RALEIGH, N.C. – A pair of home runs from NC State pushed the Wolfpack past No. 22 Florida State 4-3 Saturday evening at Doak Field in Raleigh. The Seminoles (21-12, 7-7 ACC) got a seventh-inning home run from junior Rhett Aplin, but NC State (17-15, 6-8) closed the game on a game-ending double play to secure the victory.
“It was a good ball game,” head coach Mike Martin said. “Obviously a disappointing loss, but at the same time, you have to be ready to go tomorrow. Always tough on the road and every mistake we made, they took advantage of.”
Florida State starter Tyler Holton (4-1) was tabbed with the loss after allowing four runs on a pair of home runs – a three-run shot in the first off the bat of Evan Mendoza, and a solo home run that proved to be the game winner to lead off the fourth inning from Brad Debo.
Holton added six strikeouts and had just one walk in the game.
Trailing 4-0, FSU got one run back in the fifth. Drew Mendoza extended his hitting streak to four games with a leadoff single, followed by a J.C. Flowers single. After Hank Truluck advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, Matt Henderson’s sacrifice fly got the Seminoles on the board.
In the seventh, Flowers walked and the Seminoles chased NC State starter Brian Brown (1-0). With Tommy DeJuneas on the mound, Martin had Aplin pinch hit for Truluck. Aplin hit an opposite field home run that scored Flowers and shrunk the Wolfpack lead to 4-3.
Behind Holton, relievers Clayton Kwiatkowski and Chase Haney each pitched 1.1 innings and had one strikeout without allowing a run.
In the ninth, Nick Derr and Mendoza each walked, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Flowers popped up in foul territory, and Aplin grounded out to second base to start the game-ending double play.
The series finale will take place Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Florida State will throw left-hander Drew Parrish (3-1, 3.79 ERA) and NC State will counter with right-hander Mike Bienlien (1-1, 4.45 ERA).
Fans can watch the game on ACC Network Extra or listen to Eric Luallen live on 106.1 FM in Tallahassee.
– Starting pitcher Tyler Holton allowed a pair of home runs Saturday. He entered the game having allowed just one home run through his first seven starts (at Virginia Tech).
– Florida State had two runners picked off in the first inning. FSU had only been picked off two times in 2017 entering the game.
– Catcher Cal Raleigh caught Will Wilson attempting to steal in the third inning. Raleigh has now thrown out 12 of 24 base runners on the season, and 8 of 15 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
– Matt Henderson’s sacrifice fly in the fifth was his team-high seventh sacrifice of the season (5 sac bunts, 2 sac flies).
– Rhett Aplin’s pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning made the score 4-3 NC State. Aplin is now 1-for-4 as a pinch hitter on the season, and it is FSU’s second pinch-hit home run this season (Hank Truluck vs. Oakland, March 3). Aplin also tied Quincy Nieporte for the team lead with six home runs on the year.
For more information on Florida State baseball, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSUBaseball), Facebook (/FSUBaseball), and Instagram (@NoleBaseball).