Lacey, Cabell, Nelson power Seminoles to regional victory over Southern Miss, 5-2
OXFORD, Miss. (WCTV) - Florida State used three home runs to left field to power their way past Southern Miss with a 5-2 win Friday afternoon to open the Oxford Regional.
Friday’s win marks the fourth-straight Regional-round victory for the Seminoles, dating back to the 2019 Athens Regional.
FSU trailed 2-0 and had just two hits entering the top of the sixth inning and had put a leadoff hitter on just once before Tyler Martin reached on a fielding error by USM right-fielder Reece Ewing, who lost a routine fly ball in the sun, letting Martin take two bases.
Former Godby High School and Tallahassee Community College standout Logan Lacey followed up Martin with just the third hit of the game for the Seminoles, a two-run home run over the left field wall to tie the game at 2-2.
Two batters later, Elijah Cabell hit a two-out, solo shot, also over the left field fence to give the Seminoles their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Cabell’s shot could have done more damage if not for a bit of tough luck for the Seminoles: Matheu Nelson followed Lacey’s home run with a walk and took second on a wild pitch with Robby Martin at the plate.
Martin, though, lined out to USM first baseman Christopher Sargent, who threw out Nelson at second base after he left the bag on contact and got caught between the second and third base bag.
FSU added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning on the 23rd home run of the season by Matheu Nelson, bringing home Lacey who set the table with a leadoff double, extending the Seminoles lead to 5-2.
USM threatened to get a run back in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Golden Eagle second baseman Will McGillis ripped a two-out double against Jack Anderson (S, 5) and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but was left there when Anderson struck out Blake Johnson swinging.
It was a rough start to the game for the Seminole defense, who committed two errors and allowed two runs before the first out of the game was recorded.
Southern Miss’s Gabe Montenegro opened the game with a routine ground ball to Jackson Greene at second base, but it went right between his legs into the outfield for a fielding error.
After a Reed Trimble single, which moved Montenegro into scoring position, Charlie Fischer roped a hard-hit ball off the glove of Lacey at third that trickled into left field and scored Montenegro from second base, giving the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Sargent followed with an RBI single to plate Trimble and give USM a 2-0 lead.
Despite the rocky first inning for FSU starter Parker Messick (W, 8-2), he calmed down considerably over his final five innings of work, retiring the Golden Eagles in order on two occasions and allowing just one hit in an inning on another occasion.
The only serious trouble Messick fell into after the first came in the second inning, when he allowed back-to-back singles to start the frame but subsequently struck out the side looking to end the inning.
Messick left the game after 6.0 innings, allowing just the two first inning runs (neither of which were earned) and seven hits while walking none and striking out five.
Hunter Perdue, Jonah Scolaro and Jack Anderson combined to close out the game for the Noles, going 3.0 innings, allowing just two combined hits and striking out three.
While Messick eased into the game for FSU, the Seminole offense wore down USM starter Hunter Stanley (L, 6-4) throughout his start.
Stanley opened the day retiring 11 of the first 12 hitters he faced before allowing a two-out double against Martin in the bottom of the fourth.
While Martin was left stranded, the Noles continued to get good contact against Stanley, eventually tagging him for the three runs on two hits in the top of the sixth.
Stanley allowed just four hits over his 6.0 innings of work, surrendering three runs (one earned) while walking a pair and striking out six.
Ben Ethridge and Justin Storm worked the final 3.0 innings of relief for USM, combing to allow three hits, two runs, two walks and a strikeout.
The Seminoles will play again Saturday night against the winner of Friday night’s game between Ole Miss and Southeast Missouri State. First pitch Saturday is set for 6 p.m. TV information has not been released yet.
The Golden Eagles will play the Rebels/Redhawks loser at 12 p.m. on Saturday in an elimination game.
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