CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Quincy Nieporte and Jackson Lueck each had home runs Saturday, but Miami got a walk-off run in the 10th inning to beat Florida State, 5-4, Saturday evening at Mark Light Field. Each team had just five hits in the game, but a crucial error in the 10thsnapped FSU’s four-game win streak.
“Tyler Holton was good, our bullpen was good,” head coach Mike Martin said. “We got some big hits from Quincy and Jackson…we’re just ready to get after it tomorrow.”
After being robbed of a home run in the second inning of Friday’s game, Nieporte led off the second with a no-doubter off Miami starter Michael Mediavilla to give FSU a 1-0 lead. His eight home runs are tied with Dylan Busby for the team lead.
In the third inning, Nieporte netted two more RBI on a bases loaded single that pushed FSU’s lead to 3-0. J.C. Flowers walked, Taylor Walls singled and Lueck walked before Nieporte’s 46th and 47th RBI of the season.
Miami’s Michael Burns gave the Hurricanes a lead in the bottom of the inning with a one-out grand slam. FSU starter Tyler Holton had retired the first seven Miami hitters, but a single, walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases for Burns’ slam. It was the first grand slam allowed by the Seminoles this season.
Both pitchers settled in after that. Holton exited in the seventh inning after 6.1 innings, allowing three hits and four runs, walking three and striking out five. Mediavilla went a season-high 6.2 innings and struck out 10 batters.
After Burns’ slam, neither team scored until Lueck’s solo home run off Miami reliever Andrew Cabezas (1-2) to open the eighth inning, tying the game at 4-4. The opposite field home run was Lueck’s fourth of the season.
Chase Haney entered with a runner on second and one out in the seventh before forcing a groundout and striking out Randy Batista. Haney allowed a double in the ninth before giving way to Alec Byrd.
And, lest anyone think the Seminoles take themselves too seriously, there may not have been a looser, more fun-loving team in the nation – as evidenced by the dancing and singing and joking throughout the dugout all year.
But for as much joy as the game brings, it can turn just as cruel in an instant.
“I definitely thought we had it,” Alameda said. “We showed a lot of grit and we worked for it…. We’ve done everything possible to fight.”
She’s right about that.
The fateful sixth inning came only after the Seminoles rallied from a 5-1 deficit, with seniors Cooper and Alex Powers leading the offensive charge.
And even after the deflating sixth – Cooper followed with a sacrifice fly and Powers with a groundout to the pitcher – the Seminoles still put a scare in the Tigers in the seventh.
Sydney Broderick led off with a single, then pinch-runner Leslie Farris advanced to second on a wild pitch. When Carsyn Gordon lined a base hit to center field, the Seminoles appeared to have another golden opportunity – runners on the corners, no outs and mounting pressure in the LSU dugout.
Instead, Gordon tried to stretch her single into a double and was thrown out at second base.
Cali Harrod and Dani Morgan then followed up with a pair of fly balls – Morgan might have just missed a home run swing – and, in a startling instant, FSU’s rally was over.
“It’s all you can ask for in those situations,” Cooper said. “Our goal was to just win pitches and fight, pitch by pitch. We were in the right situations at the right time with the right people at the plate.”
Which was of little comfort in the moments after the game.
FSU’s seniors will one day be able to look back on their careers with pride over what they’ve accomplished, including a pair of WCWS trips and Florida State’s emergence as the standard bearer in the ACC.
And the Seminoles’ underclassmen will in a few weeks turn their attention toward next season. With Warren back in the fold, as well as the continued development of players such as Morgan, catcher Anna Shelnutt and pitcher Meghan King, FSU should once again field a formidable lineup.
They’ll further those seniors’ legacy by continuing to do things the way they did – with dedicated preparation and a commitment to playing the game the right way.
And when that opportunity knocks again, they’ll believe that a better outcome is in store.
Byrd struck out James Davison and Nico Baldor to end the ninth and force extra innings.
In the tenth, Busby dropped a bunt single down the third base line, but was stranded. In the bottom of the inning, Byrd (2-2) gave up an infield single to Brandon Gali before exiting in favor of Drew Carlton.
After Gali stole second base, Walls’ errant throw on a grounder from Burns allowed Gali to score the winning run.
Cabezas went 3.1 innings in relief, allowing a run on two hits while striking out four.
The error was FSU’s first of the series.
For the Seminoles, all five hits came from their first four hitters, with Nieporte the only Seminole with two. FSU batters struck out a season-high 14 times.
Sunday’s rubber match pits Drew Parrish (3-2, 4.98 ERA) against Miami’s Gregory Veliz (3-2, 2.41 ERA). The game will start at 12:00 p.m., one hour earlier than originally scheduled due to inclement weather scheduled for later in the afternoon.
It will stream on ACC Network Extra on WatchESPN, while Eric Luallen will provide play-by-play audio on 106.1 FM in Tallahassee and nationwide on the FSU Gameday App.
– Quincy Nieporte’s second-inning home run was his eighth of the season, tying Dylan Busby for the team lead. It’s also his most in a season, passing the seven he hit in 2015. He has 20 career home runs.
– Nieporte’s home run was the ninth straight game FSU has hit a home run, the Noles longest streak since a nine-game run in 2010 from May 27-June 13.
– The loss was FSU’s first walk-off loss since allowing a three-run home run to Kenny Towns of Virginia on May 25, 2013.
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).