Playing in rain throughout, No. 5 FSU used a four-run eighth inning to rally past USF 5-2 at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee on Tuesday night.
FSU’s Steven Wells doubled inside the left-field line to score one in the bottom of the eighth to break the 1-1 tie. The double was the Seminoles’ only hit of the inning, but they still entered the ninth with a 5-1 advantage.
Before FSU’s eighth-inning rally, in the top of the inning, a crucial double play was turned by the Seminoles, which got the crowd back into the game that hadn’t had a single run scored since the top of the second.
With USF’s David Villar on first with no outs, Carson Ragsdale hit a ground ball to third base. FSU third baseman Drew Mendoza fielded the ball, threw to first and got Ragsdale out, then retreated back to his bag to catch and tag out Villar, who was attempting to go from first to third on the play.
“When (Villar) came around second, I just saw him out of the corner of my eye,” Mendoza said. “(First baseman) Rhett put the throw on the money. I wasn’t expecting that, but it definitely worked out. It brought our fans and the team back into the game.”
USF (1-3) would get one run back in the top of the ninth after Alec Wisely batted into a fielder's choice, scoring Tyler Dietrich. With runners on the corners, two outs and Kyle Phillips at the plate, USF was one swing away from tying the game at five.
Instead of completing a ninth-inning comeback, as the Bulls did in their 4-2 win over FSU last season, FSU’s Gage Hutchinson struck out Phillips, ending the game.
USF outhit the Seminoles 7-5, with two of the Bulls' hits coming from Chris Chatfield. Chatfield, a junior, leads the team with a .438 average and five hits in his last eight at-bats.
The loss was USF’s third in a row. All three losses, however, came against top 10 teams.
The Bulls will return home Friday at 7 p.m. for the start of a three-game series against Fordham (1-1-1). Fordham’s tie, which came on Feb. 18, was a result of a travel time limit.