FSU baseball: Offense explodes past UCF, Noles advance to Super Regionals

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

FSU baseball (45-15) prevented anxiety for FSU fans by punching its ticket to the Super Regionals with a 12-4 win over the UCF Knights Sunday night. The Noles had to overcome a two-run deficit as the UCF Knights hit a two-run home run-off starting pitcher Conner Whittaker. Max Williams led off the bottom of the first with a hit, but FSU couldn't get much going until the fifth inning. The FSU offense exploded with nine runs in the frame. Cam Smith hit his second home run in as many nights to tie the game 2-2 before Jaime Ferrer laced a double down the left-field line to score two more. Jaxson West had a huge two-out single up the middle to score two more runs before Max Williams crushed a three-run home run to center field. The game was essentially over at that point, as the UCF dugout looked defeated as they went through its depleted bullpen after playing so many games over the weekend. The UCF offense scored a run in the sixth and seventh innings, but FSU answered with three runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Conner Whittaker went four innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs, two walks, and a strikeout. Connor Hults pitched three innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs, two walks, and two strikeouts. John Abraham pitched the eighth inning, allowing no hits and two strikeouts. Joe Charles pitched the ninth inning, allowing one hit, and two strikeouts. Max Williams led the offense, going 2-4 with three RBI. Cam Smith went 1-2 with two RBI. Jaime Ferrer went 1-4 with two RBI, and Jaxson West went 2-4 with two RBI. The Noles had seven hits, drew 10 walks, and left nine men on base. They did all of their damage, with James Tibbs continuing to struggle at the plate. He seems frustrated with teams not pitching to him early in the regional and has started expanding his strike zone to chase pitches. He'll be fine with a week to reset and prepare for Super Regionals. FSU getting through the Tallahassee Regional without losing is huge, as it saves the players from unneeded wear and tear on their bodies. FSU will take on the winner of Oklahoma/UConn in the Super Regionals.

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