TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Top-ranked Florida State (23-5) scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth to claim an 8-3 come-from-behind victory over Florida Gulf Coast (18-11) Tuesday night on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
“I was just very pleased with our guys,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “Our guys came out there tonight, fell behind by three; could have folded it up and made excuses but they didn’t. I am very proud of the way our guys played.”
For the second time in the last three games, the Seminoles used some late inning heroics to grab the win. Trailing 3-2 going into the eighth, Florida State sent 11 batters to the plate recording five hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch en route to a six-run inning.
The Seminoles quickly loaded the bases in the inning as Josh Delph led things off with a single up the middle. John Sansone was hit by a pitch and Jose Brizuela followed with a bunt single to third. John Nogowski evened the game at 3-3 as he drew a walk off Zack Tillery, the Eagles third pitcher of the inning.
Casey Smit broke the tie with a two-run single to left and Ladson Montgomery gave the Seminoles a 6-3 advantage on a pinch hit single to center. After an RBI groundout to short by Jameis Winston, Danny De La Calle drove in pinch runner Nick Graganella for the sixth run of the inning on an RBI single through the left side.
It marked the 23rd time this year Florida State has scored four or more runs in an inning. With the win, the Seminoles improved to 6-1 all-time against Florida Gulf Coast.
The Eagles broke out to an early 3-0 lead scoring two runs in the first and one in the second off Florida State starter Peter Miller. That would be all the scoring they would get on Tuesday night as Dylan Silva, Gage Smith and Winston blanked Florida Gulf Coast over the final 7.2 innings.
Silva tied a career-high with his 3.2 innings of work on Tuesday night. The sophomore southpaw gave up just one hit and one walk, while striking out a career-high four batters.
“I was pleased and proud for him,” said Martin on Silva’s performance. “He inherited a runner (in the second) and got his team in the dugout. He kept his team right where the score was; he kept us in striking distance for four innings.”
Smith (4-0) faced the minimum in his 3.0 innings of work allowing one hit and posting a strikeout to earn his fourth win of the season. Winston pitched the ninth and worked around a leadoff single by Andrew Valencia and a fielding error at short to preserve the win. The sophomore right hander responded by striking out the next two batters that he faced and then a pop out to second to end the game.
“Our relief pitching was outstanding,” said Martin. “I was very pleased with the way they came in and threw the ball and kept Florida Gulf Coast off the scoreboard.”
Sansone drove in Winston for FSU’s first run of the night in the third on an RBI groundout to short. Winston led off the inning with a walk, moved to second when De La Calle was hit by a pitch and then advanced to third on a sac-bunt by Delph.
Nogowski brought the Seminoles within one of the FGCU lead at 3-2 as he led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot to left. The junior from Tallahassee, Fla., took the first pitch from Florida Gulf Coast starter Brady Anderson over the wall for his second home run of the season.
Anderson did not factor into the decision as he worked a career-high 6.0 innings allowing two runs on three hits as he walked one and struck out five.
“He did a very good job of spotting his fastball,” added Martin. “Got a lot of fly balls, got a lot of groundballs. He pitched beautifully. He kept us off-balanced and did a very good job against us tonight.”
Nogowski and Smit both drove in two in the wins, while Smit led all hitters on Tuesday night with a pair of hits.
FGCU’s Garrett Anderson (1-1) picked up the loss working an inning plus allowing two runs on a hit.
Florida State stays at home this weekend as the Seminoles welcome Notre Dame for a three-game conference series beginning Friday, April 4.