May 3, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fourth-ranked Florida State (34-11) erased a one-run, ninth inning deficit plating two runs in the bottom of the inning highlighted by John Nogowski’s walk-off single through the left side as the Seminoles defeated Minnesota (22-17) 5-4 in game one of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Minnesota scored three runs in the top of the ninth off reliever Gage Smith to grab a 4-3 advantage. The Golden Gophers loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and a walk. After a groundout to first by Connor Schaefbauer plated a run, Tony Skjefte followed with a two-run double down the line in left as Minnesota regained the lead for the second time on the afternoon.
The Seminoles would not go quietly in the bottom of the inning as Josh Delph reached to open the inning as he was hit by a pitch from Dalton Sawyer (3-4). After a sac-bunt by Brett Knief moved Delph to second, the Bartow, Fla., native scored the tying run as DJ Stewart sent a single back up the middle. Stewart took second on the throw from centerfield, stole third and scored the winning run as Nogowski singled through the left side of the infield for his first career walk-off hit.
The win marked FSU’s third walk-off victory of the season and first in nine innings. The ninth inning come-from-behind victory also kept the Seminoles unbeaten when leading after eight innings as the Garnet and Gold improved to 29-0 on the year.
Nogowski and Jose Brizuela paced the Seminole offense with three hits apiece to tie career-highs. Brizuela registered two singles and a double, while Nogowski drove in two runs with three singles.
Ben DeLuzio finished with two hits including a double that plated two with two outs in the sixth that broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth. Stewart went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. His double in the fourth extended his streak of reaching base to 65 consecutive games.
FSU starter Luke Weaver left Saturday’s first game earlier this expected after taking a line drive off the right leg from Minnesota designated hitter Jake Bergren. Weaver would not factor into the decision as he allowed a run on four hits while striking out two in 4.1 innings of work.
Billy Strode came on in relief and shut down the Golden Gophers for 3.2 innings. The junior southpaw scattered just one hit over that span as he walked three and struck out four.
Strode worked out of jams in the sixth and seventh innings as Minnesota stranded a pair of runners in both innings. With runners at the corners in the sixth, Strode got pinch hitter Troy Traxler looking at a called third strike to retire the side. An inning later, the Gophers had runners at the corners with two outs but Strode forced Skjefte to fly out to right to end the threat.
Alec Byrd (1-0) came in to record the final out in the top of the ninth getting Dan Olinger swinging on strikes to register his first career win. Byrd replaced Smith, who left with tightness in his back.
Sawyer suffered the loss for the Golden Gophers as the sophomore southpaw gave up two runs, both in the ninth, on four hits and a walk in 2.2 innings of work.
Minnesota got off to a quick start in game one of the doubleheader as three of the first four batters to the plate in the top of the first registered a base hit off Weaver. With the bases loaded, Bobby Juan plated the first run of the ball game sending a sac-fly to right to bring home Schaefbauer from third to give the Golden Gophers an early 1-0 lead.
The Seminoles tied the game at one in the fourth on an RBI single up the middle by Nogowski. Stewart registered a one-out double off the wall in right center and scored a batter later on Nogowski’s run scoring single.
Florida State grabbed its first lead of the game in the sixth on a two-out two-run double by DeLuzio. The first two batters in the inning reached as Nogowski singled down the line in left and moved to third as Brizuela knocked a double off the screen in right center. Crawford came within one strike of getting out of the jam but DeLuzio laced a double down the line in left scoring Nogowski and Brizuela to give FSU a 3-1 lead.
Game two of the doubleheader will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Mike Martin Field insider Dick Howser Stadium in Military Appreciation Day at the ball park.