TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s tandem of Quincy Nieporte and Taylor Walls combined for six RBI and two home runs as they led the Seminoles (28-11, 13-4 ACC) to a sweep of Notre Dame (23-15, 9-10) following an 11-6 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Nieporte, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a home run on Sunday, capped off the three-game series by hitting 7-of-14 (.500 batting average) with 10 RBI, four runs, three doubles, three home runs and a .500 on-base percentage. Walls ended the third game by going 2-for-4 with four RBI, three runs and his first career grand slam.
Jackson Lueck was also a vital part of the offense as he finished 2-for-4 with three RBI in the final game against the Irish. The trio of Lueck, Nieporte and Walls assisted the Seminoles, who posted their third ACC series win on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium this season, in topping the double figure mark for the 15th time this season.
“Individually this weekend was a confidence boost for me, but ultimately it just shows how this team is,” said Nieporte. “Even though I wasn’t swinging the bat well early on we were having team success. Now that I am able to get my bat going it just shows how good this team can be when we are all clicking.”
Tyler Holton (2-2) took over for starter Cole Sands with one out in the fourth inning and preceded to hold Notre Dame to two hits and two walks while striking out five Fighting Irish batters. He was followed by Jim Voyles, who left the game after being struck in the head, and Matthew Kinney, who combined to allow three hits and one earned run.
Notre Dame capitalized on three FSU errors, including a potential inning-ending out at first, as it established a 5-0 lead behind five unearned runs in the first inning.
Florida State’s offense caught fire in the fifth inning when Matt Henderson reached on a hit by pitch and both Walls and John Sansone followed with a walk. Lueck drove a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Henderson and Walls, to give the Seminoles their first runs of the afternoon.
After the Irish defense picked off Sansone at second, Cal Raleigh plated Lueck from first with a double down the right field line. Two pitches later Nieporte capped off the five-run rally with a two-run home run over the left field wall, marking his third home run in as many games, knotting the game at 5-5.
Nick Graganella led off the sixth inning with a single to third, becoming the first of three straight FSU hitters to record a hit along with Henderson and Walls. With Henderson at third, following a wild pitch, Sansone provided the one-run lead with a sacrifice fly to left field. Lueck also connected on a single to left, bringing Walls home from third, as FSU stretched the advantage to 7-5.
The lead ballooned to six runs in the bottom of the sixth after back-to-back hits by Petrey and Graganella put two runners on base with one out. Henderson drew a walk to load the bases before Walls connected on his third career home run, first grand slam, over the left field wall for an 11-5 lead.
“It was a great win for us today,” said head coach Mike Martin. “Cole Sands did not pitch poorly, but we just didn’t do what we normally do on defense. To fall five runs down, maintain our poise and continue to make good at-bats, I just can’t say enough about what this team has done thus far.”
***Courtesy FSU Athletics