FSU Baseball Gets Late Comeback Win


The No. 9 FSU baseball team has shown a penchant for the comeback this year, and that flair for the dramatic was at work again on Wednesday night in Tallahassee. The ‘Noles faced the Alabama State Hornets for the first time in program history, and trailed most of the game before emerging with an exciting 8-7 victory.

A pair of three-run long balls supplied the early scoring, with Alabama State getting things going in the third off Florida State starter Alec Byrd. A single and a hit batter put two aboard for Yamil Pagan, whose shot to left field snuck over the fence to give the Hornets a 3-0 lead.

The ‘Noles returned the favor in the bottom of the fourth. Quincy Nieporte was initially called out trying to beat an errant thrown to first, but, after the umpires conferenced, the first-base umpire was overruled and Nieporte was deemed safe. Chris Marconcini then walked, and freshman Dylan Busby sailed the fifth home run of his career well over the left-field wall to make it 3-3. Busby is heating up and now has three home runs in his last three games.

Busby’s confidence is growing as well, as he becomes more and more comfortable facing collegiate pitching. After the game he described his approach to opposing pitchers as thinking to himself, “hey, I’m just as good as you are– let’s go.”

Neither starter lasted long: Byrd pitched three innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits, a walk, and a hit batter, while the Hornets’ Tyler Howe stuck around for four. Only two of the runs he allowed on three hits and two walks were earned.

So the game went to the bullpens, a question mark for Florida State throughout the season. Bryant Holtmann surrendered the lead in the sixth when a double, walk, and Hunter Allen RBI single made it 4-3. Holtmann was relieved by Derek Vail, who retired one batter before Manny Rodriguez ‘s stroked ASU’s second two-out, three-run homer of the game to make it 7-3. Josh Delph limited the damage following another Alabama State hit when he threw out Ruben Garcia at home to end the threat.

This FSU team is nothing if not resilient, however, and the ‘Noles came right back in their half of the sixth. Marconcini walked, Busby collected his second hit (he was the only Seminole with more than one, finishing with three), and Delph drew a base on balls to load the bases with nobody out. Hank Truluck worked a walk to make it 7-4, and following a Darren Miller pinch-hit strikeout, Taylor Walls appeared to have tied things up, as his liner to left-center looked destined for the gap. But left fielder Waldyvan Estrada reached up and snagged the ball as it was about to scream past him. Busby still scored after tagging up to make it 7-5, but the ‘Noles weren’t able to create any more offense in the inning.

The Seminoles were able to pick right back up in the seventh, though. After Nieporte drew a one-out walk, the left-handed Marconcini, a 6-4 transfer from Duke, pounded his first home run as a Seminole, sending T.J. Renda’s offering sailing over the right-field fence and knotting the score at 7-7. Florida State head coach Mike Martin was happy for “Marco,” who’s battled back from injury, stating of his homer that “the big boy did what we were hoping he’d do a lot this year.”

The ‘Noles were 90 feet from taking the lead, after Busby doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Delph struck out to end the inning. But it nearly never happened, as Busby’s liner down the third-base line — which was clearly fair — initially was ruled foul by the umpire in position. The umps met and, once again, reversed the call, granting Busby second base and drawing the ire of ASU head coach Marvyl Melendez. Melendez argued vociferously until being tossed, at which point he argued some more, finally retreating to the clubhouse.

But not for long.

Melendez emerged with his luggage, came back out to the field, and had a few more words with the men in black before exiting the complex, bags and all.

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Just as well: he wouldn’t have cared to watch how his team gave up the lead. Danny De La Calle, just inserted into the game in the seventh, led things off by ripping a triple (the first of his career) off the center-field wall. Said Martin: “We haven’t seen many balls find that centerfield wall this year. That was smoked.” De La Calle — who doesn’t exactly fly around the base paths, had some fun with reporters after the game, confessing that “They don’t call me Speedy Gonzalez for no reason,” and claiming that he “kicked it into fifth.”

The ‘Noles wouldn’t collect a hit the rest of the way– but DLC lumbered across home on a wild pitch, giving the ‘Noles their only lead of the game, an 8-7 advantage that Billy Strode would preserve for his ACC-best eighth save.

Martin said he was “very pleased with the fight” of his team in continually bouncing back it this one, stating simply, “we got it done–plain and simple.” With the win, the ‘Noles improve to 20-6 and 7-2 in the ACC, a game behind Louisville in the Atlantic division. FSU is back at it again this Friday, as the ‘Noles will host Virginia Tech at 6 pm.