DURHAM, N.C. – Florida State scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and Chase Haney won his fifth consecutive decision as fourth-seeded Florida State defeated fifth seeded NC State, 7-3, in the first game of pool play at the 2016 ACC Baseball Tournament at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Seminoles will face Georgia Tech on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the second round of the tournament.
The Seminoles took an early 1-0 lead on a home run by John Sansone in the bottom of the first inning and after surrendering single runs in the second, third and fourth innings, rallied to win the game with six runs in the final four innings while holding NC State scoreless over the final five innings.
Seminole relief pitchers Ed Voyles, Matthew Kinney and Haney limited the Wolfpack to zero runs on three hits over the final four innings. Haney improved to a perfect 5-0 in the season.
FSU starter Drew Carlton, who did not factor in the decision, threw five innings and allowed four hits, three earned runs, one walk and fanned two. Carlton pitched in his second career ACC Tournament start as he helped the Seminole pitching staff retire nine of the final 14 NC State batters after the fourth inning. The quartet of pitchers allowed only one runner as far as third base in the final five innings.
Haney, who threw 22 pitches to five Wolfpack hitters in earning the win, allowed one hit and finished with one strikeout as he remained perfect on the season. Redshirt senior Tyler Warmoth finished off NC State with a perfect ninth inning that included one strikeout.
Florida State began its rally in the sixth inning after a leadoff walk by Jackson Lueck. Quincy Nieporte followed with a single into centerfield, moving Lueck into scoring position at second. Three batters later, Dylan Busby roped a two-out single to right that scored Lueck and Nieporte to deadlock the game at 3-3.
The Seminoles regained the lead in the eighth when Lueck opened the frame with a double to right field. Pinch hitter Nick Graganella drew a walk and Ben DeLuzio dropped a bunt down the third base line to load the bases. Steven Wells Jr. followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Lueck from third, as FSU grabbed the 4-3 lead.
Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Walls delivered a two-out single into right field that plated Graganella and DeLuzio for the 6-3 advantage. Busby scored the final run of the game as he scored on a wild pitch by NC State’s Tommy DeJuneas.
“I definitely think that Nick Graganella’s at-bat was key,” said Walls of the momentum shift in the eighth inning. “Coming into a pinch-hit situation and trying to get the bunt down, to move the runner to third, and he ends up drawing a walk. He was fortunate enough to load the bases up and blow the inning up.”
Busby (1-3) and Walls (1-5) led the Seminole offense with two RBI each, while Nieporte topped the lineup in hits, with a 2-for-3 performance that resulted in one run.
NC State scored its first run of the game as Brock Deatherage stole home to tie the game at 1-1. The Wolfpack took a 2-1 lead in the top of third as Josh McLain lead off the top of the third with a double down the left field line and scored two batters later on a grounder by Evan Mendoza.
NC State increased its lead to 3-1 as Joe Dunand gave the Wolfpack a leadoff runner for the third consecutive inning with a walk in the fourth. He eventually moved to third, before sliding into home on a fielder’s choice by Brett Kinneman.
Freshman Cole Sands (4-6, 4.63 ERA) is slated to start Thursday’s contest against the Yellow Jackets which begins at 3 p.m.
Regional Sports Networks from across the conference footprint and the nation will televise all 14 games through Saturday. All games will also be available on ESPN3.
In addition, the games on Tuesday through Saturday will be broadcast via satellite radio on Sirius 106/XM 193, while Sunday’s championship will be on SiriusXM College Sports National Channel 84.
Fans can also listen to every game of the ACC Tournament on 106.1 FM in Tallahassee and free of charge on Seminoles.com and the Florida State Seminoles Game Day app.
Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date with the Florida State Baseball team by following the official twitter page of the Seminoles (@FSUBaseball).