TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 8 Florida State (17-4) won its third straight game and eighth straight against UCF (17-5), knocking off the No. 21 Knights 6-4 Tuesday evening at Dick Howser Stadium. Jackson Lueck hit his third home run of the season and starting pitcher Andrew Karp (4-1) pitched a career high 7.1 innings, striking out 10 and issuing no walks.
#NOLES WIN! FSU downs No. 21 UCF, 6-4.
WP: Karp (4-1)
LP: Spicer (3-1)
SV: Grady (2)
Back at it tomorrow at 4 pm. pic.twitter.com/gUWc7bmVO4
— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) March 21, 2018
“When you look at the game, you start with Andrew Karp,” head coach Mike Martin said. “Something this ball club really needed. Karp gave us 117 pitches and we were going to stop him at 120. We didn’t walk a guy. Good outing.”
Karp allowed a pair of home runs, giving up three earned runs. It was the third game of his career that he struck out 10 or more batters without issuing a walk, including earlier this season at Jacksonville (12 strikeouts). The junior improved to 4-1 with the win, doubling his win total from a season ago.
“I found a little bit of a groove as the game wore on,” Karp said. “Coach [Mike] Bell says throw three pitches for strikes and keep their guys off balance.”
Lueck gave FSU a 2-0 lead in the third inning with his home run off Jordan Spicer (3-1). UCF halved the lead on a Tyler Osik home run in top of the fourth, but the Noles responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Drew Mendoza singled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, moved to second on Steven Wells’ hit by pitch and scored on J.C. Flowers’ RBI single.
Reese Albert walked on four pitches to load the bases, Wells scored on Mike Salvatore’s sacrifice fly (his team-high fourth of the year) and Flowers scored on Nick Derr’s RBI single. Spicer was pulled after four innings, allowing five runs on four hits.
FSU scored its final run in the fifth inning on Cal Raleigh’s walk, Mendoza’s double and Wells’ sacrifice fly.
Karp allowed a two-run home run to Rylan Thomas in the eighth inning, the final batter he faced. Gage Hutchinson entered and allowed a bloop single to Matthew Mika, who scored on Dallas Beaver’s RBI single to cut the score to 6-4.
Conor Grady entered in the ninth inning and set the Knights down in order, including Ray Alejo swinging to end the game, for his second save in as many games.
Nick Derr’s RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning extended FSU’s lead to 5-1. Derr has a career-high four game hitting streak, with two home runs and two doubles in that span.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,961st of his career. He needs just 15 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently only trails the late Augie Garrido (1,975 wins). Martin is 36-6 against UCF.
Florida State and UCF play the second of two games Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The Knights will throw Thad Ward (2-1, 3.48 ERA). The Seminoles will start either Cobi Johnson or CJ Van Eyk.
The game will stream live on ACC Network Extra and on the radio in Tallahassee on 106.1 FM and nationwide through 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).