TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State’s faithful fans boast a handful of spirited in-game chants that help make Dick Howser Stadium one of the most daunting venues in the nation for visiting baseball clubs. And during Saturday’s Tallahassee Regional winner’s-bracket game between FSU and Troy, none was more boisterous and persistent than the crowd’s chant of choice.
In an 11-0 Seminoles (46-15) victory, sophomore pitcher Luke Weaver gave ‘Noles fans plenty to cheer about as he baffled Trojans (41-19) hitters for eight compete innings. Weaver finished the night with a career-high 14 strikeouts -- the most by an FSU pitcher since Tyler Chambliss tossed 15 against Maryland in 2006 -- on a career-high 115 pitches with just four hits and no walks allowed.
Weaver’s performance against Troy was the latest in a string of strong showings by the Deland, Fla. native. In his last six outings, Weaver hasn’t registered less than eight strikeouts and boasts a combined 1.23 ERA. He is just the second FSU pitcher this season to record double-digit strikeouts in a single game with Brandon Leibrandt’s 10 against Duke April 13 being the other instance.
While Weaver was dealing on the mound, FSU’s batters were doing their job updating the scoreboard for the second night in a row. Twenty-four hours after beating Savannah State, 10-0, in their first game of NCAA Tournament play, the ‘Noles exploded for six runs in the final inning and accrued 11 hits for the game.
John Nogowski led the scoring onslaught with a team-high three RBIs with two hits while DJ Stewart continued his offensive excellence with two RBIs of his own. John Sansone, Giovanny Alfonzo, Josh Delph, JJ Gould, Seth Miller and Jose Brizuela were all responsible for one RBI each.
Saturday-night’s outcome means the Seminoles will play at 5 p.m. today against the winner of the Troy-Alabama matchup that will start earlier in the day. A Sunday-night ‘Noles victory would send them to Super Regionals and result in more postseason baseball in Tallahassee next weekend.
GEORGIA TECH KEEPS SEASON ALIVE: Senior RHP Buck Farmer was in complete command of East Tennessee State, but it was a nearly two hour lightning delay in the seventh inning that knocked him from the game as Georgia Tech staved off elimination Saturday at Hawkins Field with a 5-1 win over the Buccaneers in the Nashville Regional.
The second-seeded Yellow Jackets built a 5-0 lead for Farmer when the inclement weather moved in, and Jonathan Roberts fired three effective innings after the break to finish off the victory and keep his team alive.
In another elimination game today, Tech (35-26) faces the loser of Saturday night’s Vanderbilt/Illinois game. ETSU, which won the Atlantic Sun championship, finished the season 36-24.
Farmer threw just 58 pitches with 46 strikes over a dominant six innings while his offense built a 5-0 lead off ETSU All-American pitcher Kerry Doane. Tech’s senior ace struck out eight against no walks and allowed just two base runners (two singles), improving to 9-4 this season, 33-12 in his career and to 2-1 in NCAA postseason action.
MERCER OUT: The No. 3 Mercer baseball team dug deep to erase a four-run deficit, but in the end the rally wasn’t enough in a 6-5 11-inning elimination game defeat against No. 4 Central Arkansas on Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
The loss eliminates Mercer (43-18) from the Starkville Regional and brings to an end the best season in program history that saw the Bears win a school-record 43 games and capture their first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Title.