College baseball: Busby's walk-off delivers FSU to ACC title game
DURHAM, N.C. – Dylan Busby delivered a bases loaded walk-off single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift fourth-seeded Florida State (37-19) to a 5-4 victory over top-seeded Miami (45-11) at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Seminoles will now face Clemson in to Sunday’s ACC Championship game.
The Noles, who swept their way through Pool A play, will meet the Tigers, who captured Pool B play with a win over Wake Forest earlier Saturday, in the title game on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. The clash with the Tigers marks the fourth meeting between the two programs for the ACC Tournament crown and FSU’s 11th appearance in the Championship game since joining the league in 1992.
"It's a great win for us, more so from a standpoint of the way our young men displayed character and poise when they could have folded their tent," said head coach Mike Martin. "We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the ballgame at the end. We had some very good at-bats to position ourselves with an opportunity, and certainly glad to see great contributions of all of these young men. But it took all of us to be successful today."
Joining Busby among the primary contributors for the Seminoles was hurler Tyler Holton, who finished with a season-high nine strikeouts, and Quincy Nieporte, who came through with a two-RBI single to right field in the seventh.
Tied at 4-4, FSU set the table for the winning run in the ninth when Jackson Lueck opened the frame with a single to third off Devin Meyer, giving the Noles their seventh leadoff runner of the afternoon. Cal Raleigh and Nick Graganella both drew walks, moving Lueck to third, loading the bases for Ben DeLuzio.
DeLuzio reached base on a fielder’s choice as Lueck was tagged out as he attempted to score from third. Busby followed by roping a 1-0 pitch into left field, scoring Raleigh from third for the game-winning run.
Holton, making his first ACC Tournament start, scattered seven hits over seven innings on the mound to mark his longest appearance of the season. With a solid FSU defense behind him, Holton allowed only one walk over his final 3.1 innings, before allowing a hit to Miami’s Carl Chester to open the eighth.
Holton, who did not factor in the decision, gave way to Matthew Kinney, who pitched a perfect eighth inning that included one strikeout. Tyler Warmoth came out of the bullpen in the ninth, yielding the tying runs, before the combination of Chase Haney and Alec Byrd, who earned his first win of the season, recorded the final outs.
Busby, the offensive leader for the Seminoles, was one of three batters with multiple hits against Miami. He wrapped up the game 4-for-5 with three RBI and one run, including his team-leading 10th home run and 13th double of the campaign.
Nieporte, hitting fourth in the lineup, wrapped up his day 3-for-3 from the plate, and was responsible for two RBI and one run. Lueck joined his teammates with a 2-for-5 performance as he raised his batting average to .413.
With two outs in the second, Miami’s Willie Abreu hit a double off the left field wall. Teammate Randy Batista doubled into the left centerfield gap, scoring Abreu for the early 1-0 Hurricane advantage.
Miami added its second run in the top of the fourth when Batista hit a triple high off the left field wall. The next batter, Jacob Heyward, delivered a single into left to plate Batista for the 2-0 edge.
Nieporte opened the fourth inning with a single down the left field line, his second hit of the day. Two batters later, Busby knotted the game at two-all with a 399-foot home run blast over the centerfield wall.
John Sansone led off the fifth inning for the Noles by reaching on a hit by pitch. It was the second time that he was struck on the day as he passed Karl Jernigan to become FSU’s all-time hit by pitch leader. After Miami issued an intentional walk to Cal Raleigh, Nieporte hit a two-run single to right field to give the Seminoles the 4-2 lead.
Miami loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth, knotting the game at 4-4 on a single to left centerfield by Edgar Michelangeli that scored the tandem of Abreu and Batista.
FSU will send redshirt senior Mike Compton (5-3, 4.42 ERA) to the mound to face Clemson’s Brooks Crawford (3-0, 3.07).