TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sophomore Jackson Lueck was 4-for-5 with four runs batted in, none bigger than his walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, as FSU beat Sam Houston State 7-6 in the first game of the Tallahassee Super Regional Saturday afternoon on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles outslugged the Bearkats, 13-7, and all 20 hits in the game were singles.
Lueck continued an impressive run through the NCAA Tournament, now hitting 10-for-24 with a double, home run, and eight RBI. Lueck's walk-off was the fifth of his career and third this season, and his four hits were a career high.
Sam Houston State, under third-year head coach Matt Deggs, was playing in its first Super Regional ever, and quickly took a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Florida State ace Tyler Holton. The first three hitters of the game reached on a walk, single, and fielding error from Holton that loaded the bases. Holton retired the next two via strikeout, but Jaxxon Grisham was hit by a pitch, and Hunter Hearn's two-run single pushed the lead to three.In the second, Sam Houston State added another unearned run on Andrew Fregia's groundout, scoring Riley McKnight. Holton's second error of the game, on a failed pickoff attempt that sailed into center field, advanced two runners into scoring position before Fregia's RBI.
Bearkat starting pitcher Kyle Backhus went just two innings, allowing a run in the second inning on Steven Wells single to score Cal Raleigh.
Both teams scored a run in the third but could have had more. With the bases loaded and one out, Taylor Beene dropped a sacrifice bunt down that scored Grisham from third, but Hearn also tried to score from second and was easily thrown out at the plate. In the bottom half, Taylor Walls walked, Dylan Busby singled and Lueck singled to make the score 5-2. With two runners on base and no outs, Quincy Nieporte grounded to third for the start of a 5-4-3 double play that halted the FSU momentum.
After a rocky first few innings, Holton faced the minimum in the middle innings, finishing with seven strikeouts and two earned runs (six total runs) allowed in 6.2 innings. The Bearkats added a run in the seventh on a bases loaded walk that ended Holton's day.
Trailing 6-3, Florida State tied the game in the seventh inning, starting with a two-out bunt single from Walls to extend the inning. After Busby walked, Lueck, Nieporte and Raleigh each had RBI singles. Nieporte was picked off second base to end the inning.
Chase Haney relieved Holton in the seventh, retiring all three batters he faced. Closer Drew Carlton (5-4) allowed a two-out single in the eighth, but retired the next four batters in his team-high 33rd appearance of the season.
The Bearkats also went to their closer in the eighth, bringing in Nick Mikolajchak with one out in the inning. Working out of trouble in the eighth, Mikolajchak allowed a single from Walls and hit Busby with a pitch before Lueck's walk-off single.
The win was FSU's first walk-off win in the Super Regional since Mike McGee's walk-off home run in game one against Vanderbilt in 2010. FSU has won game one of a Super Regional five times in 16 opportunities, and have advanced to Omaha on four of those occasions.