TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State beat Xavier 7-2 in game two of the season-opening series Saturday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. Junior pitcher Cole Sands (1-0) retired 15 of his last 16 hitters faced and had a career-high nine strikeouts, while Rafael Bournigal’s three-run double broke the game open in the fifth inning. Freshman Austin Pollock pitched the final four innings to earn the save. FSU improved to 2-0 on the year, while the Musketeers fell to 0-2.
“A lot of keys to the ballgame, but the main one for us was our pitching,” head coach Mike Martin said. “[Pitching coach] Mike Bell has done a tremendous job with our pitchers. Cole Sands had a great outing, his numbers were impressive. The freshman (Pollock) came in, had his chance and had a very successful outing.”
Xavier got hits from each of its first three batters to open the game off Sands and had a 2-0 lead before the Seminoles came to bat. The Musketeers did not get another hit off the Tallahassee native, who allowed just one batter to reach base (on an error) over his final four innings.
The Noles got one run back in the bottom of the first when leadoff man Mike Salvatore walked, stole second and scored on Rhett Aplin’s double off the rightfield wall. FSU tied the game in the third on Salvatore’s second run of the game after Cal Raleigh’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.
J.C. Flowers opened the fourth inning with his second double of the year and scored on Salvatore’s sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, Raleigh dropped a two-out bunt single to extend the inning, followed by a Nick Derr walk and a Flowers single. Bournigal, a graduate transfer from Belmont, cleared the bases with a three-run double, extending FSU’s lead to 6-2.
Jackson Lueck added an RBI double in the sixth inning off Xavier reliever Matt Kent. Musketeer starting pitcher Nick Zwack (0-1) allowed three runs and five walks over 3.1 innings.
Pollock, also from Tallahassee, pitched the final four innings in relief of Sands, allowing three hits and striking out five hitters to earn the four-inning save.
Mike Salvatore’s sacrifice fly in the fourth inning broke a 2-2 tie, scoring J.C. Flowers from third. Salvatore finished 1-for-2 on the day with a single and two walks. The junior college transfer has four walks over the first two games of the season.
– Junior Cole Sands set a career high with nine strikeouts in just five innings. His previous high of eight came in the 2017 ACC Tournament semifinals against Duke.
– True freshman Austin Pollock made his first appearance in relief of Sands. Because he pitched the final four innings of the game, Pollock is just the second current Seminole with a save in his career (Ed Voyles has one).
– Sands and Pollock combined for 14 strikeouts, the second consecutive game the Seminole pitching staff recorded 14 strikeouts.
– J.C. Flowers hit his second double of the season to open the fourth inning. Flowers had four doubles all of 2017.
– Flowers recorded FSU’s first outfield assist of the season. Ryan Altenberger attempted to score from first on a double by Conor Grammes, but Flowers played the ball off the wall, threw to Mike Salvatore who finished the play with a perfect throw to catcher Cal Raleigh.
– In the leadoff spot, Salvatore registered two more walks today and has four on the season. In the sixth, he notched his first career hit and had his first RBI on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,946th of his career. He needs just 30 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently trails only Augie Garrido (1,975 wins).
Sunday’s game three between FSU and Xavier will begin at 1:00 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. Sophomore lefthander Drew Parrish will pitch for the Noles, while Xavier will throw senior righthander Damien Richard.
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).