Florida State baseball (31-22) opened their NCAA Tournament with a 5-2 win over two-seed Southern Miss (37-20). The Seminoles fell behind early, but were able to slug their way back on a trio of homers. At the plate, the ‘Noles produced seven hits and walked four times. Five of their seven hits went for extra bases. On the mound, the Seminoles allowed nine hits, but walked just two batters and stranded ten men on base. FSU will play the winner of the Southeast Missouri and Ole Miss game tomorrow evening.
- Parker Messick gave the Seminoles everything they could ask for in their opening game. In the first inning, Messick’s defense let him down and bloopers were dropping all over the outfield, but he limited the damage. The southpaw struggled to miss bats early, but he was still missing barrels and competing. He bounced back in the second with a quick 1-2-3 inning. After back-to-back singles, both weakly hit, opened the third, Messick locked in and threw his best. The redshirt freshman struck out the next three batters, all looking. The inning took him 36 pitches, but he posted a 0 on the board.
Messick worked around a two-out double in the fourth for a scoreless frame. Facing the top three in the order, the Plant City native came up with a crucial 1-2-3, 7-pitch inning. After two one-out singles, Messick finished his day with a fly out and another strikeout looking. The strikeout ended a crucial shutdown inning after the ‘Noles posted a crooked number in the top half. He finished his day with five straight scoreless innings. Messick’s bulldog attitude was on full display today. He finished with a line of 6.0 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 R, 0 ER, and 103 pitches. The outing lowered his ERA to 3.10.
- Late this season, Logan Lacey has been Mr. Reliable for the Seminoles. The Seminoles had just two hits and were shut out through five innings, but the top of the order flipped the switch in an instant. Tyler Martin skied a fly ball to right field to begin the top of the 6th and the right fielder lost it in the skies as Martin reached second on the E9. Lacey took advantage of the miscue and made up for a first inning error. The right-handed hitter got every bit of an 0-2 fastball up in the zone and tied the game up on a no-doubt homer down the left field line. The homer was Lacey’s eighth of the year and his fifth in the last 11 games. In the last 11 games, he’s had five multi-RBI games.
In the eighth inning, it was more hard contact from Lacey. The third baseman ripped a first pitch fastball down the left field line for a leadoff double. It was his 13th double of the season, good for second best on the team.
- Lacey’s homer was just the beginning of the home run party. Elijah Cabell’s power is simply unfair. After Lacey’s homer, Matheu Nelson worked a full-count walked and moved up to 2nd on a passed ball. Nelson was erased after Robby Martin ripped a liner to 1st, which was snagged by the 1st baseman. After slipping trying to get back, Nelson was doubled off first. The liner was Martin’s second good contact of the day, as he also doubled into the RCF gap in the fourth inning. Cabell made up for the double play on one swing. On a 2-strike breaking ball outside the zone, Cabell poked at the ball and skied it over the left field wall to give the Seminoles a 3-2 lead. The homer was Cabell’s 15th of the season. Cabell has hit balls 480+ feet, hit no-doubt oppo tacos, etc. This homer, a one-handed swing on a two-strike curveball, might have been his most ridiculous so far the season. The power he possesses is unmatched in college baseball.
Nelson hopped in on the home run party in the eighth inning. Nelson took advantage of a 2-0 pitch down the heart of the plate and drove it into the FSU bullpen for a two-run homer. The homer was his 23rd of the year, putting him back in a tie for the nation’s lead after Wes Clarke also hit his 23rd today. It also upped the redshirt sophomore’s RBI total to 66.
- Bonus: Jonah Scolaro was crucial for the Seminoles today. Hunter Perdue was the first arm out of the FSU pen in the 7th inning. Perdue struck out his first batter with a 97-MPH FB on the black, but was pulled after a one-out walk. Scolaro retired his first hitter on one pitch. He walked the next batter, but stranded two runners with a strikeout on three straight curveballs. Scolaro started the 8th on the hill and did his job by retiring two straight lefties. His season ERA is down to 2.31 after 1.1 scoreless innings. Anderson closed the game out with 1.1 scoreless innings for his fifth save of the season. The pen tossed three scoreless innings in total.
- Bonus: Jackson Greene’s stat line wasn’t flashy, but he had an impressive day at the plate today. Greene was 1-3 with a walk. His two outs were a line drive to center and a fly out to the warning track in center. In the ninth, he ripped a line drive single through the left side. If Greene continues to give FSU quality at-bats at the bottom of the order, it will make a massive difference.
- FSU couldn’t have had a worst start in the first inning. The Seminoles were set down in order in just nine pitches by Hunter Stanley. Parker Messick’s second pitch went through the wickets of Jackson Greene for an E4. It was Greene’s second error of the season. Two pitches later, Reed Trimble blooped a single into right to put two runners on with no outs. Messick induced a double play ball to third base, but the grounder went off of Logan Lacey’s glove into left field. The E5 gave Southern Miss the lead just six pitches in on an unearned run. Messick’s next pitch was blooped into left field for another single to double the lead. The southpaw limited the damage to the two runs on a fly-out and an inning ending double play. Both of the first inning runs were unearned.
- Tyler Martin had a rough day at the plate. The leadoff man was 0-5 and only reached base on an E9. The four balls put in play were weak pop ups. His other at-bat was a strikeout.
- After the first inning, the Seminoles played near perfect baseball. The ‘Noles showed their formula for winning. Power hitting and clutch pitching. No other downs for me.