Winston-Salem, N.C. – No. 4 Florida State (14-0, 1-0) beat Wake Forest (5-9, 0-1) 7-3 Friday evening at Couch Ballpark behind nine strikeouts from starting pitcher Cole Sands (4-0) and a five-run seventh inning that broke a 2-2 tie. Jackson Lueck hit his second home run of the season to spark FSU’s seventh inning.
“I was really pleased with the outing that Sands had,” head coach Mike Martin said. “He pitched very well. It’s always tough on the road.”
Sands outlasted Wake Forest starter Griffin Roberts (2-2) in both teams ACC opener. Roberts allowed two runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts through the first six innings but four runs on just one out in the seventh inning. Sands is 4-0 (and FSU is 6-0) over his past six true road starts dating back to last season.
Sands and freshman pitcher Jonah Scolaro combined for 14 strikeouts on the day. Sands tied a career high with nine, which he did earlier this year against Xavier. Scolaro struck out five over the final three innings on 63 pitches. It was his third save this season of at least three innings.
“Jonah came in and did a good job in his first outing in a conference game,” Martin said. “He’s a guy that enjoys competition. When we went and got him (out of the bullpen), we were hoping it would be less than 50 pitches so he won’t be available tomorrow.”
FSU struck first with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Drew Mendoza walked and J.C. Flowers singled before Nick Derr was hit to load the bases with one out. Mike Salvatore grounded out to score Mendoza and he paired with Flowers to execute a double steal that gave FSU a 2-0 lead.
The Demon Deacons tied the game with a run in the fifth and sixth innings. Wake opened the fifth with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with no outs. Patrick Frick hit a line drive off Sands that ricocheted to Mendoza at third base, who threw across the diamond to get Frick in time. The play scored Michael Ludowig before Christian Long struck out to limit the damage.
Shane Muntz hit a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning to tie the game.
FSU scored five runs on six hits in the seventh inning to take the lead for good. Salvatore singled to open the inning and moved to second on Steven Wells’ sacrifice bunt before Lueck’s two-run home run. Rhett Aplin and Cal Raleigh singled to end the day for Roberts, who allowed six earned runs in 6.1 innings with 10 strikeouts.
Mendoza doubled off Bobby Hearn to score two more runs and Rafael Bournigal singled through the right side to score Mendoza and give FSU a 7-2 lead.
Scolaro entered in the seventh inning and allowed one unearned run over three innings. The Demon Deacons loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a walk. Wake scored a run when Raleigh attempted to throw the ball back to Scolaro but it bounced off batter Johnny Aiello’s head, bouncing towards the Wake dugout and allowing a run to score.
Scolaro struck out the side in the eighth inning and forced a pop up to end the game in the ninth. Scolaro has three saves this season, pitching at least three innings in all three games. He has not allowed an earned run in 13.1 innings this season.
Lueck, Aplin and Raleigh each had two hits. Over the past six games, Raleigh is hitting .500 (12-for-24).
Jackson Lueck’s second home run of the season gave FSU a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning. It sparked a five-run inning for FSU and secured starting pitcher Cole Sands’ fourth win in as many appearances this year.
FSU’s win was head coach Mike Martin’s 1,958th of his career. He needs just 18 more to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. He currently trails only Augie Garrido (1,975 wins). He is now 72-21 all-time against Wake Forest.
Florida State and Wake Forest will wrap the series with a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 2:00 p.m. LHP Drew Parrish (1-0, 1.06 ERA) and LHP Austin Pollock (2-0, 0.56 ERA) will throw for the Seminoles.
Both games will stream live on the ACC Network Extra.
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).