The Florida State Seminoles’ (15-10) recent luck in late innings has appeared to switch dugouts for the time being.
With two outs in the top of the 9th inning, right-hander Davis Hare gave a up a two-run home run to Jacksonville first baseman Christian Coipel, who launched his third home run of the game.
The Seminoles were unable to rebound in the bottom half of the inning and Jacksonville (7-18) secured their 40th win all-time (128-40) against Florida State and their 13th win at Dick Howser Stadium.
“Congratulations to Chris Hayes and JU,” Mike Martin Jr. began his presser. “They did a lot of things right and got it done.”
Nearly every bit of offense for the Dolphins came off the bat of Coipel, who hit as many home runs in the game as he had hit all season. Three blasts came in the 5th, 7th, and 9th inning — all of them over the right field fence. He finished with six RBI.
Martin Jr. was asked if he thought about walking Coipel in the 9th inning after already hitting two homers. He responded by saying that he’s never really believed in putting the go-ahead runner on base.
The remainder of the Dolphins runs were unearned. Two fielding errors by first baseman Tyler Martin combined with some early walks by freshman right-hander Carson Montgomery resulted in Jacksonville taking an early 3-1 lead by the end of the second inning.
Montgomery settled in afterwards and pitched a decent game, relinquishing five hits in 4.2 innings and striking out six batters. The home run to Coipel was his only earned run out of the four scored while he was on the mound.
For the Seminoles, the bulk of the offense came in the 3rd inning, coming off the bat of catcher Mattheu Nelson, who hit the first grand slam of his career. He tied his career high with five RBI and continues to lead the Seminoles with 11 home runs on the season. He leads the ACC in home runs and RBI.
It looked for a brief moment as if the Seminoles would come out on top of the back-and-forth contest after outfielder Reese Albert scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Hare entered the game to close for Florida State, but after working his way to two outs, Hare gave up the winning home run and was tagged with the loss.
If not for the herculean effort by Coipel in the opposing dugout, the story very well would have been how Albert’s late run and Nelson’s big night lifted the Seminoles to a third straight victory.
It wasn’t meant to be.
“The focus has got to be there,” Martin Jr. said. “The little things matter – they add up – they’ve got to matter.”
After a strong close to their series against North Carolina, the Seminoles seemed ready to go on another win streak like the one that turned their season around a few weeks prior. It’s not to say that the team is now headed for a patch of inconsistency, but the road ahead does not get easier.
Florida State travels to No. 7 Louisville this weekend and then immediately down to Gainesville for the second matchup of the season series against No. 12 Florida.
“We’ve got to obviously clean a lot of stuff up. We’ve got to understand that on any given day,” Martin Jr. said.
The Jacksonville-FSU box score can be viewed here.
FSU is next in action this weekend at No. 7 Louisville on Friday at 6 p.m. (live stream on ACC Network Extra).