FSU Baseball is Omaha bound

The Noles are headed to Omaha for the 23rd time. Somehow, after one of the most up and down FSU baseball seasons in history, the Noles are going back. FSU has now ripped off 6 straight wins and 4 against two of the top teams in the SEC. FSU’s season is one that you can’t put into many, but I know Mike Martin will have a few to sum it up, “We’re going back baby!” FSU did it behind clutch timely hitting and another outstanding performance from CJ Van Eyk and an unlikely pitching hero in Antonio Velez. FSU is alive and well heading to Omaha.

FSU got off to a hot start today, unlike yesterday when the Noles had to overcome a 4-0 deficit. After 2 scoreless innings to start the day from Van Eyk, FSU’s offense put up a crooked number in the bottom of the 2nd. Robby Martin got the rally started with a leadoff walk before JC Flowers got aboard with a perfect bunt single. Carter Smith kept the rally going with a line drive single into CF, before Nander De Sedas got the Noles on the board as he grounded out to 1st and Martin knocked the ball out of the catcher’s glove.

Mat Nelson then drove in his 2nd RBI of the regional with a line drive single into LF. Nelson benefited a lot today after being moved down in the order, both defensively and offensively. The freshman may have been the star of the day for FSU.

The top of the order kept the rally going as Mike Salvatore dropped a bloop single into CF to drive in Smith. FSU was all but in control with Van Eyk on the mound, who had all 3 pitches working on Sunday. Van Eyk was touched for a leadoff HR by Antoine Duplantis in the 4th, but after that, he was in the zone. The HR really got CJ back in his zone with all 3 pitches and he started to work faster throughout the next two innings, retiring the next 6 batters. The FSU lineup also responded to the HR with a run, as Tim Becker came through again. After an infield single from Matt Nelson, Upper Becker drove him in with a double down the LF line on a perfect piece of hitting.

CJ ran into trouble in the 6th, as the top of the LSU order touched him up for 3 straight singles, bringing in a run to make it a 2-run ball game. Mat Nelson then came up with the biggest play of the game. After a groundout, LSU had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, before Nelly caught LSU freshman Giovanni DiGiacomo sleeping. DiGiacomo was too far down the 3B line after a leadoff, and Nelson gunned him down, as Mendoza made a perfect tag for out number 2.

CJ responded to the help with a fly out to end the inning, FSU had silenced the Box and limited the damage. LSU’s bullpen shut down the FSU offense for two more innings in the 6th and 7th. Smith once again led off the 8th with a hit, this time a 2B. 11 decided to leave Van Eyk in the game. The sophomore responded with a strikeout of DiGiacomo before Duplantis came through again with a bloop double to make it a one-run game. Martin made the decision to go to Antonio Velez after the double. Velez gave up an infield single before a ball of the glove of Mendoza tied the game. FSU got the out at 2nd for out #2, before Velez ended the top half with the game still tied.

FSU went down in order in the 8th, but Velez responded with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. After a leadoff walk, FSU couldn’t scratch anything across after a K and a failed hit and run which led to Nelson getting gunned at 2nd. Velez once again worked a scoreless piece, as did Devin Fontenot in the 10th. The 2 pitchers did it back and forth for innings, until the 12th. Mike Salvatore singled with 1 out, moved up to 2nd on a passed ball, and Mendo did it. The junior captain drove in Salvatore walked it off to send the Noles to Omaha.

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