Tampa Bay Sports Day

Mendoza’s Two Home Runs, Six RBI Lead FSU Rout of Jacksonville


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Freshman Drew Mendoza had a pair of home runs and six RBI Tuesday night, leading a Florida State offense that totaled 17 hits and 11 walks in a 21-2 win over Jacksonville on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles (32-18) extended its winning streak to five games as 12 players recorded at least one hit. Starting pitcher Will Zirzow (2-1) earned the win in his third career start in front of 3,716 fans.

“I was pleased with the approach,” head coach Mike Martin said. “We didn’t go through the motions, and you saw that in the last inning with bases loaded and getting out of it…It was a long night, but a good night.”

After a nine-run FSU seventh inning provided the final margin, both coaches agreed that that top of the eighth would be the end of the game. Florida State tied the largest margin-of-victory in the 166-game history of the series (25-6, 1985), scoring in six of the seven innings they batted.

Mendoza’s two home runs were the fourth and fifth of his career, and the six RBI are a career-high and tie for the most by a Seminole this season (Quincy Nieporte at Virginia Tech). Mendoza’s two-run home run in the fifth inning made the score 6-1, while his grand slam in the eighth inning put FSU over the 20-run threshold, and is the fifth grand slam of the season for the Seminoles – Nieporte has the other four.

On the mound, Zirzow pitched four innings in a controlled start, allowing a run on three hits while striking out three. Freshman lefthanders Clayton Kwiatkowski and Grant Stewart pitched three combined innings, while Chase Haney pitched the eighth and worked out of a bases loaded, no out situation to avoid giving up a run.

In total, 12 Seminoles recorded at least one hit, including eight of nine starters; 15 of FSU’s 17 hits were singles (Mendoza’s home runs were the only extra base hits); and Dylan Busby reached base all five times he batted (3-for-3, two walks, RBI, two runs). Busby also stole home as part of a double steal with Jackson Lueck, his second steal of home this season.

After a pair of one-run victories earlier this season against the Dolphins, FSU scored 20 or more runs for the first time since beating Rhode Island 23-4 in the opening weekend in 2016.

For the Dolphins, Mike Cassala (0-3) lost for the third time this season against Florida State. He allowed just three runs in three innings, while five relief pitchers allowed 12 hits and 18 runs in the final four innings.

The JU offense mustered seven hits on the day, with two each coming from Evan Fernandez, Jacob Southern and Ruben Someillan.

Florida State’s five-game winning streak is the second-longest this season, trailing a nine-game streak from February 24-March 8. FSU also swept a season series of at least three games against Jacksonville for the first time since 2006 (five games).

Next Up
Florida State will host its final series of the season at home when No. 21 Wake Forest comes to town. The Demon Deacons sport one of the nation’s top offenses, and Wake took two-of-three from the Noles in Winston-Salem last season.

Among the final-weekend festivities is Senior Day on Friday, celebrating FSU’s six departing seniors – Bryan Bussey, Alec Byrd, Matt Henderson, Quincy Nieporte, Hank Truluck and Jim Voyles.

On Saturday, the baseball team will have Graduation Day after missing the commencement ceremony last weekend. Andrew Karp and Will Zirzow will join the above players and FSU President John Thrasher in an on-field ceremony prior to the game.

FSU will also celebrate Mother’s Day at the park on Sunday, with mother’s joining their sons on the field prior to the game.

Friday and Saturday’s games will begin at 6 p.m., while Sunday’s finale will start at 1 p.m.