TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State freshman pitcher Tyler Holton won his first career postseason starting assignment and sophomore Steven Wells, Jr., hit his first home run of the season to lead the top-seeded Seminoles to a 7-2 victory over second-seeded Southern Miss on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium in winner’s bracket game in the NCAA Tallahassee Baseball Regional.
The win advanced the Seminoles to the championship round of the Tallahassee Regional. Florida State will face the winner of Sunday’s matinee between South Alabama and Southern Miss at 6 p.m. Sunday. Should the Seminoles win Sunday night’s game they will capture the regional championship and advance to next weekend’s Super Regional.
Holton (3-3) allowed two runs, two walks and struck out six Golden Eagle hitters in 5.2 innings on the mound. Both of the hits and walks came in the first inning before the Tallahassee, Fla., native found his rhythm and retired 14 of the next 16 USM batters he faced.
Holton was followed on the mound by Jim Voyles, who limited the Southern Miss hitters to one hit and two walks over 3.1 innings. Voyles, who notched his second save of the season, faced 11 batters and made 33 pitches to close out the five-run victory.
Holton and Voyles combined to hold Southern Miss to zero runs on only two hits after the first inning. After their first two batters reached base and scored the first two runs of the game, the two Seminole pitchers allowed only three runners to advance as far as second base and held the final 31 batters off the game for the Golden Eagles off of the scoreboard.
Lueck, who finished 2-for-5 from the plate with two RBI, posted his third home run of the season. Joining him with multiple RBI were Steven Wells Jr. (1-3, 2 RBI), who connected on his second career home run, and Matt Henderson (1-3), who came through with a single in the fifth to record his third two-RBI outing of the campaign.
FSU also received a solid performance from John Sansone, who capped off his 30th multi-hit game of the season by going 3-for-4 from the plate and scoring one run.
USM’s offense applied pressure to Holton in the first inning with two walks and a single by Jake Sandlin which loaded the bases for cleanup hitter Chase Scott. Scott brought home Dylan Burdeaux for the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly to left. Two batters later, teammate Hunter Slater delivered a two-out single to right field, scoring Sandlin as Southern Miss grabbed the 2-0 advantage.
Dylan Busby set the FSU offense in motion in the second inning with a leadoff double down the left field line. Two batters later, Ben DeLuzio joined Busby on the base paths after drawing a one-out walk to put runners at first and second. Wells Jr. delivered the key hit of the game for the Seminoles with a three-run home run to left field, as FSU assumed the 3-2 lead.
The Seminoles extended their lead to two runs in the third inning after Cal Raleigh led off the frame with a walk. Quincy Nieporte moved Raleigh into scoring position with a single up the middle before the Noles loaded the bases with a walk by Wells. A walk issued to Henderson by USM pitcher Jake Winston brought Raleigh home from third for the 4-2 FSU lead.
DeLuzio manufactured another Seminole run in the fifth inning after drawing a one-out walk. He motored to second base on his 14th steal of the campaign before Henderson dropped a single into left field, scoring the speedy DeLuzio from second as FSU forged ahead 5-2.
Sansone put a leadoff runner on base for the Noles the fourth time when he was hit by a pitch to open the sixth. Lueck followed with a two-run home run to left field, stretching the lead to 7-2.
Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date with the Florida State Baseball team by following the official twitter page of the Seminoles (@FSUBaseball).