The weather once again becoming a factor in a weekday series, Florida State needed lightning to strike at the plate to avoid a series sweep against Florida Gulf Coast (27-18) on Wednesday. After dropping the first game earlier in the afternoon, the Seminoles (26-18) found themselves tied heading into the ninth inning.
Wyatt Crowell was able to work his way through the top of the inning, working around a leadoff hit to give the Seminoles a chance to win in the bottom half.
Outfielder Elijah Cabell was the lightning strike that Florida State needed, blasting his 13th home run of the season over the right-field fence to split the series with FGCU and deliver the ’Noles the win, 2-1.
“It was another barn burner,” coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “Seems like all we seem to play … everybody is good and we just need to keep pushing. I thought we were tired; I wasn’t a fan of how the schedule lined up, but we have to get our games in. We only get 50.”
Cabell has had a coming-of-age season of sorts in the second half of this year. With the sophomore’s walk-off homer, he extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games and has safely reached base in 31 of his last 32 games. His home run on Wednesday was the first walk-off hit of his career.
Cabell, who has struggled mightily with pitch selection and strikeouts at times, has delivered a stretch of baseball that has been a long time coming for the Winter Park, Fla., product. Before last season was cut short, Cabell seemed to have hit a similar stride, ranking 4th in RBI’s and 8th in home runs in 17 games. It may have taken some time, but he seems to have gotten back on track.
Before Cabell’s walk-off, the Seminoles needed every bit of the good pitching performance from the pitching staff. Freshman Ross Dunn made his first career start on Wednesday and threw 3.1 innings scoreless innings, striking out four while relinquishing only four hits and a walk.
“Ross was really good,” Martin Jr said. “He came out and threw some change-ups for strikes and got us off to a good start – which is what we needed.”
Both Chase Haney and Wyatt Crowell provided multiple innings in relief of Dunn. Haney appeared in a game for the 136th time in his career, tying the all-time record for appearances in a Seminole uniform. He leads the country in appearances with 29.
Haney did surrender a solo home run in the 5th to Eagles’ center fielder Brian Ellis to tie the game but otherwise gave a dependable outing in relief.
Entering the final weeks of the season, FSU has two weekend series against conference opponents, Clemson and North Carolina State. After a series win last weekend against No. 8 Notre Dame, the Seminoles are in a position to solidify the ground they are standing on if they can deliver series wins to finish the season.
The game 1 box score can be viewed here.
The game 2 box score can be viewed here.
FSU plays host to Clemson for a three-game series that begins on Friday at 6 p.m. (ACC Network). The weekend games on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. will stream live on ACC Network Extra.
Clemson has lost three of its last four games entering this weekend’s matchup with Florida State.