TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Dylan Busby smacked two home runs and teammates Jackson Lueck, Cal Raleigh, Tyler Holton and Hayden Kelly added one home run each as Florida State posted an 18-6 win over South Alabama in the championship game of the Tallahassee Regional on Sunday evening on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The victory improves the Seminoles to 40-20 as they have now posted 40 wins in 39 consecutive seasons.
The Seminoles will travel to face the No. 1 overall seeded Florida Gators in Super Regional play at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., later this week. The dates and times for all eight Super Regionals will be announced when each of the 16 regionals have completed play.
Busby (3-6, 3 RBI), named Most Outstanding Player of the Tallahassee Regional, recorded two home runs and a double in the victory. It marks the third time this season he has recorded multiple home runs in the same game. During the regional, Busby finished 8-of-17 (.471 batting average) at the plate with eight RBI, seven runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and a 1.118 slugging percentage.
The remaining five Seminole hitters with multi-hit performances included John Sansone (3-5, 3 RBI, double), Taylor Walls (3-4, 2 RBI, 2 doubles), Quincy Nieporte (2-4, RBI), Raleigh (2-4, 2 RBI) and Lueck (2-4, 4 RBI, HR). The offensive explosion resulted in 19 hits, 10 extra base hits and the most home runs (six) in an NCAA postseason game by Florida State since the Seminoles recorded seven against South Alabama on June 1, 2003.
Florida State’s Cole Sands (6-6) wrapped up his best start of the season by limiting the South Alabama offense to two hits and one earned run over five innings. He tossed 69 pitches to the 18 Jaguar hitters he faced. After allowing a home run to the first batter he faced, Sands retired the next seven consecutive batters and did not allow another run.
South Alabama took a short-lived 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Travis Swaggerty lifted a 2-0 pitch over the right field wall for the opening run of the game.
Florida State retaliated in the top of the second with four runs.
A leadoff walk by Raleigh was followed by Busby’s team-leading 13th home run of the season giving the Seminoles to grab a 2-1 advantage.
Ben DeLuzio extended the second inning with a two-out walk. DeLuzio moved into scoring position after swiping his 15th stolen base of the season. Matt Henderson followed with a walk before Walls cleared the bases with a double down the right field line, extending the FSU lead to 4-1.
Florida State added seven runs in the third inning – an inning that saw the Seminoles hit three home runs.
Lueck gave the Seminoles a leadoff runner for the third straight inning when he earned a walk to open the inning. Raleigh quickly brought his teammate across the plate when he blasted his 10th home run of the season to right field, giving FSU a 6-1 edge. Busby continued the offensive onslaught when he hit his sixth home run since May 26th over the left field wall for a six-run advantage.
Nieporte collected his first hit, a single to left, as the Seminoles had their fourth straight hitter reach base. He was followed by Holton, who stretched the Florida State lead to 9-1 after lifting a 1-0 pitch over the right field fence.
Henderson kept the third inning alive with a one-out walk. He plated the 10th run of the game for the Noles two batters later when Sansone drove a double to left. Lueck recorded the seventh hit of inning for the Seminoles with a single up the middle that scored Sansone for an 11-1 lead.
Florida State had its third multi-run inning of the game in the top of the fifth, notching four runs on five hits.
Walls provided the first hit of the inning with his second double of the afternoon and moved to third with a single to right by Sansone. Lueck became the fourth different Seminole hitter to smack a home run when he sent a 1-1 pitch over the centerfield wall for the 14-1 advantage. The final run of the inning crossed the plate when a double to left by Busby was followed by an RBI single up the middle by Nieporte.
Florida State scored two more runs in the sixth inning.
Henderson became the eighth hitter in the FSU lineup to record a hit with a single up the middle. Walls followed with a single to right and both runners preceded to move up on a wild pitch by USA’s Avery Geyer. Sansone recorded his third hit of the game, a single up the middle, to bring home Walls and Henderson for a 17-1 advantage.
Florida State put its final run across in the seventh inning when Kelly hit the first home run his career over the right field fence. That blast was the Seminoles’ sixth of the game as they assumed an 18-1 lead.
South Alabama used four hits to put three runs across in the bottom of the eighth.
The Jaguars picked up their first run on a fielding error at second that allowed Jalen Haskin to score from third. Ryan Raspino followed with a double down the left field line, bringing home Swaggerty to make for an 18-3 game. Haskin represented the final run of the inning when he crossed the plate on a double to centerfield by Danny Martinez.
The Jaguars tacked on two runs in the ninth, making for the 18-6 final, on a two-run home run to left field by Ben Gann.
Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date with the Florida State Baseball team by following the official twitter page of the Seminoles (@FSUBaseball).