TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the third time in two days, Florida State (42-21) won an elimination game, this time an 8-7, 10-inning win over Auburn (37-25) on a walk-off hit by pitch of J.C. Flowers on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles and Tigers will play the final game of the regional Monday at 7:00 p.m., with the winner advancing to next weekend’s Super Regional.
The game appeared destined for a slugfest, with FSU leading 6-3 through three innings. But Auburn’s run in the eighth inning was the only other run scored before a wild ninth inning that saw Auburn score three runs to take a 7-6 lead and Florida State answer on Dylan Busby’s second triple of the season to score Taylor Walls. In the 10th, Auburn stranded a pair of runners, and Florida State loaded the bases on two walks and an infield single before Flowers was plunked to score Drew Mendoza.
Auburn’s first batter of the game, Jonah Todd, reached on a fielding error by Walls at shortstop and scored on Jay Estes’ sacrifice fly. FSU answered with an unearned run of its own in the bottom of the inning when Walls reached on a single, took second on an error by shortstop Will Holland and scored on Quincy Nieporte’s 72nd RBI of the season.
Nieporte finished with three hits on the day, including his 18th double of the season in the eighth inning before being replaced on the base path by Hank Truluck.
Auburn retook the lead in the second inning on Blake Logan’s RBI single, and FSU seemed to take control in the bottom of the inning with five runs, including three on Busby’s team-high 14th home of the year that gave FSU a 6-2 lead. Earlier in the inning, Tyler Holton had a two-run single that gave FSU the lead.
Back-to-back doubles in the third inning, the second by Estes, closed the lead to 6-3. Andrew Karp, FSU’s starting pitcher, settled down after the third inning, finishing with 6.2 innings pitched and three earned runs allowed. Auburn starter Davis Daniel lasted just one inning, giving up five hits and four runs.
Cole Lipscomb entered in the second inning and allowed Busby’s home run, but gave up just three more hits in 7.2 innings to keep the Tigers in the game. After walking Mendoza to open the third inning, Lipscomb retired 15 straight hitters before Nieporte’s double to start the eighth.
After an RBI single from Daniel Robert made it 6-4 in the seventh inning, Jim Voyles relieved Karp with a runner on second base. Voyles struck out Estes to end the inning, and needed just nine pitches in the eighth inning to keep FSU’s lead at 6-4 heading into the ninth inning.
The wild ninth inning started with three consecutive Auburn hits off Voyles, the third of which was an RBI single from Todd that made the score 6-5. Drew Carlton(4-4), who earned his sixth save of the year in the first game of the day against Tennessee Tech, came in and forced a dribbler back to the mound that appeared to catch Holland in a run down at the plate, but Cal Raleigh was called for catcher’s interference, loading the bases with no outs.
Carlton struck out the next two hitters. With a 1-2 count and all of Dick Howser Stadium on its feet, Josh Anthony hit a 1-2 pitch into center field to score Holland and Todd and give Auburn its first lead since the second inning.
Leading 7-6, Auburn recorded two quick outs and Florida State was twice down to its last strike. Walls drew a full count walk, and Busby tripled off the center field wall on a full count, scoring Walls and sending the remaining Howser fans into a frenzy. Busby was the last hitter Lipscomb would face, giving way to Andrew Mitchell (5-4), who stranded Busby at third when he struck out Jackson Lueck to end the inning.
Lipscomb finished with a season-high 7.2 innings pitched and a career-high 10 strikeouts.
Auburn left a pair of runners on in the tenth as Carlton worked around a second error from Walls’ and an intentional walk.
In the home half, Nick Derr (hitting for Truluck) struck out and Raleigh grounded out. But Mendoza and Matt Henderson each walked on nine total pitches, ending Mitchell’s day. Calvin Coker came in and gave up an infield single to Steven Wellsthat hit off Coker. On an 0-2 pitch, after a foul ball extended the at-bat, Flowers was hit for the 10th time this season, sending Mendoza and the Howser faithful home happy.
FSU and Auburn will play the final game of the Tallahassee Regional Monday at 7:00 p.m. The winner will advance to the Super Regional round next weekend against either Sam Houston State or Texas Tech.
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).