TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 5 Florida State extended its season-opening win streak to 10 games, beating UNC Asheville 4-3 Saturday evening in front of 4,717 fans at Dick Howser Stadium. Third baseman Drew Mendoza set a career high with four hits, the last of which was a walk-off single in the ninth inning against Asheville (2-7) reliever Nick Boyles.
WALK-OFF keeps the #Noles undefeated!!!
WP: Grady (2-0)
LP: Tressler (0-1)
Looking for the sweep tomorrow at 1 pm. pic.twitter.com/zMMIOucZuc
— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) March 4, 2018
“It was a big win for us because it could have been a big loss,” head coach Mike Martin said. “I’m very proud of so much. No errors on either side which made for an excellent ball game. That was a good game to watch.”
Mendoza finished 4-for-5 in the game with three RBI. Over the first two games of the series, Mendoza is hitting 7-for-9 with two doubles and five RBI and is now hitting a team high .465.
Conor Grady (2-0) earned his second win after pitching out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the top of the ninth inning. With the score tied 3-3, Grady entered in relief of Clayton Kwiatkowski with runners on the corners. Chris Troost singled on a bunt to third base before Grady struck out two hitters and forced an inning-ending groundout.
“Here’s a freshman pitching in an environment that is just fantastic and he’s in total control of his emotions,” Martin said. “He’s hitting his spots and coach Mike Bell did a great job of calling the game.”
“(Grady) was amazing,” starting pitcher Drew Parrish said. “He showed a lot of composure out there and he did his job. I’m happy for him. That’s a tough situation to work out of. Not many people can do that.”
Ethan Tressler (0-1) walked Rhett Aplin and Cal Raleigh before Mendoza’s single against Boyles. Mendoza also had a walk-off single last Saturday against Troy.
Parrish pitched 5.2 innings, allowing just one hit and three walks while striking out nine. Parrish left with runners on the corners in the sixth inning and freshman Jonah Scolaro forced a bases loaded fly out to keep Asheville scoreless.
“Feeding off the energy of (our other starting pitchers) fires me up and makes me want to compete as hard as they do,” Parrish said.
For the seventh time this year, FSU scored in the first inning, plating a pair against UNC Asheville starter Greg Gasparro. FSU’s first three hitters reached via a walk, base hit and a walk. Raleigh grounded into a double play to score leadoff hitter Mike Salvatore. Mendoza beat the defensive shift, singling through the left side to score Jackson Lueck and double FSU’s lead.
In the fifth inning, Mendoza singled to score Lueck again and gave FSU a 3-0 lead. Gasparro went 4.2 innings, allowing five hits (all to Lueck and Mendoza), five walks and a strikeout.
Lueck finished 3-for-5 on the day, while Aplin and Steven Wells each set career highs with three walks.
Asheville tied the game in the seventh with three runs against reliever Gage Hutchinson before Kwiatkowski and Grady combined for scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
After Rhett Aplin and Cal Raleigh drew walks against UNC Asheville reliever Ethan Tressler, Drew Mendoza was the first batter against new pitcher Nick Boyles. Mendoza singled to center for his fourth hit of the game (a career high), scoring Aplin from second base.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,954th of his career. He needs just 22 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently trails only Augie Garrido (1,975 wins). Martin is now 23-1 against UNC Asheville.
Florida State and UNC Asheville square off for the final game of the series Sunday at 1:00 p.m. FSU freshman Austin Pollock (1-0, 0.90 ERA) takes the mound.
All three games this weekend can be heard on 106.1 FM in Tallahassee and nationwide on the FSU Gameday App. All three will also stream live on the ACC Network Extra.
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).