With a bronze statue of late, legendary baseball coach Ron Fraser unveiled Friday afternoon, and Fraser’s 1985 national champions watching their young counterparts face arch-rival Florida State at night, it was only appropriate the drama continue.
And continue … and continue … and continue – for six hours – until a 17th-inning wild pitch by Derik Beauprez brought home Ben DeLuzio to lift the No. 12 Seminoles to an eventual 8-7 victory over No. 13 Miami in the longest game in Mark Light Field history.
The Hurricanes also played a 17-inning game at Tallahassee in 2000, when the Seminoles won 14-13.
“Such a long game,” UM coach Jim Morris said. “It’s the longest game I’ve ever been involved in also. At the end of the day you would have liked to have hoped that you won that game.
“It would have been nice to get a win the same day the statue went up.”
The Canes (30-12, 15-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) play the Seminoles (32-12, 15-7) again at 7 p.m. Saturday. Friday’s game ended at 1:11 a.m. Saturday.
Will Zirzow, FSU’s eighth pitcher, got the win.
Beauprez, Miami’s eighth pitcher, took the loss.
The Seminoles became only the third team to defeat the Hurricanes at home this season.
“We played hard tonight,” UM second baseman George Iskenderian said. “There’s no doubt about that. We’re going to approach it the same way [Saturday] and hope to come out on the other side.”
On Friday, in the top of the 14th, Taylor Walls’ sacrifice fly drove home Dylan Busby to put FSU up 7-6, but UM proceeded to tie the score for the fourth time of the night.
Iskenderian walked, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an errant throw to third by catcher Danny De La Calle.
In the 13th, D.J. Stewart’s single to right drove home Josh Delph (five hits) to put FSU up 6-5. But UM stormed right back in the bottom of the inning, when Willie Abreu singled and was replaced by pinch-runner Jacob Heyward, who went to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a bunt single by Christopher Barr.
Pinch-hitter Johnny Ruiz then struck out, leaving Ricky Eusebio as the next Canes hero. Eusebio singled to right to drive home Heyward and make it 6-6.
Hurricanes closer Bryan Garcia walked in the go-ahead run with the bases loaded in the 11th to give FSU a 5-4 lead, but the Canes responded in their half of the inning when Barr singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and got home on two wild pitches to Eusebio.
The Hurricanes had plenty of motivation.
It just took a while to respond – and what a response.
Held to one hit through five innings, the Canes scored three runs in the seventh to make it 4-4.
The night began drizzly and stayed damp, as many of the 4,189 fans remained in their seats – and on their feet – until the game appeared as if it would never end.
Florida State held the Hurricanes to one hit through five innings. Right-handed sophomore starter Boomer Biegalski allowed two hits and one unearned run in 5.1 innings before being replaced by lefty Dylan Silva of Lake Worth. He struck out five.
Biegalski’s only sign of weakness came in the fourth when he loaded the bases on walks by Iskenderian, Abreu and Brandon Lopez, but Barr flied out to center to end the threat.
Quincy Nieporte ripped three hits for the Seminoles, two of them doubles, and the other a solo home run. He had two RBI and scored twice – but struck out on a full count with the bases loaded in the 11th.
The Seminoles scored in the second on doubles by Nieporte and Dylan Busby, in the fourth on the homer by Nieporte and in the fifth on a solo home run by De La Calle, followed by Nieporte’s RBI-double.
UM scored an unearned run in the sixth, then followed with runs in the seventh on Carl Chester’s double, an overthrow by Silva to make it 4-2, a single by Zack Collins to make it 4-3 and a sacrifice fly by David Thompson to make it 4-4.
The Seminoles nearly scored the go-ahead run in the eighth, but a brilliant throw by left fielder Chester nailed Walls at home to keep the score knotted at 4.
Chester hit a double that would have brought home Barr for the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the inning, but the ball rolled underneath the fence and it was ruled a ground-rule double. Barr had to return to third and Eusebio grounded out to end the inning.
“I’m disappointed we lost,” Morris said. “We had a lot of opportunities to win the game. Bottom line, if I’m accurate, we made 27 fly-ball outs. We put absolutely no pressure on their defense. We gave them easy outs.
“As a team we battled back numerous times to keep the game going, which is a good thing. But we should have been able to score more runs.”
Asked to comment about the game being the longest ever at Mark Light Field, Iskenderian shook his head.
“I wish it was a win,” he said.