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Crowell exceptional in relief, Noles take series from TCu

Florida State Baseball rallied on Saturday to take the series against TCU with a 7-3 win and further solidify their postseason positioning. This was the Seminoles’ seventh straight victory against a nationally ranked team.

After not finding success at the plate at all on Friday, the Horned Frogs were able to jump out to an early 3-0 lead. FSU starting pitcher Carson Montgomery had a strong first inning but ran into trouble throughout the next three innings. He ended the day giving up three runs off eight hits and two walks in 4 ⅓ innings. 

“That’s baseball,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “You hate to say it but they hit some good pitches and he made some bad pitches that they hit as well … That’s a good club — sometimes that’s going to happen. Sometimes you make 10 bad pitches and never have damage done. Sometimes you make two mistakes and it costs you six runs.”

The Seminoles (26-15, 11-10 ACC) were unable to find their footing early against the Horned Frogs (27-16, 12-6 Big 12) but were able to break through on back-to-back home runs in the fifth. Brett Roberts hit a two-run homer (his 4th) that scored Jordan Carrion and James Tibbs followed up with his 8th home run of the year to tie the game.

Florida State had chances leading up to that point but were unable to capitalize on them. Horned Frogs third baseman Brayden Taylor had multiple diving stops in the hot corner that saved hits and potentially runs. 

The Seminoles stormed ahead and took the lead with a four-run seventh inning. Reese Albert singled to left-center field to score Brett Roberts. Logan Lacey then blasted a three-run home run to center field to bring the score to 7-3. From there the score stayed put as Wyatt Crowell shut the door. 

“It’s always good to get one against really good teams,” Martin Jr. said. “The way we did it was very encouraging. They had a starter that was doing a number on us. We had some good AB’s but again things weren’t going our way.”

Crowell came on in relief of Montgomery and threw 4.2 scoreless innings. The left-hander struck out six batters, tying his career high. As a bonus, Martin Jr. didn’t have to go far into his bullpen and has multiple fresh arms to choose from on Sunday. Despite having a rough start to the season, Crowell seems to have found his form during the home stretch. 

“I’ve really tried to slow my mind down on the mound,” Crowell said. “It’s all in my head really. In the beginning of the year I was struggling. I think going out there and thinking positive all the time and telling myself I’m better than the hitter in the box every at-bat has helped me a lot.”

In addition to being the team’s sixth straight victory against a nationally ranked team, this also marks the second series win against a ranked team this season. The Seminoles also have a victory against Georgia Southern and against Florida, which was ranked No. 23 during their matchup on April 12th.

Martin Jr. has talked a lot this season about an increasingly difficult schedule and how he wants his club to continuously ramp up competition. With series left against North Carolina and No. 3 Miami, it’s coming to a head at the end of the season.

“Everybody is good,” Martin Jr said. It’s just a situation of who can handle environments and stuff like that that can increase your chances of winning. We are going to be battle tested as much as anybody.”

Box score: FSU 7, TCU 3

The FSU – TCU box score can be viewed here.

Up next: TCU at FSU

The Horned Frogs and Seminoles will play Sunday at noon (ACC Network Extra).