BATON ROUGE, La. – See you in Omaha!
Mike Martin’s favorite four words came to life as Florida State (41-21) defeated No. 13 National Seed LSU (40-26) 5-4 in a thrilling 12-inning game, punching the Seminoles ticket back to the College World Series for the 23rd time in school history.
Before Drew Mendoza’s walk-off single scored Mike Salvatore from second base, both teams got brilliant performances from its bullpens in the four hour, 13 minute affair. Antonio Velez (5-2) earned his second win of the Super Regional, striking out 6 batters in 4.2 innings without allowing a run. Devin Fontenot (5-4) struck out 11 in 6.1 innings and gave up just two hits – 12th inning singles to Salvatore and Mendoza.
The win guarantees that Martin will wrap his 40-year career in Omaha, his 17th appearance in the College World Series.
“Unbelievable. I don’t think anyone in this room, let alone this country would have put us in this place right now (into Omaha),” Drew Mendoza said following the game.
“We are all blessed, it’s been an incredible ride. We have always believed in each other and we just got on a roll and are going to keep it going.”
In a reversal from game one of the series, when FSU had to rally in the later innings to knock off the Tigers, FSU jumped to a 3-0 led in the second inning and a 4-1 through five innings before LSU clawed back.
In the 2nd inning the Seminoles got the scoring started as they loaded the bases after a walk to Robby Martin, a bunt single from J.C. Flowers, and a single up the middle from Carter Smith with nobody out.
Nander De Sedas got the Seminoles on the board as he grounded out to first. The return throw home was not held on to by the catcher, allowing Martin to score safely to give FSU a 1-0 lead against Landon Marceaux.
Later in the inning, Mat Nelson ripped a single to left field scoring Flowers and Salvatore, followed by a bloop single into center field scoring Smith, as FSU extended the lead to 3-0.
LSU cut into the FSU lead in the 4th inning with a solo home run from Antoine Duplantis off CJ Van Eyk down the right field line. The ball appeared to curl foul before passing the foul pole, but the call was upheld on review to make it 3-1.
Duplantis finished 4-for-6 Sunday with a pair of singles, a double and a home run. He is the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in hits with 359.
In the bottom of the inning, the Seminoles answered back as Nelson singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tim Becker did what he’s done all post-season and brought Nelson home with a scorching double to left field, giving FSU a 4-1 lead.
In the 6th inning, LSU scratched another run across after three straight singles to make it 4-2. Van Eyk buckled down and was able to limit the damage to get out of the inning with the Noles up a pair. Nelson picked off Giovanni DiGiacomo at third base to help limit the damage to just one run in the frame.
In the 8th inning, the Tigers were able to push two runs across with RBI singles from Duplantis and Zach Watson to tie the game at 4-4 against Van Eyk. Watson was out at second base on his game-tying single, again helping thwart more LSU runs.
Neither team could muster the go-ahead run as the game went into extra innings and the Seminoles brought Velez in.
The lefty was nearly untouchable in four and two-thirds innings of relief. The junior gave up just four hits and no runs, while striking out six batters on 64 total pitches.
In the bottom of the 12th inning, Salvatore laced a one-out single to center field and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
After a strikeout by Reese Albert, Mendoza ripped a two-strike offering from Fontenot into right-center field to clinch the game as the Seminoles are headed to Omaha for the 23rd time in school history.
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).