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Three up, three down: Jacksonville’s Christian Coipel smashes three homers to top FSU baseball

‘Noles blow two leads in midweek loss.

Ken Lanese/FSU sports information

Florida State baseball (15-10) fell to Jacksonville (7-18) by a score of 8-7 tonight. It was a back-and-forth affair, as the two teams exchanged leads four times. FSU blew two leads. It was a sloppy game, as the Seminoles made two errors and were handed eight free passes at the plate. Christian Coipel, who came into the game with three homers in 24 games, launched three baseballs over the RF fence against the Seminoles.

Three up

  • Matheu Nelson got FSU going early, as he has multiple times this year. In the first, Nelson lined an RBI single into LF to cut an early deficit in half. In the third, Nelson made the Dolphins pay after loading the bases with no outs. Nelson unleashed on a two-strike fastball, depositing it off the scoreboard for his 11th homer of the year. The bomb opened up a 5-3 Florida State lead. The home run was the first grand slam of Nelson’s career and FSU’s third of the year. The catcher tied his career-high with 5 RBI. Coming into the season, the third-year sophomore had seven career homers in 74 games. He’s now third in the country with 11 through 23 games this season. Nelson also threw out his sixth runner of the year in 10 attempts to end the eighth inning in a tie game after an athletic pick on a wild slider.
  • Logan Lacey has been a doubles machine when healthy for FSU this season. The former JUCO transfer gave JU pitchers fits all night. Lacey gave FSU their first base-runner of the day with a double down the left-field line. He scored the Seminoles’ first run on Nelson’s single. In the third, he shot another ball down the 3B line for his second double. He was driven in again by Nelson on the homer. Lacey also walked in the seventh inning, setting up a game-tying sac-fly from Robby Martin. Lacey finished the night with a lead-off single to left in the bottom of the ninth. The Tallahassee native’s season average is up to .314. Lacey leads the ‘Noles with eight doubles.
  • Vince Smith had one of the better games of his short career tonight. Smith was a main part of the Seminoles’ late-inning come back. The true freshman roped a one-out single into left-field in the seventh inning. Smith tied the game up at six as he crossed the plate on Martin’s productive out. With two runners on and two outs in the eighth, Smith ripped a grounder down the 3B line. The ball was snagged by the third basemen, but a wild throw brought home Reese Albert to give FSU a 7-6 lead. Despite the throwing error, it was also Smith’s second hit, and likely would’ve gone for extra bases if not for the diving stop. Tonight was the second multi-hit game of the freshman’s career.

Three down

  • FSU’s first inning was sloppy. After retiring the leadoff hitter, Montgomery handed out back-to-back free passes, one coming on four pitches. His first pitch to the next batter was a spiked slider for a wild pitch. After the second walk, both runners moved up on a passed ball, which was another breaking ball in the dirt. Jacksonville took the early lead on a hard hit ball to first which hit off Tyler Martin’s glove for an error. Another run came in as the Seminoles couldn’t complete a double play as Nander De Sedas lost the ball on a transfer. In the bottom half, Nelson was tagged at second trying to extend his RBI single to a double for the second out of the inning. Instead of runners at fist and third with one out, FSU had a runner on third with two outs after the base-running error. Anderson also had a two-base error on an attempted pickoff as he threw the ball down the RF line.
  • Carson Montgomery had a roller-coaster of an outing on the mound tonight. He started with two walks in the first, followed by allowing two hits and a run in the second. The next two innings, he showed the flashes of what he can be. In the third, he set down the side in order on seven pitches. After two runners reached scoring position with no outs in the fourth, he stepped up with three straight strikeouts, all coming on the slider.

The next inning, he erased a leadoff single with a double play, but was unable to finish the inning. Montgomery allowed a solo homer to cut FSU’s lead to one, before hitting the next batter with two strikes. At times, he’s been untouchable, or he’s been consistently squared up, or he’s struggled to find the strike zone. Through five career starts, Montgomery is yet to make it through five innings. He’s been inconsistent and struggled to string together strong, efficient innings. The freshman posted a final line of 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 4 R, 2 ER, 82 P. His season ERA is 3.33, which won’t be sustainable much longer with his WHIP at 1.64.

  • Jack Anderson was also up-and-down on the night. Anderson quickly ended the fifth inning with a grounder to first to strand Montgomery’s hit batter on base. The next inning, he worked around a lead-off, swinging bunt single with two strikeouts for a scoreless frame. In the seventh, he allowed another lead-off single but was unable to work around it this time. Christian Coipel unloaded on his second homer of the night to give Jacksonville a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning. The homer came on a changeup left up in the zone on a 2-0 count. Anderson was replaced by Chase Haney after following behind in the count to the next hitter.
  • Bonus: Davis Hare has come up big many times for FSU this year, but couldn’t get the job done tonight. In a one-run game, Hare was called upon to close the game, looking for his third save. The RHP walked the lead-off hitter. He retired the next two batters before Coipel stepped to the plate. Despite having first base open, the ‘Noles choose to pitch to him and he made them pay. The left-handed hitter deposited his third homer of the night over the RF fence to give the Dolphins a 8-7 lead on a two-run jack.