LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Behind 16 hits, including a pair of home runs from freshman catcher Mat Nelson, Florida State (35-19, 17-12 ACC) beat No. 8 Louisville (42-13, 20-9) 14-3 Friday evening at Patterson Stadium. Mike Salvatore added four hits and J.C. Flowers reached in five plate appearances, while pitcher CJ Van Eyk improved to 8-3 on the year.
The Seminoles chased Louisville starter Nick Bennett (6-3) in a five-run third inning that gave FSU all the runs it would need. FSU’s 16 hits were its most in a road game since 2017.
Nelson is hitting .283 this season and .362 since the beginning of April. Friday’s home runs were the first two of his young career away from Dick Howser Stadium. Salvatore tied a career high with four hits and reached base five times Friday; Flowers had a pair of singles and drew three walks.
Van Eyk struck out eight batters in six innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs on 111 pitches. Jonah Scolaro pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit to earn his second save of the season.
Van Eyk worked around a hectic first inning and allowed just one run after the Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs. Louisville led off with a double, a hit by pitch and a walk and scored when Danny Oriente was hit by a pitch to score Lucas Dunn.
Nelson’s first home run against Bennett tied the game in the top of the second.
The Noles exploded for five runs on six hits in the third against Bennett, chasing the left-hander after nine hits and six earned runs, both career highs. Elijah Cabell and Salvatore led off the inning with singles and Reese Albert’s groundout gave FSU its first lead of the series at 2-1.
Drew Mendoza followed with his second triple of the season; Robby Martin singled to score Mendoza; and Nelson hit his second home run of the game and sixth of the season for a 6-1 lead. After Flowers walked and Nander De Sedas singled, Luke Smith relieved Bennett and recorded a pair of outs to get out of the inning.
After the Cards added two runs on Zach Britton’s home run and back-to-back doubles in the fourth, FSU responded with three in the top of the fifth against Smith. Pinch-hitter Carter Smith singled to score Nelson (hit by pitch) and Flowers (walk). Salvatore singled to score Smith and push FSU’s lead to 9-3.
Martin added his second RBI single in the eighth to score Mendoza. Martin was 3-for-6 Friday with three RBI and leads FSU with 49 on the year.
Scolaro shut down the Cardinals over the final three innings, striking out four and giving up just one walk and he hit one batter.
FSU scored three runs in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth against the Louisville bullpen. FSU’s 14 runs scored were its most in a road game this season, matching its 14 runs at Virginia on April 18.
Louisville leadoff hitter Lucas Dunn had three of the Cardinals six hits. Cleanup hitter Alex Binelas, who hit two home runs in Thursday’s series opener, was 0-for-4 Friday with four strikeouts.
The series finale between FSU and Louisville is Saturday at 1:00 p.m. It is the final game of the regular season before the ACC Championship begins in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday.
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