GAINESVILLE — Florida State’s long relievers have done everything they can to put the team in position to win. On Tuesday, the Seminoles were in that position for a third straight game before falling short.
Left-hander Andrew Armstrong came out of the bullpen to face the left-handed-hitting Sterlin Thompson, who cranked a no-doubt, walk-off, two-run homer in Florida’s 7-5 win over the Seminoles.
FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. opted to play the percentages and pulled right-handed closer Davis Hare with two outs in the ninth and put in Armstrong. Hare had thrown 32 pitches.
“The splits,” Martin Jr. said. “They’re significant. You just felt like with Army that you’re going to get a three-pitch mix. (Jud) Fabian has reverse splits on-deck. We felt like that was the best play to give us the best chance to win. Davis was getting up there in pitches.”
Jonah Scolaro threw a career-high 4.1 innings to put FSU (32-19) in position to take the season series, but instead Florida (33-19) picked up a March win at Jacksonville to go with Tuesday’s win (FSU won in Tallahassee in April).
“Settled everything down,” Martin Jr. said. “Kept us in it. Jonah was outstanding. He was throwing four pitches for strikes.”
The left-hander recorded seven strikeouts while allowing just two hits and one walk. Scolaro also had a good start vs. UF on April 12, tossing 3.1 shutout innings in FSU’s 5-0 win. He also matched a 2019 outing vs. UF in Jacksonville where he tossed four innings and allowed just an unearned run.
FSU’s long relief has been exceptional now in three straight games. Wyatt Crowell tossed a four-inning save, allowing just an unearned run, in the second game of FSU’s doubleheader with Miami on Saturday. A day later, Ross Dunn gave up only a solo home run in five innings as the Seminoles defeated the Hurricanes.
Davis Hare (1-3) pitched 1.2 innings, stranding Gators at first and second and striking out Ty Evans to end the eighth. Hare recorded two outs in the ninth before Langford hit a single to center, and Martin Jr. called on Armstrong.
James Tibbs had a two-run home run, while Logan Lacey went 3 for 4, including an RBI double in the third.
Jackson Baumeister lasted 2.2 innings, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks. He had five strikeouts but also struggled in the third with control of his breaking pitches. Baumeister gave up a pair of solo home runs to Langford, UF’s leadoff hitter, who is now tied for the Gators’ lead with 19.
Jac Caglianone also had a two-run single and Ty Evans followed with an RBI double to put UF in front 5-3. FSU tied it up in the fifth as Brock Mathis scored on a wild pitch and then Jordan Carrion’s RBI double brought home Tyler Martin.
FSU went down 1-2-3 in the sixth, seventh and eighth against UF freshman right-hander Tyler Nesbitt. In the ninth, Tyler Martin reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second (the UF infielders didn’t call time) but Carrion lined out to end the inning.
UF announced one of its biggest crowds of the year at 6,899, although there were noticeable clusters of empty seats behind home plate and both dugouts.
The FSU – Florida box score can be viewed here.
FSU travels to North Carolina on Thursday at 6 p.m. (ACC Network Extra) in the first of a three-game series.