LOUISVILLE, KY – Cal Raleigh’s solo home run in the top of the seventh inning proved to be the game-winning run and capped off a much needed 12-9 comeback victory for the Florida State Seminoles (34-20, 13-14 ACC) over the #2 ranked Louisville Cardinals (46-8, 23-5 ACC).
Florida State took the lead for good in the top of the sixth on Jackson Lueck’s single that scored Taylor Walls. That put the Seminoles up 8-7 after mounting a comeback from being down 7-3. Desperate to improve its resume, FSU forced Louisville starter Brendan McKay to exit after five innings. He threw 111 pitches, including 26 in the first inning.
The icing on the cake came in the top of the eighth inning when Dylan Busby crushed a two-run home run to left that extended the Seminoles’ lead to three runs.
A pair of early three-run home runs propelled the Cardinals to a 6-3 lead after three innings. In the bottom of the third, Seminole starter Cole Sands hit Devin Hairston and walked McKay. The runners each advanced a base on a balk before Drew Ellis hit his 16th home run of the year. In the bottom of the second inning Josh Stowers hit a three-run home run to put Louisville up 3-1. Devin Mann and Colin Lyman hit back-to-back one-out singles, and then Stowers hit his fifth of the season beyond the left-center field wall. In the fifth, Colby Fitch doubled in Tyler Fitzgerald to put the Cardinals up 7-3.
But then McKay gave up four runs in the top of the fifth inning that knotted the game at seven. Two of the runs were unearned, and he walked two in the inning. Quincy Nieporte drove in two runners on his double and scored as Raleigh reached on an error before Tyler Horton singled in two more runs. Nieporte’s was FSU’s offensive star Thursday night; he knocked in five runs (66 total RBI for the season), hit three doubles, and scored two runs.
McKay finished his night on the mound with 5.0 IP, five hits, seven runs (five earned), four walks (season-high), six strikeouts, and one wild pitch. At the plate, he went 1-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.
News & Notes
- In its three seasons in the ACC, Louisville has been dominant with a 70-18 record in conference play. No other ACC team has even won 60 conference games in that stretch.
- The series continues Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (7:30 p.m.) at Jim Patterson Stadium.
- Louisville saw its 15-game winning streak end Tuesday night in Bloomington when it lost 4-3 to Indiana but is still expected to host a Regional the weekend of June 2-5.
- Coming into Thursday’s game, Florida State found itself on many experts’ bubbles to make the field of 64. In addition to the remainder of this series in Louisville, the Seminoles will have another chance next week to improve its overall resume at the ACC Tournament.
- The ACC Tournament begins on Tuesday with pool play at Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Bats – the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.