DURHAM, NC. – Florida State’s Taylor Walls recorded his fourth consecutive multi-hit outing, but a two-run home run off the bat of Duke’s (30-20, 11-14 ACC) Jake Labosky in the third inning proved to be the difference as the sixth-ranked Seminoles (32-16, 14-7 ACC) fell 5-4 on Friday evening at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Walls, who finished 4-for-5 at the plate, was responsible for two RBI and two runs. He led the top third of the FSU lineup in hits that also included John Sansone (2-5, double, RBI) and Jackson Lueck (2-4, RBI), who returned after missing the last seven games due to a shoulder injury. Junior Ben DeLuzio, who finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, added a spark from the nine-hole with a double and a triple on the evening.
Sophomore Drew Carlton (6-3) was charged with the loss after yielding eight hits and five earned runs in seven innings on the mound. Carlton, who earned the starting nod in the series opener after posting wins in his last two outings, faced 30 Blue Devil hitters and threw 106 pitches.
Duke snagged a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Michael Smiciklas followed a single to centerfield by Justin Bellinger with his first home run of the season.
The Seminoles rallied in the top of the third when DeLuzio opened with a double into right field. The double marked the speedy junior’s 11th of the season and in the process moved his career-long hitting streak to eight games.
DeLuzio came home five pitches later when Walls sent a single into right field for FSU’s first run. After a Sansone single put runners on the corners for the Seminoles, Lueck completed his return with an RBI single to left field that scored Walls to knot the game at 2-2.
Duke regained the lead in the bottom of the third inning when consecutive hits by Max Miller and Jimmy Heron resulted in a 3-2 Blue Devil advantage. Two batters later Labosky sent a two-run home run over the left field wall to make for a 5-2 contest.
DeLuzio rejuvenated the FSU offense with a lead-off triple into right field to open the seventh, scoring on Walls’ third hit of the game, as the Seminoles recorded their third run. Sansone delivered a one-out double to right field, plating Walls from first for the 5-4 final as the Blue Devils’ defense prevented Sansone and Lueck from scoring additional runs.
FSU will send Cole Sands (4-4, 4.02 ERA) to the mound on Saturday at 1 p.m. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils will start lefty Trent Swart, who enters the contest with a 2-2 mark and a 3.60 ERA.
Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date with the Florida State Baseball team by following the official twitter page of the Seminoles (@FSUBaseball).