Lueck’s walk-off HR lifts Seminoles past Irish in ACC opener
Florida State sophomore Jackson Lueck picked the perfect time for his first career multi-home run game, finishing 3-for-3 with four RBIs in FSU’s 5-3, 12-inning win over Notre Dame (26-31) in the ACC Championship Wednesday at Louisville Slugger Field. Lueck also added three walks, but his second two-run home run of the game in the bottom of the 12th inning provided the fireworks and kept FSU’s (36-20) chances for a semifinal appearance alive.
“I’ve been blessed to be involved in a number of baseball games at Florida State,” head coach Mike Martin said. “I’ve been on the other end, and I’ve been on the end that we were on tonight. That one was, you might say, one for the ages, with the conditions what they were.”
“Any time you come out with a W, it’s nice,” Lueck said. “But for a game like this it was back and forth, back and forth, and to come out on top is huge. Feels good.”
Inclement weather in the area twice delayed Wednesday’s game – pushing the start back three hours to 2 p.m., and a 40-minute delay in the top of the eighth inning. When the game did begin, both starting pitchers were dominating. Drew Parrish allowed just one run in six innings for the Seminoles, his second superb outing against the Irish this season. In March, the Rockledge, Fla., native allowed just one unearned run in nine innings of FSU’s 5-1 win.
Brad Bass allowed just two hits and three walks in four innings, while striking out three, before being replaced by Brandon Bielak. Nick Podkul’s first of two home runs on the day, in the sixth inning, opened the scoring and gave the Fighting Irish a 1-0 lead. Lueck immediately answered for the Seminoles, however, hitting his first two-run home run of the game after Dylan Busby walked on four pitches in the bottom of the sixth.
With a 2-1 lead, Busby’s two-out double scored Matt Henderson, who also reached on a walk. Busby and Lueck combined for five of FSU’s eight hits on the afternoon.
In the eighth, with rain starting to fall, the Seminoles turned to Jim Voyles. Podkul opened the inning with his second solo home run of the day to shrink the FSU lead to 3-2, and Jake Johnson followed with a single to right field. Closer Drew Carlton took over from Voyles and allowed a one-out double to Ryan Lidge, allowing Johnson to score from first and tie the score at 3-3.
After a ball to the next batter, the field was cleared for a 40-minute rain delay. After the break, Carlton returned to the mound and struck out Daniel Jung looking as Notre Dame left two of its 14 runners on base.
Nick Derr pinch hit for Tyler Holton in the eighth inning, and Steven Wells took over in right field in the top of the ninth. In the 11th inning, Wells had perhaps FSU’s biggest defensive play of the season – a perfect throw to catcher Cal Raleigh on a Matt Vierling fly out to nab Jake Shepski at the plate and end the inning with the score still tied at 3-3.
The FSU pitching staff continually worked out of trouble late in the game as the Fighting Irish left at least one runner on base for the final seven innings. Andrew Karp (2-3) took over for Carlton in the 11th and allowed four hits, but three of the runners were stranded in addition to Shepski’s out at the plate on Wells’ assist.
Sean Guenther (2-6) was great for Notre Dame in relief of Bielak, allowing just three hits in five innings. In the 12th, Guenther recorded two quick strikeouts before Busby singled to center field, and Lueck hit his second-career walk-off home run.
“Our young men were battling. Notre Dame was battling,” Martin said. “I can’t say enough about just the atmosphere in the dugouts, and sometimes you’re a little disappointed that there weren’t a lot of people here to see it. But there were people watching it on TV, and they got their money’s worth.”
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