TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Drew Mendoza’s three-run home run in the eighth inning and J.C. Flowers’ fourth save of the year gave Florida State (15-5) a 9-6 win over Florida International (10-10) Wednesday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. Conor Grady earned his team-high third win of the year.
Four Seminole relievers combined to allow one earned run over 6.2 innings after Tyler Ahearn allowed four earned runs in his first career start. Mendoza’s team-high seventh home run cleared the right field fence off reliever Gio Soto (0-2).
FSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI double from Nander De Sedas, an RBI single from Jonathan Foster and an FIU error. De Sedas was one of four Seminole with two hits.
FIU starter Steven Casey made his first appearance of the season after Tommy John surgery. The sophomore did not allow a run in his inning of work. FSU’s four second-inning runs came against Greyson Fletcher.
The Panthers tied the score in the top of the third inning, scoring four runs against Ahearn. After allowing just one hit in the first two innings, Ahearn allowed a home run, a single and two walks (one intentional) before exiting. Clayton Kwiatkowski gave up a two-run double and a sacrifice fly before Javier Valdes struck out looking to end the third.
FIU took the lead in the fifth on a two-run home run from Austin Shenton off Kwiatkowski. Flowers got one FSU run back in the bottom of the fifth with his fifth home run of the season.
Will Saxton walked Reese Albert and Mendoza to start the sixth inning before being replaced by Angel Tiburcio. Hoping to advance the runners into scoring position, Cooper Swanson’s bunt was lined to first base. With Albert and Mendoza both running, the Panthers turned the triple play to get out of any trouble.
Austin Pollock started the sixth for FSU, allowing a hit and striking out three in 1.2 innings. Grady (3-1) ended the seventh forcing a lineout with a runner on first base.
The Noles tied the game in the bottom of the seventh as Robby Martin doubled to lead off and was eventually brought around to score on an Elijah Cabell groundout.
The tie didn’t last long as Mike Salvatore walked and Albert singled to put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Mendoza sent the fourth pitch he saw from Soto deep over the right field fence for a three-run shot, his seventh home run of the year.
Flowers allowed a walk and a single in the ninth, but forced Lorenzo Hampton, the tying run, to ground into a game-ending double play.
Florida State travels to Notre Dame (8-10, 4-2 ACC) for a three-game series in Indiana. It will be the first home games for the Fighting Irish this season. FSU swept Notre Dame in Frank Eck Stadium in 2017, with then-freshman Drew Parrish throwing his first complete game in the series finale.
The game will stream live on ACC Network Extra. Fans in Tallahassee can listen on the radio on 106.1 FM and nationwide on the FSU Gameday App.
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).