TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State (41-21) won its second elimination game of the Tallahassee Regional, beating Tennessee Tech 5-3 Sunday afternoon on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. FSU got six of its 11 hits from the 6-9 slots in the lineup, and Alec Byrd improved to 4-2 after allowing one run in 2.2 innings of relief.
Tennessee Tech (41-21) twice took one run leads and FSU immediately answered to tie the game. In the second inning, after a two-hour, 25-minute rain delay, FSU starter Cole Sands walked Ryan Flick, Chris Brown singled off the right field wall, and Matt Jones was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A bases loaded walk to Collin Harris, the nine-hole hitter, gave the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead. Sands answered with a strike out of Alex Junior.
Florida State, the away team by virtue of a coin toss Saturday evening, tied the game in the top of the third inning. Dylan Busby walked, moved to second on a balk by Tech’s Ethan Roberts (1-4), and scored on Jackson Lueck’s RBI single. Evan Fraliex, the Tennessee Tech starting pitcher, allowed three hits in two innings and did not return after the rain delay.
Sands was pulled with one out in the fifth inning after a pair of singles gave Tech runners on first and second. Byrd allowed an RBI single to Flick, but settled down to retire the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Mendoza’s eighth home run of the season tied the score in the sixth inning, and J.C. Flowers’ RBI single to left field scored Matt Henderson. Henderson finished 2-for-2 and is hitting .279 on the season after hitting just .190 over the season’s first two months.
Byrd allowed just one baserunner over the sixth and seventh innings en route to a season-high five strikeouts. In the seventh, Tech left a runner on second as Byrd struck out the side.
FSU added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning on an RBI single from Steven Wells and a sacrifice fly from Flowers. In the bottom of the inning, Tech put the first two runners on base against Byrd and FSU brought Drew Carlton in for a six-out save. Harris singled with two outs to score one, but Carlton induced a pop up to Junior to get out of trouble.
The Golden Eagles did bring the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth after a pair of singles, but Carlton caught Brown looking to end the game and send FSU to the night cap against Auburn.
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