DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) – Defending champion Florida State is back in familiar territory – contending for an Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship.
The sixth-seeded Seminoles received a masterful pitching performance from All-ACC lefthander Drew Parrish and turned back third-seeded NC State, 5-2, Friday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Florida State (41-17) won Pool C and earned a spot in Saturday’s 5 p.m. semifinal game opposite second-seeded Clemson (45-13).
A crowd of 7,228 saw Parrish (5-0) strike out a career-high 14 batters while going the distance on the mound for the second time in his career. The Seminole sophomore limited the Wolfpack to five hits and one earned run while throwing 120 pitches.
With Friday night’s win, the Seminoles continued their quest for a second consecutive ACC championship and their third in the past four seasons. Florida State has won 14 of its last 15 ACC Championship games. The Seminoles have achieved that level of success despite being seeded no higher than No. 4 in any of the past four ACC Championships and No. 8 last year.
NC State (40-16), which entered Friday night’s game with an RPI of 18 and ranked No. 8 nationally, remains hopeful of being included as an NCAA Regional host when that announcement is made on Sunday night. The entire 64-team NCAA tournament field will be unveiled Monday at noon.
Cal Raleigh and Rhett Aplin each went 3-for-5 at the plate to lead the Seminoles. Raleigh hit his 13th home run of the season and drove in three runs, and Aplin added an RBI single.
The Seminoles chased Wolfpack ace Brian Brown (6-2) with six hits and four earned runs through the first 2 1/3 innings, with Raleigh doing the bulk of the damage. Raleigh’s RBI double plated the game’s first run in the top of the first, and he followed with a two-run homer in the third inning – a 387-foot blast to left field – that staked the Seminoles to a 4-0 lead.
FSU added a run in the top of the fifth inning to go up 5-0 before NC State finally broke through.
Jack Conley led off the Wolfpack’s half of the fifth with a single, and Evan Edwards followed with a double to right center that was misplayed by the Seminoles’ J.C. Flowers. Conley came around to score, and Edwards managed to elude the tag as he took third base (he was originally called out but the call was overturned following a video review).
Josh McLain followed with a two-out RBI single to trim the deficit to 5-2.
As was the case Friday night, Saturday’s second semifinal game will be a matchup of Atlantic Division rivals.
Clemson took two of three from the visiting Seminoles in the regular-season series May 5-7. FSU claimed the opener, 3-2, in 13 innings for head coach Mike Martin’s NCAA-record 1,976th career win. Clemson bounced back to win the next two contests, 12-7 and 5-4.
Florida State and Clemson have combined to win the last three ACC Baseball Championship titles. The teams last met in the tournament in the 2016 final at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Clemson outlasted the Seminoles, 18-13, to win the championship in a game that took eight hours and 19 minutes to complete due to three rain delays.
The Clemson-FSU winner will advance to Sunday’s noon championship game against the winner of Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal contest between No. 5 seed Louisville (42-16) and No. 12 seed Pitt (29-25).
Cal Raleigh’s second of three hits on the day, a two-run home run off the bull in left field, gave Florida State a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Raleigh also had an RBI double in the first inning and a single in the fifth inning.
Florida State and 2-seed Clemson will play in the second semifinal Saturday at 5:00 p.m. FSU will throw RHP Cole Sands and Clemson will throw LHP Jake Higginbotham.
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).