In a reversal of fortune from the first two games of the series, Florida State found itself down by multiple runs early against Louisville on Saturday. The Cardinals were able to run FSU starting pitcher Ross Dunn off the mound in just 15 pitches as the left-hander struggled to land any of his pitches where he wanted. Jackson Baumeister came on in relief but he too struggled with his command as Louisville took a 3-0 lead.
From there, the Seminoles (22-13, 10-8 ACC) were locked in a back-and-forth battle against the Cardinals (24-11, 9-6 ACC) that ended with Florida State completing the comeback against Louisville in a 10-9 victory.
“You don’t normally get a win when you get off to a bad start,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. began. “It shows the belief and the extra somethin’ that this team has got. We have some guys that are turning the corner. We are starting to look like a team that is going to do some more of that stuff. Now you are starting to see some pieces of the puzzle come together. Louisville is as good as you’ll find.”
The ’Noles were able to get a run back in the bottom of the first with Tyler Martin scoring on a wild pitch but gave that run back in the top of the next inning due to more pitching woes. In the first two innings, Seminoles pitchers allowed four runs with four walks, two wild pitches and two hit batters.
Fortunately for Florida State, the hot bats from earlier in the series carried into Saturday and the Seminoles were able to continue to eat away at the 4-1 deficit.
Jackson Greene blasted a two-run home run (4th) to bring the Seminoles back within a single run in the bottom of the second inning. Florida State tied the game in the fourth inning but could not take the lead due to poor base running decisions that resulted in Colton Vincent getting thrown out at home plate.
Jordan Carrion hit his first home run as a Seminole in the next inning to score three runs and take the lead. Carrion went a perfect 4 for 4 on the day, scoring three times.
“I’ve been trying to keep it simple. See ball, hit ball,” Carrion said. “I got too mechanical and worried about what I was doing with my swing. So I went back to the basics.”
The Seminoles continued to pour in the runs, as they scored three more runs in the 7th to expand their lead to 10-5 via a two-run single by Vincent and a sac fly RBI by Jaime Ferrer.
Louisville then displayed why they are one of the most dangerous offenses in the country. The Cardinals exploded for a four-run eighth inning, with a two-run home run from third baseman Ben Metzinger and two more runs off a single from second baseman Logan Beard to bring the score to 10-9.
The Cardinals turned a comfortable Florida State lead into a one-run ballgame entering the ninth with the snap of a finger. It didn’t get any more comfortable.
After a quick top half of the inning, the Cardinals were knocking on the door once again with both the tying and go-ahead run on base. Carson Montgomery came on in relief of Jonah Scolaro to get the final two outs for FSU and struck out the rest of the side to secure the sweep for the Seminoles.
“Carson showed me a little something,” Martin Jr. said. “He wasn’t quivering his lips or shaking his hands. He was locked in and ready to go.”
The Florida State pitching staff were under pressure from Louisville’s offense all afternoon but were able to throw well enough in the middle innings to prevent the Cardinals from extending their lead and buy time for the Seminoles bats to put runs on the board.
As for Montgomery, Martin Jr. said that he will now be taking over pitching duties on Sundays instead of Dunn, who has given up 10 runs in his last three starts while only throwing seven innings.
This is a role that Montgomery does have some experience in, as he was originally the Sunday starter last season. It’s perhaps a move that is somewhat overdue considering how inconsistent Florida State has been on Sunday, especially recently.
After a 2-7 slide at the turn of the month, the Seminoles have now produced a 4-0 week that includes a victory against rival Florida and a sweep of the No. 9 ranked team in Louisville. Martin Jr. said earlier in the season that the ACC would be a “bloodbath” with how good everyone is this season. With how the last few weeks have gone for Florida State, that statement seems fairly accurate.
“For them to believe and keep going says a lot about what they are made of,” Martin Jr. said. “You look at it on paper and you’re like, ‘it doesn’t look good at all’, but here we are — we are right in the hunt.”
“That’s the thing, this game is mental,” Carrion added. “We’ve been positive through our ups and downs here. That starts with Meat. He does a great job in keeping the clubhouse in a great mindset for our team.”
The FSU – Louisville box score can be viewed here.
Florida State looks to stay in the hunt with a Wednesday game against Georgia Southern (7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra) and then travels to Clemson for a weekend series against the Tigers.