TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — No. 17 Florida State (15-3) had to overcome a three-run deficit on three difference occasions Wednesday night using a seven-run seventh to grab the lead for good as the Seminoles defeated No. 12 UCF (14-4) 15-11 on Wednesday night to sweep the two-game mid-week series against Knights on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.
“Our guys weren’t satisfied with only getting a win on Tuesday,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said.
Quincy Nieporte had a monster night at the plate going 4-for-4 with two home runs and a pair of singles as he finished the game with three runs scored and seven RBI. The sophomore first baseman drove in all seven runs in his first two at-bats after seeing just two pitches.
“Quincy has really been a great addition to our team,” said Martin. “He struggled a little bit early, got a chance to play today and I’ve been impressed with his approach at the plate. That was quite the display today, I am very proud of him.”
With two on and no outs in the second and the Seminoles trailing by three, Nieporte crushed the first offering from UCF starter Harrison Hikaru over the fence in left for a three-run shot and his first home run as a Seminole.
Then in the third Nieporte stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and proceeded to take the first pitch from reliever Zach Rodgers out of the park to left center for a grand slam and his second round tripper in as many at-bats.
“There was no surprise I was struggling early on in the season,” said Nieporte. “I was just waiting for one of these days where everyone was kind of clicking as a team. I couldn’t have had the day I had without everyone in front of me doing their job as well.
“I was just doing what I’ve been doing my whole life and that is hit a pitch I can drive, bring in some runs and spark some offense. It was a great team offensive win.”
Nieporte became the first Seminole to record at least seven RBI in a game since Buster Posey knocked in seven against Miami on April 28, 2007.
Florida State’s four-run lead was short lived as UCF scored seven unanswered over the fourth and fifth innings off reliever Drew Carlton to take a 10-7 lead.
Enter Alex Deise, who was called upon with no outs and a runner on in the fifth, to cool down a fired up UCF offense. After the first two Knight hitters reached on a single and a fielding error, Deise recorded a strikeout and an inning ending double play to retire the side.
Deise (1-0) would give up just two more hits the rest of the way en route to a masterful 5.0 innings in relief in which he finished with a career-high six strikeouts. The only run he allowed came off the bat of Logan Heiser, who deposited a 1-2 pitch out to left in the seventh for his second home run of the night.
“I was hoping that he could give us 2.2 innings and get us into the seventh,” said Martin. “He just kept his poise the whole time even when the guy (Heister) hit the home run. It was a good pitch (that he threw). But what did he do, he kept his poise, pitched five innings and gave up three hits, that’s quite an accomplishment.”
The Seminoles got exactly what they needed from Deise who kept the UCF offense at-bay allowing Florida State to stay within striking distance.
“I can’t say enough about Alex Deise,” added Martin. “He is a guy that hasn’t gotten many innings yet he goes out there and totally shuts them down. That is quite an accomplishment because they were literally wearing the ball out. We were sitting over there wondering what do we do now.”
The Florida State offense rewarded Deise with a seven-run seventh in which the Seminoles collected seven hits including a two-run single from Ben DeLuzio, a pinch-hit RBI single from Hank Truluck, an RBI bloop single to center from Taylor Walls and a two-run double down the line in left off the bat of John Sansone.
With the Seminoles holding a 15-11 advantage, Deise worked the eighth and ninth innings allowing just one hit, while collecting three of his six strikeouts including two in back-to-back at-bats to end the game.
“They are a good hitting team, the only thing you can do out there is try and mix speeds with location and pray for the best,” said Deise. “It was good (the change-up), bounced a few and one guy hit a home run but other than that I felt pretty good.”
UCF’s Trent Thompson (0-2) suffered the loss as he allowed six of the seven runs in the seventh as the sophomore right hander lasted just 0.1 innings.
Making his second consecutive start as the Seminole designated hitter, Chris Marconcini reached base in four of his five plate appearances as he walked three times and opened the bottom of the seventh with a single through the right side. Marconcini crossed the plate four times on Wednesday. DeLuzio tied a career-high with three RBI.
Florida State starter Bryant Holtmann did not factor into the decision on Wednesday as the senior southpaw allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits as he walked two and struck out two in 2.2 innings.
With the win, Florida State improved to 30-6 all-time against UCF and 7-0 when facing a ranked Knights’ team. The Seminoles also extended their win streak to 11 in a row and remained perfect at home with a 14-0 mark.