ATHENS, Ga. – Florida State brought the hit parade again, chasing one of the nation’s top pitchers. And C.J. Van Eyk turned in one of his best starts of the year.
The Seminoles are now an improbable win away from claiming the Athens Regional.
Carter Smith had a three-run homer and Tim Becker added a solo home run and a two-run single, his third of the regional, as No. 3 seed FSU smacked No. 1 seed Georgia 12-3 on Saturday night.
Van Eyk tossed eight impressive innings, giving up three earned runs but recording nine strikeouts without allowing a walk. The sophomore right-hander outdueled Emerson Hancock, who had allowed 15 earned runs in 13 starts before the Seminoles lit him up for five runs in four innings.
Van Eyk is 7-0 with a 2.86 ERA in his last eight starts. He has 65 strikeouts and just 16 walks.
“C.J. pitched a whale of a game,” FSU coach Mike Martin said.
A crowd of 3,046, many of them FSU fans who made the drive in to Athens from around the Southeast, mixed in with Georgia fans for a festive crowd at Foley Field.
FSU (38-21) will have some rest before playing again on Sunday at 6 p.m. The Seminoles will face the Georgia-Florida Atlantic winner out of a noon elimination game. FSU needs just one more win on Sunday or Monday to advance to the Super Regionals.
“This tournament is a long way from being over – we know that,” Martin said.
The Seminoles fell behind 2-0 in the middle of the third but quickly tied it up on a Becker home run and a sac fly that scored Mike Salvatore.
And FSU wasn’t done there, adding three runs in the fourth and five runs in the fifth inning. Hancock, a first-team All-SEC pitcher, was gone and the Seminoles had a commanding lead.
Nander De Sedas had his first three-hit game of the season, Mike Salvatore went 3 for 5 with a two-run homer and Becker added a two-run single to his home run.
FSU hammered Georgia pitchers for 15 hits. Drew Mendoza, Carter Smith and Becker had two hits apiece.
The bottom of FSU’s order – De Sedas, Smith and Becker – were a combined 7 for 11 with nine RBI and six runs scored.
“It was huge, that’s our job at the bottom of the order, to turn it back to Mike (Salvatore) and the guys at the top and I think we did a good job of that tonight,” Becker said.
It was the first postseason since 2016 that the Seminoles had back-to-back games where they scored 10 or more runs. FSU defeated FAU 13-7 on Friday. The Seminoles had 20 hits on Friday.