One day after being eliminated from the ACC Tournament, and consequently from the overall postseason, the Florida State Seminoles (20-30, 7-20) secured their biggest win of the year in dramatic fashion, taking the series finale from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (42-8, 20-6) with a 4-3 walk-off victory.
FSU showcased the type of game that fans hope to see in the coming years in Tallahassee. They recorded no errors and drew six walks, combining solid pitching and timely hitting to claim a significant win against a highly-ranked opponent.
Jamie Arnold took the mound for FSU, and initially, it seemed like more of the same struggles. With two outs, Arnold issued a walk to Nick Kurtz, followed by a home run surrendered to Brock Wilken, putting FSU in a 0-2 deficit. However, Arnold settled in afterward, not allowing any further runs from Wake Forest until a one-out single in the top of the sixth inning marked the end of his day on the mound. Arnold demonstrated the control that coaches had hoped to see when the freshman joined the team. He gave up five hits but no walks, striking out six batters on an efficient 76 pitches, with approximately 75% of them being strikes.
Carson Montgomery took over for Arnold but struggled, walking the next two batters to load the bases. Brandon Oxford entered the game and induced an infield fly. However, with two outs and the bases loaded, a wild pitch allowed Wake Forest to score their third run of the game before Oxford could close the inning for FSU. Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, things were looking bleak for the ‘Noles.
FSU seized the opportunity to capitalize on some shaky pitching from Wake Forest in the bottom of the sixth, as they managed to get the first two batters aboard with consecutive walks. Even a pitching change couldn’t stop the momentum for the Deacons, as Colton Vincent doubled home Cam Smith and Jordan Carrion singled home Treyton Rank. After a strikeout and another pitching change, McGwire Holbrook brought Vincent home with a sacrifice fly, tying the game at three.
The eighth inning was largely uneventful, but Wake Forest began the ninth inning with a leadoff double. Andrew Armstrong, who had pitched 2.1 innings of one-hit, four-strikeout ball, made way for Doug Kirkland after a groundout advanced the potential winning run to third with just one out. Kirkland had been pulled after getting just one out in a tie game on Saturday, but this time, the outcome was different. Kirkland retired the two batters he faced, extinguishing the threat and giving the Seminole offense an opportunity to end the game.
In the bottom of the ninth, with one out, Jordan Carrion drew a walk against Wake Forest closer Camden Minacci, who is regarded as one of the best pitchers in the country. Nander DeSedas followed with a single, but Carrion was thrown out at third base after a replay review. The decision to advance from first to third was aggressive, aligning with the mentality that Link Jarrett wants to instill in his team—to seize opportunities when they arise, even though they don’t always pan out. In this case, the risk paid off, despite Carrion being called out. DeSedas moved up to second on the throw and ultimately scored the winning run on Jordan Williams’ fourth hit of the season.
-— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) May 14, 2023
Jordan Williams walks-off No. 1 Wake Forest on his first career hit in Dick Howser Stadium! pic.twitter.com/zmuH2r0tuV
Saturday recap: FSU comes undone in final innning
In game two of the series, Connor Whittaker took the mound and performed admirably against one of the top teams in the country. However, a lack of offensive production and shaky bullpen work plagued FSU as they fell to the Wake Forest Deacons (42-7, 20-5) with a final score of 7-3. Whittaker pitched 7.2 innings, with only a couple of home runs tarnishing his performance. Unfortunately for FSU, Wake Forest starter Josh Hartle matched Whittaker’s performance, going six innings and surrendering just two runs.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when Jaimie Ferrer led off with a triple and later scored on a single by Cam Smith. Wake Forest responded in the top of the seventh with a home run, tying the game at one. This set off a back-and-forth battle. FSU capitalized on an error, a walk, and an RBI single by DeAmez Ross to take a 2-1 lead. However, Wake Forest regained the advantage in the next inning with a two-out single and another home run, putting them ahead 3-2 and ending Whittaker’s outing. FSU quickly countered when James Tibbs led off the bottom of the eighth with a home run, knotting the score at three.
From that point, things unraveled for FSU. Doug Kirkland, who entered the game in the bottom of the eighth, loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, lasting only 0.1 innings. Andrew Armstrong came in as a replacement and unfortunately hit back-to-back batters on 1-2 pitches, resulting in two runs. He then gave up two more runs on a single and a fielder’s choice. FSU was unable to generate a base runner in the bottom of the ninth, ultimately falling 7-3.
Friday recap: Wake Forest run rules Seminoles
Florida State (19-29, 6-19) suffered a decisive 10-0 defeat in eight innings against Wake Forest (41-7, 19-5). Jackson Baumeister’s start wasn’t terrible, but like the rest of the team, he was simply overmatched by the top-ranked team in the country.
Baumeister encountered trouble in the top of the second inning after a 1-2-3 first inning. Brock Wilken led off with a triple and then scored on a sacrifice fly. With a single and a walk, it seemed like Baumeister might escape the inning after striking out the next batter, but a double brought in another run, giving Wake Forest a 2-0 lead after two innings.
Following another 1-2-3 inning, Baumeister quickly found himself in trouble again with a leadoff single and double, followed by a three-run home run by Danny Corona. Although Wake Forest had a single in the next at-bat, FSU ended the inning with a double play.
Former Demon Deacon Brennen Oxford took the mound with two runners on and one out in the fifth inning, promptly ending the inning with two quick outs. Oxford pitched well in his 2.2 innings of work, surrendering only a solo home run.
Brandon Walker took over in the top of the eighth but failed to record an out, issuing a walk to the first batter on four pitches, followed by a single. Ryan Denison replaced Walker and struck out the first batter he faced. Unfortunately, Denison allowed three singles and a double, leaving FSU in a significant deficit and needing a run in the bottom of the inning to avoid a 10-0 mercy rule.
The FSU offense failed to score a run and struggled throughout the game. They only managed to produce four singles while striking out eight times and not drawing any walks. Florida State’s hitters continued their trend of swinging wildly at the first strike they saw, resulting in weak contact and offering little resistance to Rhett Lowder, who went deep into the game. To be fair, Lowder is one of the best pitchers in the country, so it was unlikely that the Seminoles would have had many hits or runs. However, the offensive approach adopted by the team has been perplexing this year.
Up Next: FSU hosts Kennesaw State for their final home game of the year on Tuesday before closing out the season at Louisville in a series with a Thursday start.