Holton Astounds in Complete-Game Shutout vs. No. 21 Wake Forest

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sophomore pitcher Tyler Holton allowed just four hits, all singles, and did not allow a runner to reach second base in a dominating 4-0 complete game shutout of No. 21 Wake Forest Saturday evening on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles did not allow a run in 13 innings on Saturday after the teams finished off a postponed game from Friday night earlier in the day, a 4-3 Wake Forest win.

“That first game was a tough loss,” head coach Mike Martin said. “I was impressed with how we got after it game two, and let’s face it, the guy on the mound set the tone for everything.”

Game 2 – Florida State 4, Wake Forest 0
Florida State (33-19, 12-13 ACC) forced a split on the day against Wake Forest (34-16, 16-10 ACC) behind four first-inning runs and Holton’s masterpiece on the mound. After a 1-2-3 first inning for the Demon Deacons, the Seminoles led 3-0 before recording an out after Taylor Walls and Dylan Busby walked, followed by doubles from Jackson Lueck and Quincy Nieporte. Drew Mendoza’s RBI single later in the frame proved to be the final run of the game.

Holton allowed just four hits in the game – all singles – and no Wake Forest batters touched second base. The sophomore from Tallahassee threw 124 pitches on the night, 86 for strikes, and struck out nine batters, including Gavin Sheets, the nation’s leader in RBI’s, to end the game.

“When you’re playing a team as good as Wake Forest, four [runs] is not enough,” Martin said. “We just happened to have a big inning and ironically, that was all we needed.”

Holton had five perfect innings on the night, including striking out the side in the eighth inning. Wake Forest entered the weekend series ranked in the top 10 nationally in home runs, hits, runs and slugging percentage, but Holton held Wake to .129 hitting on Saturday (4-for-31), and 0-for-6 with runners on base.

The Florida State defense was flawless behind Holton, running its errorless streak to 40 innings. Holton, a three-time ACC Pitcher of the Week, recorded the first shutout and complete game of his career. His previous high was eight innings pitched against No. 4 Clemson on April 16 of this year.

“Tyler Holton can mess with your timing as a hitter,” Martin said. “He’s a guy that enjoys matching wits with hitters, being a hitter himself…he’s a baseball player, and thank God he’s on my team.”

For the Demon Deacons, Donnie Sellers (3-5) picked up the loss but allowed just two hits after the four-run first. Morgan McSweeney allowed a hit over the final two innings, and Jake Mueller had two of Wake Forest’s four hits.

Game 1 – Wake Forest 4, Florida State 3
The first game Saturday started in the bottom of the fifth inning after a 58-minute weather delay Friday eventually led to a postponement and halted action with Wake Forest leading 4-2. The Seminoles added a run in the fifth on Jackson Lueck’s RBI double, but both teams went scoreless the rest of the way as Wake won 4-3.

What was supposed to be an offensive shootout started with both pitchers dominating. Florida State starter Cole Sands allowed just one baserunner through the first three innings, a second-inning walk to Gavin Sheets. Wake Forest starter Parker Dunshee allowed one hit, to Taylor Walls in the third inning, and walked two without allowing a run.

The Wake Forest bats came to life in the fourth inning, tallying three runs on four hits off Sands. After a hit batter put a runner on base, Sheets launched his 18th home run of the year over the right field wall to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Sheets entered the weekend ranked sixth in the country in home runs and led the nation with 70 runs batted in.

Bruce Steel’s one-out double in the fourth made it 3-0 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons left the bases loaded as Sands limited the damage with a fly out to J.C. Flowers to end the inning.

Drew Mendoza hit a one-out double off Dunshee in the fourth, and Tyler Holton hit a two-out home run over the right field wall to cut the Deacs lead to 3-2. It was Holton’s second home run in just his 13th at-bat of the season.

Wake Forest got one run back in the fifth on Stuart Fairchild’s 13th home run of the year. Sands left after that, allowing four runs in 4.1 innings. Clayton Kwiatkowski allowed a walk and a single, and Chase Haney entered and retired two batters to limit the damage before the weather delay halted the game Friday night.

Wake Forest used pitcher Colin Peluse (3-1) on Saturday. After Lueck’s RBI double, Peluse finished with three innings of work and just the one hit allowed. For the Seminoles, Andrew Karp went 3.1 innings Saturday, allowing just one hit and no runs.

Griffin Roberts earned his sixth save of the season, allowing two ninth-inning baserunners but no runs in keeping FSU off the board and securing the win. Holton was the only Seminole with two hits, adding a single in the ninth, but was erased on a game-ending double play off the bat of Flowers.

“We’ve played pretty good baseball the last four weeks,” Martin said. “We’ve had some losses that have stung. You just have to take it one day at a time. No expectations.”

Next Up:
Florida State will conclude its home schedule Sunday in the series finale against Wake Forest. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. The game will stream live on ACC Network Extra, with Ariya Massoudi and Chip Baker providing commentary. The game will be live on the radio in Tallahassee on 106.1 FM and nationwide through the FSU Gameday App.

LHP Drew Parrish (5-2, 4.94 ERA) will pitch for the Seminoles, while Connor Johnstone (7-0, 3.04) will go for Wake Forest.

Postgame Notes:
- Quincy Nieporte had a pair of doubles on the day, running his season total to 12.
- Jackson Lueck’s two doubles give him eight on the year.
- Prior to the night game, Florida State held a modified graduation ceremony for eight players receiving their degrees. FSU President John Thrasher presided over the annual event.
- Holton’s complete game was FSU’s second this year, after Drew Parrish went the distance at Notre Dame in March. It is the first complete game shutout since Drew Carlton did so in Game 1 of the 2016 Super Regional at Florida, and the first in Tallahassee since Mike Compton allowed two hits against Boston College in a 7-0 FSU win.
- Holton did not allow a walk in the game, the fourth time this season FSU pitching has done so.



 

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