Jack Anderson helps lead No. 22 Florida State to victory over Mercer
Mercer's recent history against Florida State hadn't been too kind as the Bears lost their last 25 games against the Seminoles.
Mercer's losing streak extended to 26 games after Wednesday night.
No. 22 FSU (13-8, 8-7 in ACC) defeated Mercer 8-1 (13-11, 2-1 in SoCon) at Dick Howser Stadium. The victory snapped the Seminoles two-game losing streak.
After virtually no offense the entire night, the Seminoles scored eight runs in the bottom of the seventh and that proved to be the difference in the game.
"Proud of the guys," FSU head coach Mike Martin Jr. said after the game. "When things weren't going our way and we made a couple of mistakes, they kept pushing.
"They know they're made for big innings and that's what I've always tried to instill in them and we broke it open in the seventh."
Jack Anderson pitched 6.2 innings of perfect ball until Brandon Michie not only got the Bears first hit of the game but also gave Mercer a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh.
Martin Jr. said he decided to take Anderson out because his count was at 81 pitches.
"We hadn't stretched him out as I think we had gotten him to 55-60 maybe," Martin Jr. said. "As soon as the home run happened, I wanted him out of the game."
After Anderson was replaced, Mercer continued to hit as FSU gave up two consecutive hits, but the Seminoles got out of the inning only down by one.
In the bottom of the seventh, FSU's offense responded as Elijah Cabell hit a two-run homer that put the Seminoles up 2-1. The runs continued for FSU as Wyatt Crowell's first career triple extended the Seminoles lead to 3-1. 12 FSU batters came to the plate in the seventh, as the Seminoles extended their lead to 8-1.
Player of the game
Cabell's two-run home run opened up an offensive explosion. His homer made the game 2-1 in the seventh. Cabell also hit a two-run single later in the inning to extend the Seminoles lead.
Recently, Cabell has been hot as last week against Wake Forest, his pinch-hitter two-run single in the seventh inning gave the Seminoles a 2-1 victory. Entering Wednesday's game, Cabell was hitting .270 with three home runs and eight RBIs.
"That guy is so talented,' Martin Jr. said about Cabell. "His power and speed are real and he can throw. He can defend, he can do everything."
On the bump
With Carson Montgomery pitching on Sunday, the Seminoles decided to give Anderson the ball on Wednesday night. In his first start of the season, Anderson pitched 6.2 innings after giving up one earned run and one hit.
Tyler Ahearn relieved Anderson in the bottom of the seventh as the Seminoles hoped he could get them out of the inning quickly. Anderson said he never worried about if that home run he gave up would be the difference in the game.
"I didn't have a drop of doubt that the guys on the team always have my back and they've proven over and over again that they're reliable and they fight to the last pitch," Anderson said.
"I came out and I didn't have a doubt in my mind that we were going to win that game."
But after two consecutive hits, FSU head coach Mike Martin Jr. pulled Ahearn in favor of Clayton Kwiatkowski (1-1), who not only got the win but was able to get out of a seventh-inning jam.
Kwiatkowski pitched 1.1 innings while striking out three batters.
Brandon Walker was the last pitcher of the night for FSU as he sat down the side in order to close the game out.
FSU will be back in action on Friday night as that will be the beginning of a three-game series at Dick Howser Stadium against North Carolina (13-10, 8-7).
The Tar Heels are coming off four consecutive losses. UNC lost three home games to NC State and a road at East Carolina on Wednesday night.
Friday's game will begin at 6 p.m, while Saturday's and Sunday's game will start at 2 p.m. and noon.
Reach Antwan Staley at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.
No one covers the ‘Noles like the Tallahassee Democrat. Subscribe using the link at the top of the page and never miss a moment.