After lasting just two games in last year’s Tallahassee Regional, Florida State opened the 2015 NCAA Tournament on the right foot with a walk-off single in a 5-4 10-inning victory over Mercer on Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium.
Senior Josh Delph delivered the final blow with a 1-out single through the right side of the infield to score Ben DeLuzio. The winning run came after six scoreless innings.
Mercer drew first blood in the contest with an unearned run in the top of the 2nd after FSU committed back-to-back errors. The Seminoles (42-19) however, wasted little time answering back.
Florida State scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning. After a Taylor Walls’ single evened the game, second baseman John Sansone put the Seminoles up 3-1 with a 2-run double. He came around to score on a RBI groundout by D.J. Stewart.
The lead for the Seminoles lasted just a half inning as the Bears (35-22) put up a 3-spot in the top half of the third. Danny Edgeworth and Howard Joe had RBI singles in the inning around a RBI sacrifice bunt by catcher Charlie Madden.
Madden had three of the 12 Mercer hits as the Bears outhit the Seminoles 12-9, but were burdened by five errors in the field. DeLuzio, Walls, Delph and Sansone each had two hits and scored for the Seminoles.
Billy Strode picked up the win for Florida State, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Strode pitched out of a jam in the top of the 10th.
Strode took over for Dylan Silva, who allowed just a hit and a walk in 3 1/3 shutout innings. Silva came in for starter Mike Compton with runners on the corners and no one out in the sixth inning, but got the Seminoles to the dugout with no damage done.
Dimitri Kourtis took the loss for the Bears. Despite five errors, all five FSU runs were earned.
The Seminoles will face another extra-innings winner in College of Charleston on Saturday evening. The Cougars topped Auburn 7-6 in 11 innings in the first of two games in Tallahassee on Friday. Auburn will face Mercer in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon.
Featured image courtesy of Florida State athletics