Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 3rd inning Friday night, NC State pounded out a 7-run frame to propel the Wolfpack to a 14-3 series opening win over Florida State. The win moves the Wolfpack to 6-9 in ACC play while the Seminoles drop to 4-12.
FSU starting pitcher Jackson Baumeister cruised through the first two frames, facing the minimum and throwing just 20 pitches. A two-run Nander De Sedas home run in the top of the 2nd inning put the Seminoles out to a lead that seemed like it might hold for the entirety of the game with the way Baumeister was throwing, but the highly regarded righty wouldn’t make it out of the third inning as the Wolfpack bats came alive.
Eli Serrano led off the bottom of the third with a flared double to shallow left centerfield on the heels of a nine-pitch at bat. Parker Nolan followed with a single to left field to put two in scoring position for Kalae Harrison, who responded in a big way with a two-strike triple into the right field corner to tie the game. Will Marcy pushed Harrison across with a groundout to third base to put the Wolfpack ahead, a lead they would not relinquish.
State’s third inning wasn’t done there, though, as Gino Groover, Jacob Cozart, and Trevor Candelaria worked back-to-back-to-back walks to signal the end of Baumeister’s evening. Baumeister threw 38 pitches in the frame while recording just a single out. Payton Green extended the Pack’s lead with a bases-clearing double.
Serrano sent the next pitch into centerfield for an RBI single and a 7-2 NC State lead.
NC State tacked on another run in the 5th inning via a Serrano one-out walk, a Nolan bunt single, and a Marcy fisted single into right field.
Wolfpack starting pitcher Dom Fritton continued to cruise on the mound, with FSU hitters only getting a pair of good swings on him in the game. The first was the aforementioned second inning De Sedas home run, an 0-2 breaking ball that was hung out over the heart of the plate. The other mistake was a first-pitch fastball down the middle of the plate to Jaime Ferrer to start the sixth inning, with Ferrer depositing it over the visitor bullpen in left field for a solo shot.
Fritton racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts over his 6.0 innings of work, earning the second win of the freshman’s career. It was a magnificent outing for the lefty. He tossed 99 pitches in total and did not issue a free pass after the first inning.
With Fritton and Justin Lawson (2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) quieting the Seminole bats, NC State’s offense busted out for another big inning in the 8th, pushing six more runs across to blow the game completely open. Marcy and Groover notched a pair of one-out singles to get things going, and Cozart plated the first run of the inning with a double into right field. Groover scored on a wild pitch before Serrano and Nolan each tallied two-RBI hits in the inning to plate the remaining Pack runs.
The defensive play of the game came courtesy of Groover in the 9th inning. I’m sure you’ll see this today on any sports highlight show.
NC State bats accounted for six extra-base hits on the day (five doubles, one triple), with six different hitters chipping in. Marcy (3-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI), Serrano (3-for-4, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB), and Nolan (3-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB) led the way at the plate with multi-hit games. Groover (1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB), Cozart (1-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB), Candelaria (1-for-4, 2 R, BB), and Green (1-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB) each reached base safely multiple times in the game.
The Wolfpack will go for the series win Saturday night at 7:00pm on the ACC Network. Conner Whittaker will be on the mound for FSU, while it’s unclear who will get the nod for NC State.