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3 Up, 3 Down: No. 21 FSU comes back to defeat FIU

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Late inning heroics give ‘Noles a needed victory

Florida State hosts Stetson Steve Johnson

Florida State (15-5) won this afternoon against Florida International (10-10) by a 9-6 score. The Seminoles offense was persistent and several relievers pitched lights out all while overcoming some bone-headed decisions made by their head coach.

3 Up

  • After an abysmal night at the plate in which Drew Mendoza struck out four times and had troubles in the field, he bounced back Wednesday afternoon. He made several great plays in the field and came through at the dish. The junior walked twice and had two hits including a three-run shot in the bottom of the 8th inning that broke the 6-6 tie:
  • JC Flowers has had a resurgent junior campaign after a less than stellar freshman year and a sophomore season during which he battled injuries. In 2017 and 2018, the center fielder hit a combined 10 extra base hits (just two home runs). Through 20 games (18 starts) this season, Flowers has nine extra base hits and five HRs, including this one in the fifth inning that cut FIU’s lead to 6-5:
  • In a baffling decision by Mike Martin he chose LHP Austin Pollack to start the sixth inning with the ’Noles trailing 6-5. Pollack was tasked with facing four straight right-handed batters. Despite being put in a tricky situation (given his struggles this season), the sophomore excelled retiring the side, pitching around a walk and striking out two. He went on two record two outs in the 7th before giving way to Conor Grady, who kept the FSU within a single run. Grady retired all four batters he faced, and JC Flowers pitched the 9th to record his fourth save and give FSU a much-needed victory.

3 Down

  • Head coach Mike Martin made an inexcusable and costly managing error in this game—in all my years watching this team, I find it difficult to recall another so foolish. Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out, Cooper Swanson (the cleanup hitter) came to the plate. In his two seasons at Florida State, Swanson has zero sacrifice hits, but he was still asked to lay down a bunt. On his first attempt, he flailed poorly at a ball thrown near his head. However, Martin (somehow) thought he’d fare better in his next attempt. He didn’t. In fact, he popped out to the catcher. To make matters worse, the runners on were running on the play, gifting FIU the easiest triple play you’ll ever see.
  • RHP Tyler Ahearn was cruising through the first two innings, facing just the minimum. He started the third with a four-run lead and immediately allowed a solo homer to left. After retiring the next batter, the sophomore issued a walk, followed by a single and an intentional walk, ending his day. The Seminoles’ starting pitching is officially in crisis mode if they don’t have a single pitcher on staff that can consistently (or even occasionally) give them a quality start. Having said that, Ahearn hasn’t pitched since opening week, so the staff should’ve been ready for any sign of trouble and immediately gone to the bullpen.
  • Although you won’t find an error in the box score during the third inning there were three costly mistakes made by the defense, which allowed the Panthers to steal the lead. With one out and a runner on first, Ahearn threw a ball in the dirt and catcher Jonathan Foster made a backhanded attempt, instead of squaring up to block it, allowing the runner to take second. The next batter singled to right field, and the runner from second moved up to third, but he wasn’t a threat to score. However, instead of hitting his cutoff man, Reese Albert sailed the ball to the plate, allowing the hitter to take second. An intentional walk loaded the bases, bringing LHP Clayton Kwiatkowski into the game. The first batter the southpaw faced hit a fly ball to left-center that JC Flowers misplayed. While officially ruled a double, it’s a ball Flowers should track down. Two runs scored, an out wasn’t recorded and at inning’s end the game was tied.

GAME THREAD

BOX SCORE

The Seminoles are back in action Friday evening at 6:05 PM when they travel to Notre Dame for a weekend series.