TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 8 Florida State (18-4) completed a midweek sweep of No. 21 UCF (17-6), beating the Knights 13-3 Wednesday afternoon on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. Nick Derr and Drew Mendoza hit late home runs, Jonah Scolaro worked out of a bases loaded, no out situation and FSU moved to 16-1 in Tallahassee this year.
#NOLES sweep the Knights!
WP: Kwiatkowski (3-0)
LP: Ward (2-2)
FSU heads to Chapel Hill this weekend to face the Tar Heels. pic.twitter.com/ehkeJoCEns
— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) March 21, 2018
“We took advantage of mistakes that you don’t expect from UCF,” head coach Mike Martin said. “We got lucky. We picked up some obvious key hits, but they kept getting out of trouble early.
“It was a very good two games for our program. We’re very pleased we were able to get it done. Still got a long way to go, but we got it done.”
Freshman pitcher CJ Van Eyk made the first start of his career, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing all three UCF runs. The bullpen, featuring Clayton Kwiatkowski (3-0), Cobi Johnson, Jonah Scolaro and Gage Hutchinson, pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five hits, 10 strikeouts and zero runs.
Derr led off for the second straight game, going 2-for-6 with a career high four RBI, the final three of which came on a seventh-inning home run. Derr has four home runs this season and three in the past four games and is in the midst of a career-long five-game hitting streak.
Rhett Aplin, Cal Raleigh and Mendoza also had two hits. Mendoza hit his third home run of the season, all coming in the past six games. He is hitting a team high .450 on the year with a .515 on-base percentage. He has a 14-game hitting streak and a nine-game streak with an extra base hit.
UCF struck for two runs in the top of the first on Tyler Osik’s two-run double off Van Eyk. The freshman hurler settled in and recorded back-to-back groundouts to end the inning. FSU responded in the bottom of the frame on Aplin’s RBI double, Mendoza’s sacrifice fly and Rafael Bournigal’s RBI double to give the Noles a 3-2 lead through the first.
UCF tied the score on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, but FSU took the lead for good on Mike Salvatore’s RBI single to score J.C. Flowers. UCF pitcher Thad Ward (2-2) allowed four runs in five innings with eight strikeouts.
FSU scored nine runs over its final three innings. Jackson Lueck had a two-run single in the sixth, Derr’s home run highlighted a four-run seventh and Mendoza homered in the eighth inning on the second pitch of reliever Jack Sinclair’s outing.
Kwiatkowski allowed two hits in 2.2 innings, recording five strikeouts. Johnson allowed two hits and a walk to load the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh of a 7-3 game when the Noles turned to Scolaro. Making his team-high 12th appearance on the year, Scolaro struck out Brody Wofford, Dallas Beaver and Dalton Wingo, all looking, to preserve FSU’s four-run advantage.
“Jonah has been called on a number of times this year to get us in the dugout,” Martin said. “He just enjoys competition. He comes from a baseball background that is not intimidated by anything. I was very, very pleased with Jonah and the way [pitching coach] Mike Bell handled that situation.”
Mike Salvatore broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single to score J.C. Flowers in the bottom of the fourth inning.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,962nd of his career. He needs just 14 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently only trails the late Augie Garrido (1,975 wins). Martin is 37-6 against UCF.
Florida State heads to Chapel Hill for a three-game series with North Carolina. All three games will stream on the ACC Network Extra and Eric Luallen will be on the radio in Tallahassee on 106.1 FM and nationwide through 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).