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NC State Opens ACC Tournament With 7-0 Win Over FSU

NC State takes its tournament opener:

Mazzoni (5-6) gave up leadoff hits in the first and second innings, but pitched out of early trouble both times. After allowing a double to FSU’s Jayce Boyd to start the second, he struck out the side. He allowed another double in the game and pitched out of a one-out jam in the bottom of the seventh to keep his shutout going.

The right hander was particularly tough on Florida State senior Mike McGee, striking out the ACC’s reigning career leader in batting average (.346), slugging percentage (.619), home runs (52) and RBIs (237) in each of his first three trips to the plate.

Lefty D.J. Thomas relieved Mazzoni in the seventh, preserving the lead with two scoreless innings.

Mazzoni threw a lot of pitches in the early going--his pitch count was well over 30 after two innings--but he found the groove after that and made a lot of Florida State hitters look foolish. He retired 15 of 16 during the game's middle portions.

While Avent chose to go with his #1 starter, Florida State rolled the dice and went with the reliever-by-committee approach for game one. It paid off for the first four innings or so, but NC State's hitters eventually got to the Seminoles' pitching. A fielding error helped the Pack score three in the fifth, and Matt Bergquist padded the lead with a two-run home run down the left field line in the seventh.

That Avent went with Mazzoni could be a sign that he decided to adjust his strategy after last year. If you remember, Avent started Alex Sogard in the first game and saved his top two starters for the other two games, which ultimately meant that Sogard had to start the ACC title game. Now, should we get there, we'll have our best pitcher on three days' rest.

NC State plays Georgia Tech tomorrow night at 7 PM.