LOUISVILLE, Ky. (theACC.com) – Florida State continued to be Louisville’s nemesis.
Sophomore starter Tyler Horton delivered a solid performance on the mound, and Matt Henderson and Jackson Lueck each drove in a pair of runs to key the eighth-seeded Seminoles to a 6-2 win over the top-seeded Cardinals in Friday’s decisive Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship Pool A contest.
A crowd of 8,843 at Louisville Slugger Park saw FSU (37-20) advance to Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal game against ninth-seeded Duke (30-27). The teams did not meet during the regular season.
FSU is 4-0 in the city of Louisville over the last eight days, with three wins coming against the Cardinals (47-10), who finished atop the ACC Atlantic Division. The Seminoles defeated Louisville twice to close the regular season and edged Notre Dame on Wednesday in its ACC Championship opener.
While the Seminoles advance, Louisville – ranked No. 5 nationally – will await the upcoming announcements regarding the 2017 NCAA Tournament field. The 16 regional host sites will be revealed on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, between 8:30 and 9 p.m. on Sunday. On Monday, the full field of 64 teams will be announced on ESPN2 at noon.
Holton, a five-team ACC Pitcher of the Week and a first-team all-conference selection, allowed four hits in eight innings and one earned run. He walked just one batter while striking out 10.
Holton (9-2) also received a defensive gem from centerfielder J.C. Flowers, whose sprawling catch of a shot off the bat of the Cardinals’ Pat Rumoro ended the fourth inning and saved two runs.
The Seminoles grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against Louisville starter Kade McClure (7-3). Taylor Walls led off with a walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch, and doubles by Dylan Busby and Quincy Nieporte produced FSU’s second run.
The Cardinals picked up an unearned run off Holton in the bottom of the third, but Henderson’s two-run single a half-inning later pushed the Seminoles’ lead to 4-1.
ACC Player of the Year Brendan McKay led off the bottom of the sixth with his 17th home run of the year and second of the Championship. His 412-foot blast to right-center pulled the Cardinals to within 4-2.
But Holton closed the door from there, and Lueck’s two-run single in the top of the ninth nailed it down for the Seminoles.
U of L baseball has been dominant in the regular season since joining the ACC, but have struggled in the conference tournament. Close to 9,000 fans at Louisvile Slugger Field as the Cards took on Florida State.
The 'Noles jumped on UofL early. Already 1-0 in the first when FSU's, Quincy Nieporte doubles to right, scoring Dylan Busby, 2-0 Florida State. 'Noles leading 2-1 in the fourth when Matt Henderson singles to right, scoring two, 4-1 F-S-U. Same score in the sixth when Brendan McKay drills a 412 foot solo shot, but that would be all the runs UofL could get. They fall 6-2, ending their run in the A-C-C Tournament.
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