Back-to-Back Home Runs Lead FSU to Series Win at UNC

Back-to-Back Home Runs Lead FSU to Series Win at UNC
Back-to-Back Home Runs Lead FSU to Series Win at UNC
Posted at 12:00 AM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 00:00:00-04

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Sophomore Nick Derr and junior Jackson Lueck hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, and freshman CJ Van Eyk pitched a career-high 4.1 innings without allowing a run in FSU’s 9-4 win Sunday afternoon at North Carolina. FSU (20-5, 5-4 ACC) won the final two games of the series.

Van Eyk (1-0) allowed just two hits and struck out five on 74 pitches. Starting pitcher Austin Pollock allowed four runs on four hits over the first 4.2 innings.

Josh Hiatt (0-1) allowed five runs in relief, including both of FSU’s eighth-inning home runs. Hiatt entered the weekend have not allowed a run in 25 of his previous 26 outings, but gave up one in FSU’s 6-3 win Friday and five Sunday.

FSU’s top four hitters in the lineup (Derr, Lueck, Rhett Aplin and Cal Raleigh) combined to hit 8-for-16 with eight RBI and four walks. Raleigh, a Cullowhee, N.C., native, reached base on all five plate appearances (3-for-3 with a HR and two walks).

Carolina took a 1-0 lead with a leadoff home run from Cody Roberts, his second of the season. Pollock responded by retiring the next six hitters.

UNC starting pitcher Taylor Sugg allowed a pair of baserunners in the first and second innings but did not allow a run. Sugg walked Lueck and Aplin to start the third inning and was relieved by Brett Daniels, who surrendered a three-run home run to Raleigh on his first pitch, giving FSU a 3-1 lead.

Like Pollock in the first, Daniels retired the next five batters after the home run.

Pollock ran into more trouble in the third inning, giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning, walking Roberts and hitting Michael Busch with the bases loaded to cut FSU’s lead in half. The RBI was Busch’s 37th of the season, most in the country.

With the bases loaded and still no outs, Kyle Datres reached on a fielder’s choice that tied the score at 3-3. After another walk, Pollock got Ben Casparius to strike out looking and Brandon Riley to ground out to end the inning.

Drew Mendoza gave FSU a 4-3 lead with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Aplin doubled and Raleigh singled to put runners at first and third for Mendoza. UNC pitcher Cooper Criswell got the next three batters out to limit the damage.

The Tar Heels again tied the score in the bottom of the inning. Pollock issued two walks and an RBI single to Riley that made the score 4-4. Van Eyk replaced Pollock, walking Ike Freeman to load the bases before striking out Dallas Tessar to end the frame.

Both teams remained scoreless until the eighth inning, when Derr hit FSU’s first grand slam of the season off Hiatt (0-1), followed by a Lueck solo shot. Both players lead FSU with five home runs on the season.

FSU’s eighth inning started with a one-out walk from Steven Wells and a single from J.C. Flowers. Mike Salvatore reached on a fielder’s choice to Zach Gagahan at second base. Gahagan attempted to get Flowers at second base, but shortstop Freeman’s knee collided with Flowers head and both players were down for an extended time.

Flowers exited the game, replaced by Skylar Frey, and Derr took the third pitch after the break over the left field wall to give FSU an 8-4 lead.

Van Eyk pitched a career-high 4.1 scoreless innings, including a perfect 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.

Winning Score

Nick Derr’s first career grand slam broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth inning. Derr has a team-high five home runs (with Jackson Lueck, who went back-to-back with Lueck to provide the final margin) and four home runs over the past seven games.

Of Note
  • Cal Raleigh walked in the first inning to extend his streak of reaching base to a career-high 20 games. His three-run home run in the third inning gave FSU a 3-1 lead and was the 22nd of his career, most among active Seminoles. Raleigh’s three hits today tied a career high (10 times).
  • Raleigh extended his streak of consecutive starts to 149.
  • Steven Wells and Mike Salvatore singled in the second inning. Raleigh, Wells, Salvatore and Jackson Lueck each had hits in all three games this weekend, with Salvatore recording a career-high three in Friday’s second game.
  • Wells walked in the eighth inning, his team-high 25th of the season. Wells combined to draw 28 walks in his first three seasons.
  • Rhett Aplin led off the fifth inning with a double, tying Drew Mendoza for the team lead with nine. Aplin also had a hit in all three games this weekend.
  • Salvatore had eight assists at shortstop, the most for a Seminole this year (Mendoza had six at Wake Forest).
  • Nick Derr and Jackson Lueck hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning. It was the second time this year FSU has hit back-to-back home runs (at Florida) and Derr’s grand slam was FSU’s first of the season. Derr and Lueck lead FSU with five home runs each.
  • FSU’s five runs in the eighth inning are tied for the most in an inning this year (five times total, including Friday vs. UNC).
  • Mendoza’s 16-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 game, but he did have a sacrifice fly for his team-high 24th RBI of the year. Raleigh’s three RBI give him 22 on the season.
  • In all three of FSU’s ACC series this year, the team that has won game one has lost the final two games of the series.
Road to 1,976

FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,964th of his career. He needs just 12 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently only trails the late Augie Garrido (1,975 wins). Martin is 56-29 all-time against the Tar Heels.

Up Next

Florida State heads to Jacksonville for a neutral-site game against Florida at the Jacksonville Baseball Grounds. The game will begin at 6:00 p.m. and air live nationally on the SEC Network with announcers Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson.

Eric Luallen will be on the radio in Tallahassee on 106.1 FM and nationwide on the FSU Gameday App.

For more information on Florida State baseball, check for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSUBaseball), Facebook (/FSUBaseball), and Instagram (@NoleBaseball).