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3 Up, 3 Down: FSU baseball is heading to the College World Series

’Noles defeat the Tigers in walk-off fashion.

Ryals Lee

The Florida State Seminoles (41-21) defeated the Louisiana State Tigers (40-26) in extra innings in game two of the Baton Rouge Super Regional by a 5-4 score. The ’Noles advance to the College World Series for the 23rd time in school history thanks in part to a two-out, two-strike single off the bat of Drew Mendoza that plated Mike Salvatore in the bottom of the 12th.

Three Up

  • Florida State pitcher C.J. Van Eyk showed off his ridiculous talent on the mound on Sunday afternoon. The sophomore had masterful control of all three of his pitches, he hit 98 mph on his fastball and was able to follow that up with am 84 mph changeup leaving LSU hitters baffled. He was dominant through the first seven innings of the game but ran into trouble when he started the eighth inning with 105 pitches. On the night he threw 7.1 innings allowing four earned runs on eight hits, five strikeouts, and two walks.

The strong pitching continued thanks to Antonio Velez. He pitched 4.2 innings in relief striking out six, allowing just four hits, and walking none. The left-hander kept the Seminoles in the game as the bats went cold. Florida State failed to get a base hit from the fourth inning until there was one out in the twelfth.

  • The second inning is best summed up with one word: Singles. A Robby Martin walk and singles from J.C. Flowers and Carter Smith loaded the bases to start off the inning strong. Nanders De Sedas hit a sharp ground ball to first where the fielder tagged the base and fired it home hoping to get Martin trying to score, but the freshman was safe after the catcher could not hold on to the ball:

After a frustrating last few games for Matheu Nelson at-bat, the catcher followed with his second RBI single of the weekend and the Seminoles increased the lead, 2-0:

Mike Salvatore finished off the inning adding another single-RBI and the Seminoles took a cushy, 3-0 lead:

  • With no outs and a runner on first base in the third inning, Carter Smith fielded a grounder that was rocketed off the bat of the LSU shortstop. The first baseman backhanded the grounder, stepped on first, and made a perfect throw to second where the tag was applied completing the unassisted 3-6 double play.

In the top of the sixth, Florida State found themselves in a little bit of trouble. After three straight singles allowed the Tigers to bring in another run and shorten the Seminoles lead to two, a sac-bunt placed LSU’s baserunners into scoring position. Mat Nelson threw an absolute dime to pickoff the runner on third to produce a much-needed out for Florida State and put some confidence back behind his starting pitcher.

Three Down

  • It is never a good idea to give the other team a free out, its an even worse idea to do it in the postseason when you’re playing an opponent of high quality like LSU. With runners on first and second in the second inning and zero outs, Mike Martin instructed Carter Smith to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Luckily, he was unable too. This was fortunate because Smith singled on the next pitch to load the bases. Later in the inning, with one out and runners on the corners, Tim Becker tried to lay down a bunt to a pitcher who was struggling to throw strikes and popped out to the catcher in foul territory. Salvatore bailed out 11’s dumb decisions and singled on the next pitch to drive in a run, but Florida State cannot afford to take a metal bat out of these hitter’s hands. Now, there are times when bunting is appropriate for example, in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on first, no outs, and a batter with a hand injury would be an ideal time. Florida State found themselves in this situation tonight and elected not to bunt, Becker struck out and then the runner was thrown out on a failed and poorly called hit and run attempt.
  • After being the hero in game one with two home runs, Reese Albert had a day he would like to forget. The right fielder struck out in his first three at-bats, grounded out weakly in his fourth before again striking out in his last two. The sophomore accounted for a third of the Seminoles’ fifteen strikeouts. He looked utterly lost and over-matched in each plate appearance.
  • It was a rough night for the umpire crew. The home plate umpire had an inconsistent strike zone that benefited neither team and botched the initial call on the first scoring play of the game. LSU received a gift in the fourth inning when Duplantis hit a laser down the right field line that was ruled a home run despite everyone in the ballpark, outside the first base umpire, believing it was a foul ball. The call was reviewed and stood even after it was clearly evident on film that the ball was foul. It wasn’t much better the rest of the evening and Mendoza interfered with the fielder as he slid into second and a double play should have been called. There was also a missed call when the LSU runner was ruled out sliding into second despite sneaking in around the tag.

Mat Nelson, Antonio Velez, and Drew Mendoza media availability:

FSU baseball media availability

Posted by on Sunday, June 9, 2019

Coach Mike Martin media availability:

FSU baseball coach Mike Martin media availability

Posted by on Sunday, June 9, 2019

Game Thread

Box Score

With tonight’s win, Florida State moves on to play the winner of the tie-breaker on Monday between Mississippi and Arkansas in the Fayetteville Super Regional. The College World Series will start next Saturday in Omaha.