With so much going wrong around him on the Florida State baseball team in the Wednesday matchup with No. 12 seed Notre Dame, one Seminole all but singlehandedly led his team to victory over the Irish.
Jackson Lueck accounted for four of FSU’s five runs batted in and also had the game-winning base hit in the 12th inning to give the Seminoles a 5-3 win which could be crucial for any slim chances they have of hosting a regional.
1. On a day where the Florida State offense was sputtering, Lueck was an igniter for the Seminoles. He reached base each of his six times at the plate and also broke FSU’s scoring drought in the sixth inning with a two-run homer to right.
Lueck also finished FSU’s scoring, hitting another two-run bomb in the 12th inning to give the Seminoles the walk-off win.
On the day, Lueck was 3-3 with two homers, four RBI, a single, and a trio of walks, continuing to make his case as FSU’s most consistent and balanced hitter.
2. Drew Parrish was once again effective against the Irish in Wednesday’s ACC Tournament opener.
The true freshman, who threw a complete game in South Bend earlier this season, was strong through six innings, allowing one run on four hits, striking out three and walking just one batter. Parrish’s one run allowed came on a single mistake pitch which resulted in a solo home run for ND’s Nick Podkul.
A large part of Parrish’s productiveness can be attributed to the fact that he worked ahead in many of his counts. Of the 23 batters he faced, Parrish threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of them (70%). Throwing first-pitch strikes at that clip will go a long way towards setting any pitcher up for success.
3. For the seventh time in eight games, FSU put together an errorless performance in the field, doing nothing defensively to get in its own way.
However, it goes beyond that. One defensive play even saved the day for the Seminoles. A perfect throw from Steven Wells Jr., subbed into right field for Tyler Holton in the late innings, nailed the Irish runner attempting to score on the sacrifice in the 11th inning, which would have been the winning run considering how the bottom of the frame played out. There were a number of impressive defensive plays from the Seminoles on Wednesday, but this one rightfully stands out.
1. Outside of the heart of the order, the FSU offense was deemed almost entirely ineffective against Notre Dame. While the 2, 3, 4, and 5 hitters each had at least one hit, the rest of the Florida State lineup went a combined 1-24 with two walks and 12 strikeouts.
Taylor Walls had one of his worse games in recent memory at the plate, going 0-5 with three strikeouts, snapping his consecutive-games-reaching-base streak at 21 games. Drew Mendoza also underwhelmed in his ACC Tournament debut, going 0-4 with a walk but also a career high four strikeouts.
2. The FSU bullpen was an up-and-down affair on Wednesday against ND, but the down had a greater effect on the storyline of the game and, as such, will be remembered more prominently.
With a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, Florida State was in a good position to win and remain in contention for the ACC Championship. However, poor relief work from some of FSU’s veteran bullpen arms cast that into some doubt.
Jim Voyles began the eighth inning, allowing a solo home run to the first batter he faced and following that up with a single, allowing hits to both batters he faced. From there, Drew Carlton took over.
Carlton retired the first batter he faced before surrendering a long double off the wall in right field, which scored the tying run, also charged to Voyles. He may have escaped without further damage, but the tying runs had come across.
In extra innings, the FSU relievers used, Carlton and then Andrew Karp, made a habit of putting themselves into high-pressure situations. They managed to escape from each of these risky situations in the 10th, 11th, and 12th, somehow, but living life on the mound so dangerously in extra innings will get you burnt more often than not.
3. Situational hitting was especially bad for the Seminoles in their marathon win over ND.
FSU went 3-13 (.231) with runners on base and a shockingly low 0-2 with runners in scoring position. Perhaps the ’Noles only had two at-bats with runners in scoring position because their leadoff hitters of each inning were 2-12 (.167) in Wednesday’s win, doing little to set the offense up for success.
FSU’s win over Notre Dame sets up what is essentially a semifinal play-in game between No. 5 seed FSU and No. 1 seed Louisville Friday at 3 PM. The Seminoles plan on throwing Tyler Holton (8-2, 2.55 ERA) against UL’s Kade McClure (7-2, 2.99 ERA) in a pitching matchup rematch of last Friday’s game between the two teams.