Florida State baseball holds off No. 5 Miami to win nightcap, split Saturday doubleheader
Some clutch moments on the mound and the field were enough for Florida State to come away with its first top-five win of the season Saturday night.
The FSU baseball team (31-18, 14-12 in ACC) built an early lead and held on to beat the rival Miami Hurricanes (37-12, 18-8) 6-4 in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader at Dick Howser Stadium.
This earned the Seminoles a doubleheader split against the Hurricanes, setting up a rubber match for Sunday at noon on ESPN2.
"Proud of the guys. They bounced back..." FSU head coach Mike Martin Jr. said after the games.
"Really impressed with our guys' bounceback, enthusiasm and focus. We got it done in game two."
First game:Florida State baseball falls to Miami in opening game of Saturday doubleheader
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In the win, FSU pitchers Bryce Hubbart and Wyatt Crowell did well to stifle UM's lineup. The pair combined to allow just one earned run over nine innings (Hubbart threw five and Crowell through the final four) with 17 strikeouts of the Hurricanes.
FSU shortstop Jordan Carrion hit his second home run of the season in the third inning. Tyler Martin reached base in all six of his plate appearances over the doubleheader with four hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
The crowd of 5,567 fans at Howser Saturday wasn't the biggest crowd of the season. It may have been the most rowdy, though, cheering passionately through the final pitch as Crowell finished off his second save of the season.
"That's the rocking Howser. It's effective," Martin said.
"It brought back the old days...I got bombarded with ticket requests, we got good weather. Everything felt right."
Added Crowell, "I got chills about 30 times...I had so much adrenaline right when I came in the game. I was trying to keep myself calm. Those fans were nuts."
FSU gets strong start, holds on
In the early going, it looked like FSU was going to coast to a similarly easy win in game to as Miami did in the first game of the day.
The Seminoles again scored first in the bottom of the first, this time on a balk. They added four more runs in the third inning, taking advantage of a few Miami mistakes.
A dropped fly ball to center field extended the inning, as did an errant throw from third base to second which resulted in two extra runs coming in to score.
The Seminoles led 5-0 through four innings and were in cruise control with Hubbart on the mound. He didn't allow his first hit until the fourth inning and was through four scoreless frames with relative ease.
In the fifth, however, the sweating began. Miami got on the board with a two-out single to right field. A strikeout to the ensuing batter should have ended the inning but a mix-up led to a dropped third strike and the throw to first was off target allowing the runner to reach base.
A pair of consecutive singles after that plated runs, cutting the Seminoles' lead to 5-3.
FSU got one run back in the sixth, but the Hurricanes threatened in a major way in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs on an infield single, a hit-by-pitch and a bunt single.
Crowell did allow one unearned run to score on a passed ball, but from there got two strikeouts and a flyout to right to escape with the lead intact.
"I didn't know for a second if they were going to take me out. They left me in there and that really fired me up on the inside," Crowell said.
"I was like, 'I've got to do it for the team."
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The final two innings were far less stressful as Crowell retired the final six batters he faced, with the only baserunner coming on a dropped third strike.
Hubbart finished with three runs allowed (one earned) on four hits over five innings with 10 strikeouts. It was his second straight game with double-digit strikeouts after he had a minor rough stretch recovering from an illness which briefly forced him into the Sunday starter role.
"Staying present, remembering who I am. Everyone goes through rough stretches, but it's how you bounce back, whether it's a long bad stretch or not," Hubbart said.
"At the end of the day, I'm trying to give my team the best chance to win. That's purely what it's about, whether I'm striking out 10 guys or one...It feels really good to come out and get a win."
Crowell picked up the rest of the game, allowing one unearned run on two hits with seven strikeouts.
FSU again squanders chances
Although the loss in the first game came by a fairly large margin, that's not to say FSU had no chances to play its way back into the game.
The Seminoles finished the first game 2 of 14 (.143) with runners on base and 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
In the second game, FSU had more chances due to more hits, walks and hit-by-pitches (17 combined in the second game compared to nine in the first).
While FSU took advantage of enough chances to win Saturday's nightcap and earn a doubleheader split, it still struggled with converting scoring opportunities.
The Seminoles were 1 of 15 (.067) with runners in scoring position in Saturday's second game, stranding 12 runners on base. Had Miami done a bit more to come all the way back and win, this would have been an easy figure to blame for the result.
Reach Curt Weiler at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.
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