Photo credit: Florida State athletics
In his 40 years as Florida State head coach, Mike Martin saw plenty of thrilling moments. That included numerous walk-off wins and plenty in the NCAA Tournament.
One of those happened on this day five years ago as the Seminoles started the 2015 Tallahassee Regional on the right foot. In the 10th inning, it was Josh Delph who played the role of hero. Delph’s walk-off single would deliver the Seminoles past Mercer, 5-4.
Setting the Stage
FSU had swept through the ACC Tournament to get the opportunity to host a regional. The regional kicked off on May 29, 2015 at Dick Howser Stadium.
Facing the regional’s top seed in the opener was No. 4 seed Mercer. Like FSU, the Bears had swept through their conference tournament. Mercer had defeated Samford for the Atlantic Sun crown to earn the automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
In the Tallahassee Regional opener for both teams, Mercer gave FSU all it wanted.
Neither team had scored since the third inning as the contest went to the bottom of the 10th tied, 4-4. Mercer however, had its chances.
The Bears put runners on the corners with no outs in the sixth before FSU’s Dylan Silva worked out of the jam. In the top of the inning, Mercer put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but FSU closer Billy Strode struck out Howard Joe to end the threat.
After a strong ACC Tournament showing, outfielder Ben DeLuzio got the Seminoles started in the 10th with a single. Taylor Walls then reached on a throwing error. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Danny De La Calle. That set the stage for Delph.
Facing Mercer’s Dimitri Kourtis and a drawn-in infield, Delph worked the count full. On the 3-2 pitch, Delph ended the contest by pulling a walk-off single through the right side. The final from Tallahassee: FSU 5, Mercer 4.
Walk it off, Josh Delph! #RoadToOmahaFlorida State Seminoles Baseball defeats Mercer University in 10 Innings!
Posted by NCAA Baseball on Friday, May 29, 2015
Prior to Delph’s walk-off, the contest had seen seven scoreless innings. Mercer drew first blood with an unearned run off FSU starter Mike Compton in the second inning. That was short-lived as the Seminoles pushed across four runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Walls plated the first run on an RBI single to score DeLuzio. Walls and Delph would come around to score on a 2-run double by John Sansone. Sansone came around to score on an RBI groundout by D.J. Stewart.
The Bears drew even with three runs in the top of the third. After a pair of sacrifice flies, Joe’s RBI single evened things at four. That’s the way things would stay until Delph came through in the 10th.
Mercer finished with 12 hits to nine for FSU. Catcher Charlie Madden was 3-for-4 for the Bears. Four other Mercer players had two hits.
DeLuzio, Delph, Walls and Sansone all had two hits for the Seminoles in the win. On the mound, Silva and Strode combined to work five scoreless innings of relief. Morgan Pittman allowed just a hit and two walks in 3.2 scoreless innings of relief for Mercer.
Mercer’s stay in Tallahassee would be just two days as result of a couple competitive losses. The following day, the Bears were shut out by Auburn, 1-0.
FSU would again win in its final at-bat the next day. Quincy Nieporte’s eighth-inning home run lifted FSU to a 3-2 win over College of Charleston. The Seminoles recorded an 8-1 win over the Cougars to clinch the regional and a trip to Gainesville.
That would unfortunately be where Florida State’s season ended as it was swept by rival Florida in the Super Regional. Still, the 2015 had some memorable moments. The final walk-off win of the campaign came on this day five years ago.