College baseball: Florida State rallies to win high-profile series against No. 4 Clemson
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Senior Alec Byrd pitched the final three innings without allowing an earned run, and FSU scored two in the seventh inning to beat No. 3 Clemson 7-6 Monday evening on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. Cal Raleigh launched his fifth home run of the season to break a 5-5 tie, and Byrd forced three ground ball outs in the ninth as FSU took 2-of-3 from the Tigers.
“I told our ball club that yes, we are proud of what we accomplished,” head coach Mike Martin said. “To say that we are back — no. We have a lot of work to do … but we just kept battling.”
Noles win the series against the No. 4 Clemson Tigers!— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) April 18, 2017
Winning pitcher: Alec Byrd (2-1)
Up next: Stetson on Wednesday at 6 pm pic.twitter.com/Y9gbjLMLtg
For the third consecutive game, Clemson scored in the first inning on Seth Beer’s third home run of the series. Drew Parrish, FSU’s starting pitcher, settled in after allowing that home run, retiring 10 of the next 11 hitters without allowing another run.
Florida State took the lead with two runs in the third inning and three in the fourth. In the third, singles from Matt Henderson and J.C. Flowers at the bottom of the lineup paved the way for Jackson Lueck’s fielder’s choice. Lueck’s ball hit back to the pitcher should have retired Henderson at home, but Clemson catcher Chris Williams’ foot was never on the plate and Henderson was ruled safe.
With the extra out, Quincy Nieporte’s sacrifice fly scored Flowers.
In the fourth, Dylan Busby hit a three-run double to right center field, scoring Taylor Walls, Flowers and Henderson. Busby hit a three-run home run on Sunday and also had three RBI on Saturday.
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In the fifth, Drew Carlton took over for Parrish with runners on first and second and one out and got Logan Davidson swinging before Beer lined out to Henderson at second base.
Carlton did run into trouble in the sixth, however: he allowed a pair of solo home runs to Williams and pinch hitter Robert Jolly, the latter of which tied the game at 5-5. Entering the game, Carlton had not allowed a home run on the season.
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Byrd (2-1) entered the game in the seventh inning with runners on first and second and no outs in relief of Carlton. Byrd allowed a single to Beer, Clemson’s cleanup hitter, but a perfect throw from Rhett Aplin in right field retired Reed Rohlman at the plate to keep the Tigers off the board. Williams grounded out and Andrew Cox struck out swinging to keep the game tied.
After Byrd and the Seminole defense kept Clemson at bay in the seventh, Raleigh’s solo home run in the bottom of the frame gave FSU a 6-5 lead. A Walls’ walk later in the inning with the bases loaded gave FSU its final run of the game.
First pitch from Hennessy - bye bye!— FSU Baseball (@FSUBaseball) April 18, 2017
5, 6 | B7 pic.twitter.com/Ouu2bpNRFa
Clemson tacked on an unearned run in the eighth, but Byrd struck out Rohlman to end the inning.
In the ninth, Byrd sandwiched three groundouts around a Williams single to earn his second win of the year and give FSU its marquee series win of the season.
Clemson starter Pat Krall did not factor in the decision, throwing 5.1 innings and allowing five unearned runs to remain a perfect 6-0. Jacob Hennessy (1-1) picked up the loss after allowing Raleigh’s home run without recording an out.
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- Matt Henderson had another hit Monday and finished the series vs. Clemson 6-for-10. He entered the series against the Tigers with 16 hits on the year.
- Quincy Nieporte’s sacrifice fly in the third inning was his fifth of the season. He leads the team in sac flies and RBI (44).
- Dylan Busby’s three-run double in the fourth was his team-high 10th of the year, tying Cal Raleigh.
- Clemson’s two home runs in the sixth inning were the first two Drew Carlton has allowed this season.
- The FSU pitching staff allowed just one walk while striking out nine. Clemson, which entered the game leading the nation with a 4.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio, tallied seven of each.
- Alec Byrd set a season high with three innings pitched.
- FSU improves to 5-3 in one-run games this season.
- Rhett Aplin’s outfield assist in the seventh inning was his fourth of the year. As a team, FSU has six on the season.