TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior Jonathan Foster hit a pinch hit, walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead Florida State (22-6, 7-4 ACC) past Louisville (18-8, 4-7) Friday night on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. It was Foster’s second home run of the season and his first at-bat of the night.
Out to the wall … AND GONE!
The legend continues … pic.twitter.com/NAeF1vfEkx
— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) March 31, 2018
“Jonathan has been a guy I’ve liked since day one,” head coach Mike Martin said. “He hasn’t gotten much of a chance to show what he can do…and that’s not always easy. He takes the kind of swing that Meat (assistant coach Mike Martin Jr.) likes and certainly I like it also. Just makes solid contact and I’m proud that he’s a Seminole.”
“That was a great feeling,” Foster said of his walk-off home run. “I was hoping I had enough on it. I got it good but it feels great. I’m thankful for Coach for letting me pinch-hit and have that opportunity.”
Shortstop Mike Salvatore hit his first home run of the year in the third inning, a grand slam off starter Shay Smiddy, and Rhett Aplin added a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth. Conor Grady (3-0) earned the win, allowing a run on two hits over the final 1.2 innings.
Salvatore is hitting 11-for-25 over his current seven-game hitting streak, with nine runs scored and nine RBI.
“He showed that kind of power in practice the other day, when the wind was blowing out,” Martin said of Salvatore. “First thing I said was, ‘You’re not a home run hitter.’ Do the little things. He hit four out the other day and I had not seen him hit one out before then. He got two more hits tonight and the second was what he does best, hit the ball up the middle.”
Starting pitcher Drew Parrish allowed three runs in four innings but walked a career-high six batters. Jonah Scolaro threw 3.1 innings before exiting in Louisville’s three-run eighth inning, giving way to Grady.
Louisville struck first in the third inning when Justin Lavey doubled off the right field fence and Tyler Fitzgerald singled to put runners on the corners. Josh Stowers hit his third sacrifice fly of the season for a 1-0 Cardinals lead.
Parrish walked the next three batters to score another Louisville run before an inning-ending groundout.
FSU has trailed in each of the past seven games, all against Top 30 teams, but rallied to win five of them.
Smiddy walked FSU’s 7-8-9 hitters to open the bottom of the third before Salvatore hit his first home run as a Seminole for a 4-2 FSU lead. It was FSU’s second grand slam of the season after Nick Derr’s broke a 4-4 tie in last Sunday’s series finale at North Carolina last week.
Reid Detmers relieved Smiddy and allowed two more walks before an inning-ending fly out stopped FSU’s efforts to add to the lead.
Louisville tied the score in the fifth on a pair of failed pick off attempts and an RBI double from Devin Mann.
“We made some mistakes,” Martin said. “Mistakes you’re not always able to overcome. But we did it with confidence in ourselves to realize that we can get it done, but we can’t do this (comeback) every night.”
Cooper Swanson singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning and Salvatore walked, setting up Aplin’s two-run single to give FSU a 6-4 lead.
Scolaro and Conor Grady (2-1) ran into trouble in the top of the eighth when Louisville took the lead. Lavey reached on a fielding error by Salvatore at shortstop, followed by an RBI double from Fitzgerald that ended Scolaro’s day. Grady allowed a game-tying triple to Josh Stowers to deep centerfield and Jake Snider singled to give the Cardinals a 7-6 lead.
Sam Bordner (1-1), Louisville’s reliever with eight saves on the season, was asked to get six outs for save number nine. FSU left a pair of runners on in the eighth inning, the sixth straight inning FSU stranded at least one runner. In the ninth, Derr lined a one-out single up the middle before Foster’s home run gave FSU’s third walk-off win of the year and its sixth straight win against the Cardinals.
“It was great seeing Meat jump around like that,” Foster said of the team’s celebration. “It was a great feeling when I hit home plate.”
Jonathan Foster’s two-run, pinch hit home run scored Nick Derr for a walk-off, 8-7 victory. It was Foster’s second home run this year, both as a pinch hitter, and FSU’s third walk-off victory of the season.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,966th of his career. He needs just 10 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently only trails the late Augie Garrido (1,975 wins). Martin is 24-5 all-time against Louisville and 9-3 since Louisville joined the ACC in 2015.
Florida State and Louisville wrap the series Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. LHP Austin Pollock (2-1, 3.86 ERA) will throw for FSU and LHP Nick Bennett (2-0, 1.80 ERA) will toss for the Cardinals.
Shawn Davison and Chip Baker will call the game for the ACC Network Extra.
Eric Luallen will be on the radio in Tallahassee on 106.1 FM and nationwide on the FSU Gameday App.
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).