TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State (43-18) used a four-run fifth inning to claw back from a 6-1 deficit, but Samford (37-24) reliever Wyatt Burns held the Seminoles at bay as the Bulldogs held on for a 7-6 win Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium. For the second consecutive season, FSU lost to the four-seed in the regional opener, but the Noles will look to replicate 2017’s success and win four straight games to advance to a Super Regional.
Starting pitcher Cole Sands (7-4) allowed a two-run home run and faced just one more batter before exiting with what head coach Mike Martin described as right shoulder tightness in the postgame press conference. Clayton Kwiatkowski, Conor Grady, CJ Van Eyk and Jonah Scolaro combined to allow five runs in 6.1 relief innings.
Seven different Seminoles recorded at least one hit, including doubles by Steven Wells and Drew Mendoza. Wells’ double led off the second inning and he came around to score on a Reese Albert sacrifice fly that gave FSU a 1-0 lead.
Brooks Carlson’s team-high ninth home run gave Samford a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Branden Fryman singled home Austin Edens to extend the lead to 3-1 in the fourth. Edens finished 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI in the game.
Samford pushed the lead to 6-1 in the fifth on three hits and a pair of FSU errors. The Seminoles scored four runs on five hits and a throwing error by the Samford catcher. The inning was highlighted by Mike Salvatore’s two-run triple that got past a diving Sam Teague in left field.
FSU threatened again in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out, but Salvatore grounded into a double play. The Bulldogs went up 7-5 in the seventh inning on a Van Eyk bases loaded balk, but he worked out of trouble and limited the damage to one run.
Wells walked to start the eighth and Mendoza doubled off the left-center field wall to make the FSU deficit 7-6, but Burns got FSU’s 7-8-9 hitters out in order to get out of the eighth inning with a one-run lead.
Jackson Lueck earned a walk in the bottom of the ninth inning but was stranded as Burns forced a pair of ground outs for his 13th save of the season.
One-seed Florida State and two-seed Mississippi State will face off in the first elimination game of the Tallahassee Regional. FSU will throw LHP Drew Parrish and the Bulldogs will pitch Ethan Small.
FSU will be the visiting team and the game will begin at 12:00 p.m.
For more information on Florida State baseball, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSUBaseball), Facebook (/FSUBaseball), and Instagram (@NoleBaseball).