Florida State (43-17) has owned the ACC Tournament in recent years winning 15 of their last 16 games. Sunday afternoon they won their 2nd straight title and 3rd in the last four years. Drew Mendoza drove in the go ahead runs in the top of the 10th inning with a bases loaded, 1 out double to the right field wall that plated 2 runs to give the ‘Noles a 11-8 win against the Cardinals. The victory should wrap up a top 8 national seed for the Seminoles which means they will play at home all the way to the world series.
- Hot start for Florida State. The ‘Noles jumped on freshman pitcher Bobby Miller when Mike Salvatore and Rhett Aplin walked to open the game. A one out double to left center from the red hot Cal Raleigh gave the Seminoles a 2-0 lead. While the threat to score continued that inning Florida State couldn’t cash in with more runs but did make the Louisville starter throw 32 pitches in the first frame. The ‘Cards’ starter made it through only 2.1 innings, walking 4 and when the 3rd inning was over the ‘Noles had a 5-1 lead.
- After falling behind 8-5 through the first 5 innings the Seminole hitters battled back in the 6th with a single run. The Seminoles were extremely unlucky that inning when Cal Raleigh blistered a line drive to 1st with the bases loaded but it was caught and Aplin was easily doubled up. The inning would end as Mendoza was caught looking at strike 3 with the bases loaded. This did not deter the ‘Noles as they fought back in the 7th inning and scored 2 runs thanks in part to a RBI single from Bournigal. A sac bunt and throwing error to later score him and tying the game.
- Clayton Kwiatkowski was tremendous for a second time this tournament. He pitched 3.2 innings of relief on Wednesday against Virginia where he allowed no hits and no runs. Today the sophomore threw 4 innings, a career high, and only gave up a single run in the 5th while retiring 11 of the 14 batters he faced. He is the go-to arm out of the bullpen for Florida State and the Seminoles need similar outings from him moving forward if they are to go deep into the postseason.
- Mike Martin put his team in a big hole today with some inexplicable mismanagement of his starting pitcher. Andrew Karp allowed a two-run homerun on an 0-2 count in the 3rd inning and it was evident to anyone with a pulse that he didn’t have strong command. Karp started his 4th inning by allowing a solo homerun on a fast ball down the middle and then gave up back to back singles on hard hit balls. With lefty Clayton Kwiatkowski warming up in the bullpen Martin stuck with the righty Karp who then allowed a 3-run homerun to the left-handed catcher giving the Cardinals a 7-5 lead. Kwiatkowski would then relieve the Karp and retire the next three batters in order.
- J.C. Flowers was 0-4 on the day with two strikeouts and saw only 14 pitches in 5 plate appearances. For the tournament he was 0-15 with no walks and six strikeouts. Since his return from a broken jaw the center fielder is 5-33 with 9 walks, 8 strikeouts and just 1 extra base hit. His value at this point in the season is solely in the field where he does an excellent job patrolling centerfield.
- Andrew Karp did not give the ‘Noles the outing they needed in a championship game setting. The right-hander pitched only 3 innings and surrendered 7 runs. His command was a problem early as he issued 2 walks, both of them scored, and of the 6 hits allowed 3 went for homeruns blowing the 5-1 lead the Florida State bats gave him.
Florida State will assuredly host a regional next weekend in Tallahassee. At 8:30 PM ET the 16 hosts will be announced. FSU will definitely be a top 16 seed but will they be a top 8 seed?