Mendoza's Power Surge Gives FSU Offense A Boost
By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Drew Mendoza had heard about the time Marshall McDougall hit six home runs in a single game at Maryland in 1999.
But it wasn't until Tuesday – the 18-year anniversary of McDougall's still-hard-to-believe feat – the Mendoza actually saw video of it.
Consider the Florida State freshman appropriately impressed.
“I've heard (of) it many times. Until I saw the video today, I couldn't believe it,” Mendoza said. “They weren't just scraping the fence, either.”
A few hours later, Mendoza took the field for FSU's game against Jacksonville and put forth his best McDougall homage.
And although he fell well short of McDougall's mark, which is still a collegiate record, it's hard to complain about the results: two home runs, including a towering grand slam, and six RBIs in a 21-2 FSU victory that ended after 7 ½ innings.
“I got it good, I know that,” Mendoza said of his second homer.
That's a bit of an understatement.
After catching Mendoza off-balance with two changeups in the bottom of the seventh inning, Jacksonville pitcher Andrew Ciocia made a mistake by leaving a curveball up in the zone.
Mendoza responded by hitting the type of home run usually reserved for the likes of Drew, Posey or Ledbetter.
Meaning the type that goes up over the right-field fence and into the night sky, and then seems to disappear before it hits the ground.
“I'd like to know where it landed out there,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “It could very well be in somebody's car that rode by.”
It was Mendoza's fifth home run of the season and fourth in the span of less than two weeks.
Mendoza's other homer on Tuesday, a two-run shot in the fifth inning, was no slouch either. Hit to about the same location as the grand slam, the ball cleared the trees on the other side of the street beyond right field before coming down.
“J.D. (Drew) hit a few in that direction,” Martin said. “I would have to say it's right up there with Drew and (Jeff) Ledbetter.”
Mendoza's night paced an FSU offense that clicked perhaps as well as at any point this season.
The Seminoles (32-18) roughed up six Jacksonville pitchers to the tune of 17 hits and 11 walks while striking out just four times.
And, in a strange quirk, 15 of those 17 hits were singles.
Not that the Seminoles are about to get picky.
“As long as we're putting up 20 runs, it doesn't matter,” junior shortstop Taylor Walls said.
FSU may be finding its offensive stride at just the right time. The Seminoles have scored 49 runs during their current five-game winning streak, and they would do well to continue their hot-hitting this weekend when they meet a Wake Forest team that leads the nation with 79 home runs.
Wake (32-14) ranks 11th in the NCAA's latest Rating Percentage Index and, on the strength of its offense, is enjoying once of its best seasons in years.
"We know they're going to put up runs,” Walls said. “But so are we.”
That's hard to argue after Tuesday.
Mendoza smiled and said he thought about McDougall after hitting his second homer, and how, given the context of his own night at the plate, how impossible it is – or at least should be – to hit six home runs in one game.
After all, Mendoza had about as good of an offensive effort as possible and didn't even come close. He only even registered half the required at-bats.
Then again, there's no harm in trying.
"That's unreal,” he said. “I don't think that's going to happen for a really long time.”