April 4, 2004
Tallahassee, Fla. – No. 10 Florida State (23-9, 6-3 ACC) defeated No. 22 NC State (20-10, 4-5 ACC) by a final score of 10-3 in front of 2,664 fans at Dick Howser Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles scored six runs in the third and four more in the seventh to put away the Wolfpack to win the three-game series 2-1. Derrick Smith’s three-run homer in the third keyed the six-run third inning. Sophomore right-hander Mark Sauls (3-1) pitched a career-long seven innings while striking out six with two walks. Sauls allowed three runs on 10 hits in the win.
The Wolfpack scored two runs in the top of the second for the early lead. Joey Devine, Jonathan Diaz and Caleb Mangum recorded three straight hits to load the bases with one out. Ryan Johnson’s sacrifice fly to center plated Devine from third and Lee Mezistrano’s infield single with the bases loaded scored Diaz to put NC State up 2-0.
FSU broke the game open with six runs in the third. With one out, Matt Sauls and Stephen Drew were both walked to put runners on first and second. Eddy Martinez-Esteve’s single scored Sauls and Aaron Cheesman’s sacrifice bunt plated Drew to tie the game at two. Ryne Malone’s RBI-single to center drove in Martinez-Esteve for the go-ahead run. After Shane Robinson reached on a throwing error from Diaz, Smith blasted a three-run homer over the fence in right, his fifth of the season for the 6-2 lead.
David Hicks’ solo home run in the seventh cut the Seminole lead to 6-3.
The Seminoles put the game out of reach with four more runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it 10-3. Cheesman and Malone both drew walks to start the inning and moved up a base on Shane Robinson’s sacrifice bunt. Brant Peacher’s RBI-single scored Cheesman and Malone came home on a Mezistrano fielding error which allowed Peacher to move to second. Sauls’ two-out triple to left center plated Peacher and Sauls later scored the final run of the game when Bryan Zech doubled down the left line.
Derek McKee (1-1) took the loss for the Wolfpack after giving up six runs (three earned) on four hits in 2.2 innings of work. McKee struck out two and walked four.
Rhett James worked the final two innings of scoreless relief with only one hit. James had four strikeouts and one walk.
Martinez-Esteve (3-for-5) and Sauls (2-for-3) led the Seminoles offensively.
Florida State will travel to Jacksonville for the final game of the four-game series with the Dolphins on Wednesday, April 7th at 7:00 p.m. The Seminoles host Miami this weekend with game times set for 7:00 p.m. Friday, 7:00 p.m. Saturday and 1:00 p.m. Sunday.