JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida State’s Cal Raleigh connected on his fourth home run of the season and Quincy Nieporte added an RBI single in the eighth inning, but Buddy Reed’s RBI triple in the third inning proved to be the difference for Florida (24-3) as the Gators emerged with a 3-2 victory over the Seminoles (18-6) on Tuesday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
The Seminole offense was highlighted by the combination of Raleigh (1-2, RBI), Nieporte (1-4, RBI), Darren Miller (2-4, 2 doubles) and Jackson Lueck (2-4, double).
Florida State sent six pitchers to the mound, including Drew Carlton (4-1), who took his first loss of the season after surrendering two earned runs, two hits and converting three strikeouts in two innings.
The Seminole bullpen was solid in relief of Carlton but the one run allowed turned out to be the difference in the game. In all, FSU’s five relievers struck out six Florida batters as they held the offense to three hits and one run over the final six frames.
“We had a couple of opportunities, but you have to credit Florida because they did an impressive job of making pitches when they needed to,” said head coach Mike Martin. “A prime example is when we had a man on third, with the middle part of our lineup, and they got out of the inning with two strikeouts.”
Raleigh provided the offense early for the Seminoles when he lifted the first Jackson Kowar pitch that he saw over the right field wall. He became the third Florida State hitter this season, along with John Sansone and Dylan Busby, to hit home runs in consecutive games after leaving the yard against NC State on Friday evening.
Deacon Liput led off the second inning with a single into centerfield for the Gators and Mike Rivera countered Raleigh’s solo shot with a two-run home run over the right field wall to provide Florida with the 2-1 advantage.
Jonathan India drew a walk to open the third inning and moved into second on a steal. India came home two batters later when Reed tripled into the right field corner to make for a 3-1 Gator lead.
Florida State briefly threatened in the fourth inning with a two-out hit by Lueck. That was followed by a double to right field by Miller. Lueck tried to score on the play but was tagged out at the plate on a relay throw from Dalton Guthrie.
Sansone sparked the Florida State lineup in the top of the eighth when he reached on an error at second base. Following a passed ball and a grounder to first in Raleigh’s at-bat, Sansone moved to third with one out. Two batters later Nieporte blooped a two-out single into shallow centerfield to plate Sansone and make for the 3-2 final margin.
Kowar (3-0) emerged with the win for Florida after allowing one earned run over five innings. He limited the Seminoles to one walk and notched four strikeouts before giving way to reliever Brady Singer.
Singer tossed three innings and yielded one run on two hits while striking out three FSU batters. Shaun Anderson (S, 4) closed the door on the Seminole ninth inning.
The Seminoles return to action on Friday, April 1, at 2:30 p.m. when they play the first of three games against Boston College. The series includes meetings with the Eagles on Saturday (1:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).
Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date on FSU baseball by following the official twitter page of the Seminoles (@FSUBaseball).