TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A ninth-inning rally by Florida State came up short Tuesday as the Seminoles (14-5) fell to UCF (15-6) 9-7 on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.
FSU outhit the Knights, 11-10, but all 11 hits were singles and the Seminoles left 15 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Mike Salvatore, Elijah Cabell and Nander De Sedas each had two hits, while Cooper Swanson drew four of FSU’s 10 walks.
Florida State took the lead off Jordan Spicer in the first inning with two walks and two singles, scoring on a bases loaded free pass to Nico Baldor. The Seminoles added two more singles in the second inning but could not scratch another run across.
The Knights answered in the fourth inning against Antonio Velez (2-1). Ray Alejo reached on an error and scored on Tyler Osik’s single to tie the game. Osik scored on Matthew Mika’s double to center field, but Velez forced three outs to limit the Knights lead to one.
FSU hit three singles off Spicer in the fourth inning and Reese Albert drew the second bases-loaded walk of the game. That ended Spicer’s night, with the right-hander throwing 3.1 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits. Jack Sinclair (3-2) entered in relief and balked a run in as FSU retook the lead, 3-2.
UCF took control in the fifth inning, scoring six runs on five hits and FSU’s second error of the game. Velez lasted 4.1 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits.
Freshman Nander De Sedas hit a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth, and Reese Albert added a sacrifice fly to cut the Knights’ lead to 8-6.
Relief pitcher Chase Haney held the Knights scoreless over the final three innings, tying career-highs with 3.2 innings pitched and four strikeouts. The Winter Garden, Fla., native faced the minimum 11 batters.
Another sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth put the score at 9-6, which held until the bottom of the ninth. Swanson walked, pinch hitter Robby Martin singled and Salvatore walked to load the bases with one out. After Albert’s RBI walk, Kyle Kemp secured his first save of the year by striking out Drew Mendoza and Elijah Cabell, ending the Noles’ rally.
UCF’s top four hitters combined for seven hits and seven RBI, while five UCF pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.
Florida State hosts FIU Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. The Seminoles and Panthers have not played since 2012, and FSU leads the all-time series 16-6. Tyler Ahearn will get his first career start for the Seminoles.
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).