Andrew Miller, Correspondent (@AndrewMillerFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State was defeated 5-2 on Saturday night. North Carolina rallied back in the top of the ninth inning, capitalizing on six Seminole errors on its way to a comeback win.
The Noles (18-10) found themselves up early in the contest, after sophomore Jackson Lueck drove in freshman Nick Derr with a single that got through right field. A couple of innings later, junior Rhett Aplin tripled to center field, the first of his career. Freshman Drew Mendoza then sac-flied out to left field, bringing home Aplin from third and making the score 2-0.
Then, the Noles began to collapse. Seemingly right after Florida State coach Mike Martin moved freshman Tyler Daughtry to shortstop he committed a fielding error, allowing a Tar Heel runner to advance to third. Subsequently, junior reliever Drew Carlton gave up a flyout to center, which brought in the runner on third to make the score 2-1. With two outs in the top of the ninth, freshman Michael Busch singled for the Tar Heels’ (21-6) first hit of the game, tying the score at 2-2.
In extras, the Noles could not get anything going either, continuing their struggles on offense. Their hitting was poor and when they did get someone on base with an idle walk here and there, they could not use it to their advantage. Ultimately, the Noles were 1-for-15 with runners on base—a bad omen as it relates to victories on the baseball field. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels scored three runs on three hits and snagged the win in extra innings.
“We started to come apart there at the end a little. It’s hard to win when you shoot yourselves in the foot that much, let alone against a ball club like that,” Florida State coach Mark Martin said after the game.
The loss negates an impressive pitching performance by sophomore Tyler Holton, who threw seven no-hit innings against the Tar Heels before being pulled in the top of the eighth because of his pitch count. Holton was one of the few bright spots for the Noles.
Another interesting bit is the news that junior Taylor Walls had been suspended indefinitely during the game. There were rumors of Walls getting into a heated discussion with Florida State coach Mike Martin last night after the loss, and his status has been updated to return against FGCU on April 4. Walls took the first at-bat of the game, so you have to wonder if the coaching staff found something out that they didn’t like right before the game, or if Martin saw an opportunity to teach a lesson.
Either way, the Noles will have to shore up their fielding if they want to be in a position to win more often. Six errors don’t bode well for a win on any level. The Noles will take the field again on Sunday at 12:30. They look to take the final game of a three-game home stand against North Carolina.