busby's poor decision to try and stretch a single into a double in the first frame and Busby's indecisiveness on which base to throw to in the 11th inning which resulted in all runners being safe, were deemed meaningless mistakes by game's end. But others, like John Sansone unsuccessfully attempting to go from first to third on Nieporte's single in the seventh and Taylor Walls running on contact and easily getting thrown at home when he represented the winning run in the 11th inning, could very well have doomed Florida State to a loss in a game where the Seminoles looked the superior team.

With the win, the Seminoles clinch the series over the Irish, their sixth series win in seven ACC matchups this year. The victory moves Florida State to 27-11 (12-4) on the year and gives the 'Noles a little room at the top of the division over Louisville (30-9, 13-7 in ACC). FSU goes for the sweep on Sunday with freshman Cole Sands (3-4, 4.81) going up against an unannounced starter for Notre Dame. First pitch is scheduled for 1 PM.