TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On a rainy day that saw a consistent rain throughout much of the game, Florida State (4-0) beat USF (1-3) 5-2 Tuesday evening at Dick Howser Stadium. Starting pitcher Andrew Karp allowed just one run in five innings and Steven Wells’ double inside the left field line sparked a four-run eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie.
“As a coach, the first thing you see is, ‘How did we perform in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings,” head coach Mike Martin said. “I thought we performed with great effort in control of our emotions. Our pitchers pitched with poise and we did what we needed to do to get the job done.”
Karp, making his first start and second appearance of the season, allowed a run on four hits in five innings, walking one and striking out six. Last season, Karp threw seven shutout innings against the Bulls, striking out nine.
FSU scored in the first inning for the fourth time this season to take a 1-0 lead. Mike Salvatore led off with a walk and has reached base to open the game in all four contests this year. Rhett Aplin hit a one-out single that moved Salvatore to third; Cal Raleigh walked to load the bases; and Drew Mendoza singled to score Salvatore.
USF answered in the top of the second before five straight scoreless innings. Carson Ragsdale doubled to open the inning and moved to third on Mendoza’s throwing error at third base. Ragsdale scored the unearned run that tied the game on leftfielder Chris Chatfield’s single.
FSU left runners on from the second to sixth innings without scoring a run, but Karp and reliever Clayton Kwiatkowski held the Bulls scoreless through that same time frame. Kwiatkowski pitched the sixth and seventh innings, allowing two hits and a walk but striking out three hitters.
Freshman Conor Grady (1-0), after striking out five of six Xavier hitters on Sunday, pitched the eighth inning. Grady walked David Villar and had a 3-0 count on Ragsdale before forced a groundout to Mendoza at third base. Mendoza got Ragsdale at first, and Aplin fired back across the diamond in time to get Villar hoping to go first to third. With two outs, Grady struck out Coco Montes to end the inning.
“When [Villar] came around second, I just saw him out of the corner of my eye,” Mendoza said. “Rhett put the throw on the money. I wasn’t expecting that, but it definitely worked out…it brought our fans and the team back into the game.”
In the bottom of the eighth, Nick Derr battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk before Wells’ double down the left field line made the score 2-1. Salvatore reached on a throwing error by USF pitcher Kevin King (0-1) that allowed Wells to score and double the lead. Jackson Lueck and Aplin walked to load the bases, Raleigh was hit by a pitch to make the score 4-1 and Mendoza drew a four-pitch walk to make the score 5-1.
“I was just trying to get it to the next guy,” Wells said. “I ended up getting a hitters count, fastball down and in, put a good swing on it and it worked out.”
In the top of the ninth, Gage Hutchinson made his first appearance as a Seminole, walking the leadoff batter. Jonah Scolaro finished the game, allowing a hit, walk and striking out two batters as USF managed just one run in the frame.
USF starter Alec Wisely went two innings, allowing one run. Wisely also was the Bulls leadoff hitter, finishing 0-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
After Steven Wells’ double scored Nick Derr to give FSU a 2-1 lead, Mike Salvatore reached on a throwing error by pitcher Kevin King, allowing Wells to score from second base and extend FSU’s lead to 3-1.
– FSU pitching struck out 12 hitters on Tuesday. Through four games this season, FSU has struck out 55 hitters and walked just six.
– Drew Mendoza finished 2-for-3 with two walks and two RBI.
– Mike Salvatore has reached base to open a game all four games this season (three walks and an HBP).
– Over the past two seasons, Andrew Karp has 15 strikeouts in 12 innings against the Bulls.
– FSU hitters drew 12 walks and struck out six times. The Seminoles have more walks than hits in all four games this year.
– Head coach Mike Martin said starting pitcher Tyler Holton will be re-evaluated Wednesday or Thursday after leaving last Friday’s game in the fifth inning.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,948th of his career. He needs just 28 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently trails only Augie Garrido (1,975 wins).
The Seminoles host Troy for a three-game series beginning Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. Saturday and Sunday’s games will start at 1:00 p.m. All three games can be seen on the ACC Network Extra.