FSU, ranked 14th in the nation, took on third-ranked Texas Tech in the second game of split doubleheader on Saturday night at Dick Howser Stadium.
After beating FAU 16-6 in the first game of the day, FSU fell to 8-2 on the season after a 6-5 loss to the Red Raiders in 11 innings in front of 4,200 plus fans on clear but cold night in Tallahassee.
FSU threw five pitchers against Texas Tech and held the Red Raiders to just nine hits but it was not enough to overcome four errors in the infield to complete the upset.
The Seminoles took a one-run lead into the ninth but a home run by Tech right fielder Dru Baker tied the score at 5-5. Then an error, FSU’s fourth of the night, on a throw to first base in the 11th, allowed the winning run to score all the way from first for the deciding run. Fielding has been an issue for FSU all season and it proved to be their undoing in the Seminoles’ biggest game of the year to-date. The Seminoles have now committed 25 errors in 10 games.
Texas Tech took an early 1-0 first inning lead after center fielder Dylan Neuse doubled with one-out off of FSU starting pitcher Shane Drohan. Neuse was quickly driven from third two batters later after a double by first baseman Cole Stilwell before FSU starting pitcher Shane Drohan struck out DH Nate Rombach to end the inning.
After Texas Tech starting pitcher Bryce Bonnin retired the first five batters he faced, FSU plated a run of its own after center fielder Reese Albert doubled to right-center field. The next two Seminole batters walked to load the bases and Albert crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Bonnin with third baseman Carter Smith at the plate. Smith then drew a walk with one out to keep the bases loaded but FSU was not able to score another run in the inning.
After striking out the side in the second, Drohan gave up a walk and single in the third but he struck out Stilwell with to end the inning with two runners on left on base. Drohan then retired the side in order in the fourth, throwing just 14 pitches in the inning, to Tech’s 5th, 6th and 7th place hitters in the lineup.
FSU got a two-out single from first baseman Cooper Swanson, who was advanced to third one batter later by single down the right field line by DH Tyler Martin to start a rally in their half of the inning. Catcher Matheu Nelson then ripped a double to left field to drive in both base runners to give FSU a 3-1 lead. The Seminoles then added their third run of the inning when right fielder Robby Martin hit a slow dribbler between the pitcher and third baseman, which advanced Nelson to third and would be brought home on an late and inaccurate throw to first to try and retire Martin.
FSU defensive woes in the middle infield continue in the night cap. In the fifth inning shortstop Jackson Greene’s throwing error allowed Tech’s left fielder Dillon Carter to reach first on a routine grounder. Carter then stole second and advanced to third when Nelson skipped a ball past second and into center field. Drohan then walked the next two Tech batters to load the bases with two outs and he was then replaced by right-hander Chase Haney.
Haney, who has been clutch for FSU in relief to this point in the season, then gave up a slicing line drive to right field by Stilwell to clear the bases and tie the game at 4-4 before getting out of the inning. All three Tech runs were unearned.
Drohan worked 4.2 innings, gave up just one hit, one earned run and struck out nine of the 21 batters he faced, and his early departure was directly impacted by FSU’s defensive issues in the fifth inning. Of the four runs Tech scored with Drohan in the game only one was earned.
After pitching four complete innings and giving seven hits and recording seven strikeouts Bonnin was replaced to start the fifth by righthanded relief pitcher Eli Riechmann for the Red Raiders. FSU managed to get a runner to third with two outs in the fifth but was unable to score in the inning.
Haney retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth before being replaced by lefthanded pitcher Jonah Scolaro. The junior quickly struck out the only batter he faced in the inning.
In the Seminoles’ half of the sixth first baseman Cooper Swanson laid down a drag bunt between the pitcher and third baseman. He then stole second and was quickly driven in by Tyler Martin, who ripped another shot down the right-field line, this time for a double, to give FSU a 5-4 lead. Martin eventually advanced to third on a ground ball out by Robby Martin after a Nelson strike out but was left stranded with left fielder Elijah Cabell struck out to end the inning.
Scolaro gave up a one-out single in the seventh to right fielder Dru Baker. He struck out the next batter but after a four-pitch walk to follow that he was replaced by right-hander Davis Hare with two outs and runners on first and second. Hare then stuck out Stilwell to end the scoring threat by Tech. FSU then went down in order in their half of the inning.
Hare retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth before an error by Smith at third base gave Tech a runner on first with two outs. After pitching one inning and allowing one hit, Hare was replaced by lefthander Parker Messick, who retired the only batter he faced to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth Messick gave up a one-out solo homer to Baker to tie the game at 5-5 before retiring two of the next three batters to keep the game deadlocked heading into the bottom of the ninth.
FSU got a leadoff single from Robby Martin to start the ninth. He was then advanced to second on ground out by Albert and after a Cabell strike out to give the Seminoles a runner in scoring position with Greene at the plate. Greene walked to give FSU runners on first and second. The next batter, Smith, struck out to send the game to extra innings.
Tech led off the 10th inning with a single against Messick by DH Nate Rombach who was then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Jace Jung. Messick then retired the next two batters with strikeouts to keep the game tied. FSU went down in order in their half of the 10th, all on strikeouts.
Tech’s first batter, Carter, in the 11th reached base on a walk by Messick. With one-out in the inning an infield single by Neuse advanced Carter from first to home for the go-ahead run when Smith’s throw to first ended up in right field and allowed Neuse to reach third before Messick was about to retire the next two batters to get out of the inning with the Red Raiders up 6-5.
The Seminoles put two runners on base in their half of the 11th after a one-out single by Robby Martin, who then advanced to second when Elijah Cabell was hit by a pitch. Then, to add to the excitement, Albert struck out but reached first on a passed ball to load the bases for the Seminoles. Smith then hit a hard line drive to center field to end the comeback bid by FSU.
The FSU-Texas Tech box score can be viewed here in PDF format.