TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fourth-ranked Florida State (41-13, 21-8) survived a ninth inning rally by Duke (31-23, 15-14) as Ben DeLuzio hauled in the final out of the game on a long fly ball to the warning track in right center off the bat of Chris Marconcini as the Seminoles hung on to defeat the Blue Devils, 9-8, Friday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Dylan Silva came on to get the final out in the ninth for his first career save in an inning in which the Seminoles had a six-run cushion and used three pitchers, while the Blue Devils registered three hits and took advantage of two costly fielding errors both with two outs.
The two errors led to a two-run double down by Jordan Betts that hit the bottom of the wall in left to cut the deficit to 9-8. Silva then came on and got Marconcini to fly out on two pitches to preserve the win and clinch FSU’s eight conference series victory of the season.
“I’ve said this many times and I will say it again, this is the greatest game in the world,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “There are 27 outs to get and you credit Duke for scrapping, staying tough, but you also credit Florida State for not losing their cool when things were ‘so called unraveling,’ we kept our poise. In the end, we accomplished what we wanted to do and that was win the ball game.”
FSU starter Mike Compton (7-1) earned the win as the redshirt sophomore right hander allowed two runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings. Compton struck out four and did not walk a batter for the second straight outing and the third time this year.
“I felt pretty good,” said Compton. “It took some time to get settled in there the first inning or two. As the game went on, I felt I had more control of all my pitches. We just tried to mix in fastball, slider, change-up; they just did a good job of squaring up some especially in the fourth inning.”
Offensively, the Seminoles were led by DJ Stewart’s four-hit performance. The junior from Yulee, Fla., reached base on all five plate appearances Friday night finishing the game 4-for-4 with a double, three singles and a hit-by-pitch. He also scored three times and drove in three runs.
“Big lift for us, big lift,” said Martin. “We had some good at-bats by a lot of player tonight especially DJ.”
Jose Brizuela went 3-for-4 with three singles and two RBI. Josh Delph and DeLuzio finished with two hits apiece. Delph drove in two on a double down the line in right in the seventh, while DeLuzio’s RBI single in the seventh proved to be the eventual game-winning hit.
Each time Duke scored a run, Florida State had an answer as the two schools exchanged runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings.
The Blue Devils took the early lead in the third on a solo home run by Ryan Deitrich. The Seminoles responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Stewart and a sac-fly to center by Brizuela.
In the fourth, Duke tied the game at 2-2 as Marconcini doubled for the second straight at-bat and scored a batter later on single through the right side by Matt Berezo.
The tie was short lived as Delph and Stewart, who both singled in the bottom of the fourth, scored on a sac-fly by John Nogowski and an RBI single by Brizuela, respectively.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the sixth taking advantage of two of three Blue Devil errors on the night to plate a run. Casey Smit reached third to lead off the inning on two fielding errors – one at first and another in right field on the same play. One batter later, Smit would score on an RBI single to center by Stewart.
Duke cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh as Grant McCabe singled to open the inning off Gage Smith. After a double by Deitrich moved McCabe to third, the Blue Devil center fielder would score on an RBI groundout to third by pinch hitter David Perkins.
Florida State would push across some much needed insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh plating four to take a 9-3 advantage. Delph’s two run double down the line in right started the scoring, while Stewart and DeLuzio added RBI singles.
“It was extremely big for us because we had some people that made big contributions that inning” added Martin. “From bunting people over to getting big hits, to having quality at-bats, it was something that we desperately needed.”
Duke’s Drew Van Orden (5-5) suffered the loss as the senior right hander allowed four runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings of work. He finished the outing with four walks and six strikeouts.
“We do a great job of working every single pitcher,” said Stewart on chasing Van Orden after 4.2 innings Friday night. “It’s a matter of being disciplined and swinging at the pitches that we can handle.”
Both teams used six pitchers each in a game that lasted four hours and two minutes.
Florida State and Duke will wrap-up the series and their regular season schedules on Saturday, May 17 at 1:00 p.m. It is Senior Day at the ballpark with pregame festivities to begin at 12:45 pm.
The game will air on ESPN3 and audio will be available on the Seminoles.com All-Access player. Locally fans can listen to the game on 100.7 FM. As always, fans can receive in-game updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball. Also, do not forget to like the Seminole Baseball team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FSUBaseball and to follow the team on Instagram (NoleBaseball). Live stats will be available via gametracker.