Behind six shutout innings from starter Cole Sands, No. 5 Florida State (5-0) beat Troy (4-2) 7-3 Friday afternoon on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. Sands (2-0) struck out five and allowed just two hits, Jackson Lueck hit his first home run of the season and a four-run sixth inning extended the FSU lead.
“Very pleased Cole Sands had another good outing,” head coach Mike Martin said. “This is a situation where we are looking for somebody to take the role of a Friday night starter…he pitched out of some difficult situations. Wasn’t exactly sharp, but the numbers are impressive.”
Sands was stellar for a second-straight outing to open the year after throwing five innings and striking out nine last Saturday against Xavier. Leadoff hitter Matt Sanders singled to open the game, but a third inning single from Manning Early was Troy’s only other hit against Sands.
FSU opened the scoring with Steven Wells’ sacrifice fly in the second inning. Rafael Bournigal singled, followed by walks to J.C. Flowers and freshman Reese Albert to load the bases for Wells.
Jackson Lueck’s home run to lead off the third doubled the FSU lead against Troy starter Andrew Crane (1-1). A Drew Mendoza groundout later that inning scored Rhett Aplin and gave FSU a 3-0 lead.
Sands retired the final 10 batters he faced. Against Xavier last week, 15 of the final 16 Musketeer batters got out against Sands.
“He got the outs he was asked to get,” Martin said of Sands. “Good win for us but tomorrow is another day.”
FSU broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs on just two hits. Junior Jonathan Foster entered in place of Reese Albert with two runners on base. The junior college transfer lofted a high fly ball off the left field foul pole for a three-run home run in his first plate appearance as a Seminole.
Crane exited the game after that, making way for Will Carnley. Carnley allowed three walks and a wild pitch that scored Wells and made the score 7-0.
Cobi Johnson made his second appearance of the season in relief of Sands. After walking the first batter, Johnson struck out Mason Rogers, Rigsby Mosley and Drew Frederic in order. In two appearances this year, Johnson has seven strikeouts in three innings pitched.
Freshman pitchers CJ Van Eyk and Shane Drohan made the first appearances of their careers in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Van Eyk worked around a one-out single and struck out one hitter. Drohan allowed a pair of walks and hit a batter before junior Gage Hutchinson entered to close out the game.
Troy scored three runs in the ninth inning to avoid the shutout.
Jonathan Foster hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat as a Seminole, scoring Rafael Bournigal and J.C. Flowers and extending FSU’s lead to 6-0. Foster, a junior college transfer that played his freshman season at Auburn, played against Xavier in the season opener but did not record a plate appearance.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,949th of his career. He needs just 27 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently trails only Augie Garrido (1,975 wins). Martin is 10-1 against the Trojans.
Florida State and Troy meet for game two of the series Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. FSU will throw LHP Drew Parrish (1-0, 1.50 ERA), while Troy will toss RHP Daren Osby (0-0, 3.00 ERA).
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).