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Nelson’s 3-R HR powers FSU baseball past Bulls

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 22:28:45-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. — Facing its largest deficit of the season, No. 14 Florida State (3-1) scored the final seven runs of the game to beat USF (2-3) 7-3 Tuesday night in front of 4,005 fans at Dick Howser Stadium. Sophomore catcher Mat Nelson’s three-run home run in the sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie.

Senior pitcher Chase Haney (1-0) earned the win with 2.1 innings of shutout ball. Florida State retired 15 of the final 16 batters faced, ending the game with perfect eighth and ninth innings from Jonah Scolaro and Doug Kirkland, respectively.

Nelson finished with four RBI after adding a seventh inning, bases loaded walk. Third baseman Carter Smith had two hits and a two-run single in the fourth inning that cut USF’s lead to 3-2. Freshman leadoff hitter Tyler Martin drew a bases loaded walk later in the frame to even the game at 3-3 through four innings.

The Bulls struck first against FSU starter Jack Anderson. USF drew a walk to start the game and Dontae Mitchell came around to score after a pair of weak singles. USF scored twice more in the third inning when Mitchell singled and JD Dutka walked to end Anderson’s day. Freshman Parker Messick retired two batters with the bases loaded, and FSU was primed to get out of the inning unscathed, but a throwing error in the infield allowed USF to take a 3-0 lead.

USF had just three baserunners over the final six innings, however, as the Seminole bullpen struck out 10 batters, allowed three hits walked just one in relief.

Elijah Cabell reached base three times without a hit (two walks and his third hit-by-pitch of the season). Robby Martin had a pair of singles in the game.

USF starter Nick Davila allowed a hit and two walks, but no runs, in 2.0 innings pitched. The Bulls used four relief pitchers, with Matt Marini (0-1) making his season debut and surrendering the tie-breaking home run to Nelson in the sixth. First baseman Riley Hogan was 3-for-3 for the Bulls; USF’s other hitters combined to hit 3-for-31.


  • Parker Messick struck out the side in the fourth inning, the fifth Seminole in 2020 to have a 3-up, 3-down, 3-strikeout inning. He set career-highs with 2.2 innings pitched and 5 strikeouts.
  • Elijah Cabell was hit by a pitch for the third time this season, tied with Reese Albert for the most on the team. He was hit by a pitch 13 times as a freshman, fourth-most in the ACC.
  • Mat Nelson launched a three-run home run in the sixth inning that broke a 3-3 tie. It was his seventh career home run and FSU’s second of 2020.
  • FSU struck out 12 USF batters. The Noles have struck out 13.5 batters per game in 2020.
  • FSU’s three-run deficit was its largest of the season.
  • Florida State improved to 72-16 all-time against USF, 44-5 against the Bulls in Tallahassee and have won 17 of 18 overall in the series.


Florida State hosts Cincinnati (0-3) for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. FSU is 23-2 all-time against the Bearcats, but the teams have not met since the 1991 season.