TJ Knapp, Correspondent
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Almost. That’s the best way to put Florida State’s 7-5 defeat to Virginia on Sunday.
At one point in this game, the Nole’s trailed 6-0, and, in the bottom of the ninth, they had the tying run at the plate thanks to a somewhat unfamiliar pinch hitter.
Early on, the feeling in this game was that of another trip out to the wood shed.
Starter Andrew Karp allowed four runs in the first inning with no recorded outs; the Cavaliers tacked on two more; and the Seminoles (27-18, 11-12) were facing a six-run deficit before they had made it through their own lineup once. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Dylan Busby smacked a solo shot just left of center field and the Nole’s appeared to wake up. Two batters later, Drew Mendoza skied a two-run homer over the wall in right field and it was suddenly a 6-3 ball game.
Virginia (35-11, 14-10) would add one more via a Robbie Coman sac-fly in the sixth inning, but Quincy Nieporte answered with a two-run bomb in the bottom half of the inning. The Seminoles continued to rally, now facing only a two-run deficit. They would get the tying run on base in the ninth inning, but this series ultimately ended when Tyler Holton grounded out sharply to end the game.
Yes, you read that right. With two outs in the ninth in need of a long ball, FSU coach Mike Martin turned to his ace. Let’s not forget that Holton hit two home runs last season and ten during his senior year at local Lincoln High School. This was surprising, however, considering Holton had one at bat coming into the game. Martin confirmed after the game that we can expect to see Holton accumulate more at-bats this season.
With a tough road ahead that includes series against conference foes Wake Forrest (30-13, 13-8) and Louisville (38-6, 17-4), Florida State can’t afford to let a loss like this drag them down. Martin doesn’t think it will, as he still has plenty of faith in his squad.
“I was proud of our ball club, we could’ve folded the tent, and we could’ve felt sorry for ourselves,” Martin said. “We got up there and battled, we’re down six nothing after three. Not any quit in this ball club.”
FSU will attempt to hop back on the horse this Friday as Pacific (15-26) comes to Tallahassee for a four game series.