TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 9 Florida State (20-6) scored five unanswered runs over the final three innings Wednesday night to earn a hard fought 8-7 victory over Alabama State (13-10) on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.
Twice the Seminoles faced a deficit on Wednesday night only to fight back from three runs down after three and then four runs down after the top of the sixth.
“It was a game in which we got it done, plain and simple, we got it done,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “It’s not an easy task when you fall behind by three and then fall behind by four. And each time we kept battling. I credit our guys for a great effort.”
Danny De La Calle gave the Seminoles their first lead of the night after scoring from third on a wild pitch from Jorge Pantoja (0-2) in the bottom of the eighth. The senior catcher, who entered the game at catcher in the top of the seventh, hit a ball off the wall in straight away center to open the eighth for his first career triple.
“It felt good to help out the team,” said De La Calle. “I felt like I hit it well. I thought for a second it was going to go out but then I remembered that’s a long way out there so I just kept running as hard as I can. Fortunately enough I was able to turn it into a triple.”
“I didn’t promise him the whole day when I talked to him about giving him the day off but I reserved the right to change my mind,” added Martin. “He has been a warrior for two years. Danny of course was a leadoff hitter there in the eighth and let’s face it guys we haven’t seen very many balls hit off that centerfield wall this year; that was smoked.”
Billy Strode retired the side in order in the ninth to pick-up his ACC-leading eighth save of the year.
Dylan Silva (4-1) earned the win after turning in a scoreless inning in relief. Silva gave up a double inside the bag at first to open the top of the eighth but settled down nicely striking out the next three batters that he faced.
Dylan Busby continued his torrid hitting at the plate as the freshman third baseman picked up another three hits while adding a three-run home run in the fourth which helped erase an early 3-0 Alabama State lead. It marked his third home run in as many games. Busby finished the game with a single and a double in his final two at-bats.
Chris Marconcini evened the game at 7-7 with one swing of the bat in the seventh. The senior transfer from Duke University took a 1-2 offering from ASU’s T.J. Renda over the fence in right center for a two-run shot and his first home run as a Seminole. Quincy Nieporte, who scored on the home run, drew a one-out walk. Marconcini finished the night with two walks while scoring three times.
Hank Truluck and Taylor Walls picked up an RBI in the sixth on a bases loaded walk and a sac-fly, respectively.
Alec Byrd, who made his third start of the season, did not factor into the decision after allowing three runs on four hits in 3.0 innings. The sophomore southpaw walked one and struck out one.
Alabama State showed some power on Wednesday night as well hitting a pair of home runs in the loss. Yamil Pagan unloaded on a three-run home run in the third off Byrd to give the Hornets an early 3-0 lead.
After FSU tied the game at three, the Hornets regained the lead in the sixth on an RBI single by designated hitter Hunter Allen and a three-run home run off the bat of Manny Rodriguez. The ASU catcher took a 1-0 pitch from Derek Vail out of the park to left center for his first home run of the season.
“Obviously very pleased with the fight as we were four down with nine outs to go,” said Martin. “The guys put together a very impressive inning. You have to credit Alabama State, they really fought; they have a heck of a club. They did a lot of impressive things tonight.”
Will Zirzow came on in relief of Vail in the sixth and finished his outing working 1.1 scoreless innings. The redshirt freshman right hander allowed just one hit and struck out two.
Florida State returns to ACC this play this weekend at home as the Seminoles welcome Virginia Tech to town for a three-game series. All three games will air on ESPN3. Fans can also listen to the game on 106.1 FM and free of charge on Seminoles.com and the Florida State Seminoles Game Day app. Updates from the game will also be posted on the official twitter page of the Seminole baseball team (@FSU_Baseball).