TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Plating seven runs on five hits in the first inning, Jacksonville University (11-12) dropped a heartbreaker against #11/#13 Florida State University (15-7) Tuesday in a slug-fest. The Dolphins and Seminoles combined for 19 runs on 27 hits as Florida State collected a 10-9 walkoff win.
"It was a tough one for the team," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "When you get out to a big lead like that it's so important to add. We had opportunities throughout the game to add to our lead, and we missed those opportunities. Credit to Florida State for continuing to chip away until they got the big hit in the ninth. Ultimately it was a frustrating way to end, but I'm really proud of the way these guys came in to Dick Howser Stadium and competed. We had a very good team on the ropes right until the end."
The first inning offensive explosion started when Scott Dubrule drew a one-out walk. Mike Cassala and Sam Armstrong singled to opposite ends of the field, and Dubrule scored the first Dolphin run when Evan Fernandez was hit by a pitch. Franco Guardascione got some bad luck in a foul out to the catcher, but Chris Lehane was walked with the bases loaded to score the second run. It looked as if FSU's starter Andrew Karp would get out of the inning with Connor Stephens down to his final strike, but the sophomore from Land O'Lakes, Fla., doubled to left center on the next pitch, scoring Armstrong, Fernandez, and Lehane. Dakota Julylia followed Stephens' example but to opposite field, scoring Stephens, and was scored himself on a single by Nathan Koslowski. In the bottom of the first JU led 7-0.
Florida State scored at least one run in seven of nine innings, chipping away at the Dolphins' lead. The Seminoles had cut the lead to just three, 7-4, after four, but JU got some more breathing room in the fifth.
Fernandez reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, advancing to second on the throw. He was advanced to third on a sac bunt by Guardascione, and then scored on a passed ball with Lehane at the plate. Lehane doubled down the right field line on a 3-2 count, and was also advanced to third on a sac bunt by Stephens. Julylia earned his second hit and second RBI of the game on the next pitch. In the bottom of the fifth JU led 9-4. But the Seminoles were again able to plate a runner, chipping the lead down to four, 9-5.
One run sixth and seventh innings pulled Florida State within two, 9-7, before Spencer Stockton came in and struck out the side in the eighth. But the Seminoles again did in the ninth what they'd been doing all game long, collecting hits with two outs. After a home run, Mike Cassala relieved Stockton and got Florida State down to its final out on a strikeout despite allowing FSU to load the bases. The sophomore reliever/catcher/designated hitter had a 1-2 count on FSU's J.C. Flowers, but the center fielder survived, hitting a two-out, walkoff single.