FSU struggled to get the bats going early against USF and rode a three-run sixth inning to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Bulls.
The Seminoles (3-1) entered the sixth tied with USF 3-3. With one out left fielder Elijah Cabell drew a one-out walk, which was followed by a single to left by freshman designated hitter Tyler Martin to put runners on the corners. Martin then advance to second base on a wild pitch, which was quickly followed by a three-run home run by catcher Matheu Nelson – who was 0 for 3 on the night going into the at-bat.
“He’s a winner and I told him that when he came around third base,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin Jr. of Nelson’s game-winning home run. “That’s what winners do, they keep pushing.”
FSU’s first-year head coach was proud of his team’s ability to overcome the adversity they faced early against the Bulls.
“Really, really good team win,” said Martin Jr. “We uses a lot of guys. Down early, battled back, things weren’t going our way. That’s one we needed badly, there is no doubt. It’s good to have games like that early in the season, see what you are made of, so I was proud of them.”
FSU pitchers allowed just six hits on the night and recorded 12 strikeouts and three walks.
USF (2-2) took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and then expanded that lead to 3-0 in the top of the third when the third baseman made an errant throw to second base with two outs and the bases loaded to allow two runs to score.
FSU starting pitcher Jack Anderson allowed one earned run and two unearned runs in his first outing of 2020, in which he threw 28 strikes on 44 pitches. Freshman pitcher Parker Messick was impressive in relief of Anderson as he recorded five strikeouts, allowing two hits and giving up one walk while facing 12 USF batters.
Messick’s performance stymied the Bulls’ upset bid and FSU’s bats came alive in the fourth inning with a single by third baseman Carter Smith, who drove in the Seminoles’ first two runs to cut the Bulls’ lead to 3-2. Later in the fourth inning, Martin drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home first baseman Dylan Simmons to tie the ball game.
“(Messick) really calmed things down,” continued Coach Martin. “That’s what you have to have in that situation. He’s an old soul. Nothing bothers him. Thank goodness we have a few of those guys on the staff.”
FSU added another run in the bottom of the seventh when Nelson drew a walk with the bases loaded to bring Smith across the plate to extend the Seminoles’ lead to 7-3.
The Seminoles got a solid performance by relief pitcher by Chase Haney, who was credited with the win. Haney allowed one hit in 2.1 innings of work, where he allowed just one hit and three strikeouts.
“Chase Haney, what do you say about him?” continued Martin. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get (him) another year of eligibility.”
Junior relief pitcher Jonah Scolaro pitched a scoreless eighth inning, where he recorded two strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit. Freshman pitcher Doug Kirkland finished off the Bulls in the ninth, where he faced three batters and allowed no hits on just six pitches.
Offensively, FSU was led by Nelson, who recorded four RBI, and Smith, who had two hits. Right fielder Robby Martin who also had two hits and scored a run.
The full box score can be viewed here