TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Freshman J.C. Flowers drove a 1-2 pitch from Mike Cassala into left field, scoring Hank Truluck and Jackson Lueck in the bottom of the ninth to cap Florida State’s 10-9 win over Jacksonville (11-12) Tuesday evening on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles (15-7) trailed 7-0 before having an at-bat, but clawed back by scoring in seven of nine innings, including three in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the win.
“Falling behind like we did is a clear indication of what kind of club we have,” head coach Mike Martin said. “That was an important game – a midweek of real importance. We had just lost four out of five on a road trip, come home to these fans, and entertain them to a seven-spot deficit.
“And yet, to hear that roar when J.C. singled to win the ballgame, was Florida State baseball. That’s all I can say.”
After last week’s road trip which included losses at Florida, Florida Gulf Coast and two at Virginia Tech, the Seminoles quickly fell behind 7-0 after the Dolphins sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning. Starter Andrew Karp, the team leader with a 2.10 ERA entering the game, allowed six earned runs in recording just two outs.
Behind him, the Florida State bullpen, which struggled for the final two games at Virginia Tech last week, were stellar on Tuesday night. Jim Voyles allowed a run in the first inning, but held Jacksonville scoreless for the next three. His brother, Ed Voyles, allowed two unearned runs in the fifth, and Alec Byrd, Chase Haney, Will Zirzow and Drew Carlton (1-1) allowed just two hits and struck out five in the final 4.1 innings.
At the plate, the Seminoles were led by junior Taylor Walls, sophomore Cal Raleigh and Flowers. Walls opened the game with hits in his first four plate appearances, including a sixth-inning home run to straight-away centerfield that closed the FSU gap to 9-6.
Raleigh tied his season high with three hits, including a home run to open the ninth inning to make the score 9-8. Flowers also had three hits, the game-winning RBI and a run scored.
After falling behind 7-0, Walls opened the game with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly foul out by Tyler Daughtry. The Seminoles got a run in the second on freshman Nick Derr’s first home run of his career, making the score 7-2. The Seminoles also got a pair of unearned runs in the fourth after Lueck, who had not started a game since March 5 due to shin splints, reached on a fielding error and scored on a wild pitch, and Walls’ third hit of the game scored Flowers, who had singled.
In the fifth, Jacksonville extended the lead to 9-4 on a passed ball and RBI single. The Noles got one back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single from Rhett Aplin that scored Raleigh.
The Noles got a single run in the sixth on Walls’ third home run of the season and in the seventh on Lueck’s RBI single up the middle.
In the JU seventh, Haney worked out of trouble as the Dolphins had runners on first and third with one out. Connor Stephens and Dakota Julylia both proceeded to pop out to Walls at shortstop to end the frame and keep the score 9-6.
Both teams struck out the side in the eighth inning, and Carlton entered in the ninth and threw a perfect inning.
Down to the last three outs, the Seminoles used Raleigh’s home run to make it 9-8. Quincy Nieporte was hit by the next pitch and pinch run for by Hank Truluck. After Aplin flied out, Lueck’s single advanced Truluck to third and the bases were loaded when Dylan Busby was hit.
Matt Henderson, hitting for Derr after replacing him at second base in the top of the inning, struck out, setting the stage for Flowers’ heroics and FSU’s first walk-off win since Busby did so against Miami in last year’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
“I approach every at-bat the same,” Flowers said. “You feel like you have to do something, but you want to put you team in the best situation to win.”
Cassala (0-2) was also on the losing end of Florida State’s 6-5 win at Jacksonville last month. Carlton picked up the first save of his career in that game.
The win snaps a two-game skid for the Seminoles. FSU will hit the road again this weekend for a three-game series at Notre Dame beginning Friday at 6:05 p.m. All three games will stream live on ACC Network Extra (formerly ESPN3), while Eric Luallen will provide play-by-play on 106.1 FM in Tallahassee and nationwide on the FSU Gameday App.
– Raleigh’s home run was his third of the season, but first in Tallahassee. Raleigh also homered at Jacksonville on February 28 and at Virginia Tech last weekend.
– Taylor Walls set a season-high and tied his career-high with four hits today. He most recently accomplished the feat against Duke last year.
– Drew Carlton pitched a perfect ninth inning in picking up his first win of the season. Against the Dolphins in Jacksonville last month, he pitched a perfect eighth and ninth innings in earning his first career save.
– For the second time this season, FSU overcame a seven-run deficit. Against Oakland on March 3, the Noles trailed 7-0 after 3.5 innings and came back to win 18-10. Before that game, Florida State hadn’t won a game when trailing by that much since 2011 (down 10-3, won 18-12 at Virginia Tech).
– It was the first three-hit game of J.C. Flowers career. It was also Florida State’s first walk-off win since beating Miami in the 2016 ACC Tournament (Dylan Busby).
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).