Florida State honored legendary baseball coach Mike Martin Sr. on a cool but sunny, picture-perfect Saturday afternoon by retiring his jersey between the second and third inning of the Seminoles’ season opener against North Florida.
However, the celebration was short-lived with Mike Martin, Jr.’s team finding itself down by a half dozen runs just a half inning later. Florida State was unable to keep pace with UNF’s bats, who totaled 11 hits against five FSU pitchers and ultimately dropped its season opener 7-4 to the Ospreys.
“That wasn’t the plan,” Martin Jr. said. “Got a lot of things to clean up. We stunk in just about every facet. Did like the fight at the end but it’s got to be there all the way through and the focus has to be there all the way through.”
After trading a pair of scoreless innings to start the game the UNF bats woke up in the third inning. Catcher Tanner Clark hit a towering shot off FSU starting pitcher Parker Messick over the right-field fence to give the Ospreys a 1-0 lead to start the third. Then 2B Aidan Sweatt doubled to left field. That was followed two batters later by an RBI single from Abraham Sequera to make it 2-0. Blake Marabell drove in both Sequera and Justin Holmes, who had reached base on a walk. Messick was relieved after Marabell’s two-run single with no outs in the third.
Relief pitcher Jack Anderson inherited runners on the corners. He struck out the first batter he faced but then loaded the bases with a walk. UNF then scored on a wild pitch by Anderson to the very next batter to extend the lead to 4-0. Robbie Clark then plated the remaining base runners with a shot down the third baseline to give UNF a 6-0 lead. The Seminoles got out of the inning with the Osprey stranding two runners on base on a fielder’s choice by Sweatt to FSU shortstop Nander De Sedas.
De Sedas then led off FSU’s half of the third with a double. Two batters later De Sedas advanced to third on a single by Tyler Martin with one out. Catcher Matheu Nelson then hit a bomb over the left-field fence to cut the UNF lead to 6-3 before UNF starting pitcher Tony Roca retired two of the next three batters to end the inning with FSU leaving one runner on base.
In the fourth inning Anderson retired the Ospreys in order. Roca was replaced by reliever Mas McKinley to start FSU’s half of the fourth. FSU’s Jackson Greene singled with one out which followed by a single by De Sedas, giving the Seminoles runners at first and second. Tyler Martin singled in Greene to cut the UNF lead to 6-4. The inning ended on a pop up in the infield by Nelson on the third baseline when De Sedas was hit by the ball between third and home and was called for runner interference while trying to advance home from third with two outs.
Anderson was replaced in the fifth with no outs by Clayton Kwiatkowski after giving up a single and a walk to start the inning. Kwiatkowski stuck out the first two batters he faced before forcing a groundout to second to end the inning and end the Ospreys’ threat with two runners on base. In the Seminoles’ half of the fifth RF Robby Martin singled to lead off the inning for FSU. Martin then advanced to second after a walk by DH Dylan Simmons. Center fielder Reese Albert grounded into a double play, which advanced Martin to third but Logan Lacey grounded out to end the inning.
Kwiatkowski retired UNF in order in the Ospreys’ half of the sixth, which included two strikeouts to begin the inning. Smith hit what would have been a home run to left field if had not been for a great catch by UNF’s Marabell, who corralled the line drive with his glove above the wall.
Pitcher Davis Hare came in to to pitch in the seventh inning for the Seminoles. Hare found himself in a bases-loaded situation with two outs after giving up two singles and a walk. The next batter reached base on an error by Smith, allowing the Ospreys to plate another runner to take a 7-4 advantage before Hare registered a strikeout to end the inning with the bases still loaded. Tyler Martin led off in the FSU half of the seventh with a walk but was picked off first base with one out, which helped UNF get out of the inning unscathed.
Hare was replaced in the eighth by Chase Haney after the first two UNF batters singled, putting runners on the corners. Haney struck out the first batter he faced but walked the second to load the bases before forcing an inning-ending double play. Albert walked to start out FSU’s half of the eighth. That was followed by a walk to Lacey to give FSU runners on first and second. After a strikeout of Greene, Lacey was picked off first and De Sedas struck out to end the inning, leaving Reese stranded at second.
Down 7-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, Smith, Tyler Martin and Nelson walked, which loaded the bases with no outs for FSU. However the next two batters, Robby Martin and Dylan Simmons, struck out, and Albert grounded out to end the game.
Max McKinley was credited with the win for UNF, while Messick took the loss for FSU. Messick gave up five earned runs in 2.1 innings of work. FSU also committed two errors in the field, with one of those leading to a run. Tyler Martin and De Sedas led FSU with two hits a piece. Nelson led the team with three RBI. UNF pitchers combined to give up 10 walks to FSU but struck out 13 FSU batters.
The ninth-ranked Seminoles (0-1) face UNF (1-0) on Sunday in a doubleheader, with the first game starting at 11 a.m. The finale of the series will start approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Both games will stream on ACC Network Extra.