Winston-Salem, NC - It took 13 innings Saturday night but the end result was a good one for fifth-ranked Florida State (30-8, 16-4) as the Seminoles clinched the weekend series with a 4-3 victory over Wake Forest (24-17, 11-9) on Gene Hooks Field.
Danny De La Calle’s RBI single in the 13th scored John Sansone from second for the go-ahead run to give the Seminoles their fourth straight series victory over the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem.
“Danny D did it for us with that one,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “He did a very good job of knocking in the winning run.”
The win gave the Hall of Fame head coach career win No. 1800 making him just the third coach in Division I history to reach the historic milestone. Martin joins Texas’ Augie Garrido and Gene Stephenson on that list.
“I think really one day I will look back on this but right now it’s just a number and I don’t want it to sound likes it’s not important, it is important because we won a ball game,” said Martin. “But what’s important to me is seeing those young men get to the series (College World Series) that’s what excites me more than anything about this job. I want to see those young men get to Omaha.”
Jameis Winston (1-0) pitched a perfect bottom half of the 13th to secure the win. The Seminole closer finished the night tossing a career-high 4.2 shutout innings en route to his first victory of the season. Winston allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out two on 44 pitches.
“No, we don’t,” said Martin on wanting to throw Winston 4.2 innings. “But he kept having the short number of pitches. He gave us a chance. We kept waiting for the big hit and got it on a ‘Texas Leaguer’ (in the 13th). It was a great win for us.”
Winston entered the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the winning run standing at third. The Deacs tried a safety squeeze with Grant Shambley at the plate, but De La Calle made a terrific play to get to the ball just out in front of the plate and then to apply the tag to get a sliding Joey Rodriguez for the second out of the inning. Winston then retired the side with a groundout back to the mound to send the game to extra innings.
“I thought they would sac-bunt, but I went out there ready to compete,” said Winston. “I was just trying to get us out of the inning. That was a heck of a play by Danny. That is why we play at Florida State, if we couldn’t make those plays we wouldn’t be here.”
“In that situation I just thought ‘this is it, if we let that run score we lose the game,’ added De La Calle. “I wasn’t having that.”
After both teams exchanged zeroes through the 10th, 11th and 12th innings, Florida State plated the eventual game-winner in the 13th. Sansone was hit-by-pitch from Garrett Kelly (1-1) to open the frame and then moved into scoring position after swiping second. With one out, De La calle sent a flare into short left center that Shambley made a diving attempt on but came up just short allowing Sansone to score to give FSU a 4-3 lead.
“I felt good; I’ve been feeling pretty good these last couple of days at the plate,” said De La Calle. “I was just trying to produce for the team as much as possible. I’m just proud we came away with the ‘W’.”
Josh Delph, DJ Stewart, Brett Knief and De La Calle all finished with two hits apiece. John Nogowski reached base on three of his six plate appearances as he drew three walks.
Saturday’s game tied for the longest game this year as Florida State defeated NC State in 13 innings earlier this year. The Seminoles improved to 3-0 in extra innings and 7-0 in one-run contests in 2014.
FSU starter Mike Compton did not factor into the decision on Saturday as the redshirt sophomore went 5.0 plus innings allowing two runs on four hits as he walked two and struck out two.
Florida State grabbed the early lead in game two plating a pair of runs in the top of the third off Wake Forest starter John McLeod to take a 2-0 advantage. Sansone led off the inning with a bunt single to third and scored on an RBI single to left by Delph. De La Calle, who drew a one-out walk, came around to score on a two-out RBI single to center off the bat of Stewart. The single extended Stewart’s school record streak of reaching base to 59 consecutive games.
McLeod’s day would come to a close after walking Jose Brizuela to open the fourth. The Seminole third baseman would later score in the inning on a sac-fly to left by Ben DeLuzio to extend FSU’s lead to 3-0.
Wake’s McLeod went 3.0 plus innings on Saturday allowing three runs on three hits as he walked four and struck out two marking his shortest outing of the season.
The Deacs cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth as Nate Mondou opened the inning drawing a walk off Compton. Mondou would score three batters later on an RBI groundout to second by Evan Stephens. Wake looked to add more in the inning with runners at the corners and two outs, but Compton got Charlie Morgan to ground out to short to retire the side.
Wake Forest tacked on another run to draw within one of the Florida State lead at 3-2 in the sixth. Matt Conway led off the inning with a single up the middle ending the afternoon for Compton. Dylan Silva came on and registered two outs but also allowed a pair of walks and an infield single which led to the Demon Deacon run.
With runners at first and second, Mondou laced an infield single to short that Justin Gonzalez made an outstanding diving stop on. His throw went high at first, but Nogowski was able to recover the ball in time to get Mondou in a run down for the second out of the inning. Conway scored during the run down to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Seminoles.
After Silva walked Ben Breazeale, Martin brought on Gage Smith who got Rodriguez to fly out to center to end the inning.
The Deacs tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the seventh. Wake put runners at the corners off Smith following back-to-back bunt singles by Stephens and Shambley. Stephens would plate the tying run as Morgan grounded into a double play at short.
The Noles squandered a golden opportunity to retake the lead in the top of the eighth leaving the bases loaded. FSU put together a little two out rally as Nogowski walked, Brizuela singled to right and Knief drew a walk. Wake reliever Aaron Fossas then got Sansone to ground out to short to keep the game tied at three.
Wake Forest looked for the walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth as Rodriguez led off the inning with a single and moved into second on a fielding error in left. After a sac-bunt moved Rodriguez to third, Martin went to the bullpen and called on Winston, who recorded the final two outs to force extra innings.
Florida State and Wake Forest will wrap-up the three game series on Sunday, April 20 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be streamed live on Wake Forest’s All-Access player ($). 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.