TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Parker Messick struck out a career-high 12 batters and allowed just three hits, but a ninth-inning run gave North Carolina a 4-3 win over Florida State Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles (13-9, 8-8 ACC) tied the game on Elijah Cabell’s fifth home run of the season, but the Tar Heels (14-10, 9-7) re-took the lead on an RBI single in the final inning from Justice Thompson.
Messick lowered his season earned run average to 2.52 after striking out 12 and allowing just one earned run in 6.1 innings pitched. It was the freshman lefty’s third straight game with at least 10 strikeouts and the most for a Seminole since Drew Parrish struck out 13 Wake Forest players in the 2019 ACC Tournament.
Elijah Cabell’s three-run home run in the seventh inning traveled 444 feet and tied the game at 3-3. It was the sophomore’s fourth straight game with a home run since re-entering FSU’s starting lineup. Reese Albert had two of FSU’s four hits in the game.
North Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning on three consecutive hits, their first of the day. Johnny Castagnozzi doubled off the wall in centerfield, followed by a single from Mac Horvath. Second baseman Colby Wilkerson scored Castagnozzi on a squeeze-bunt single.
In the seventh, Carolina’s bottom of the lineup again combined to plate a run when Castagnozzi reached on an error, Horvath singled and both runners advanced on Wilkerson’s sacrifice bunt. Davis Hare entered in relief of Messick and Angel Zarate lined a two-run, two-out single to right field to extend UNC’s lead to 3-0.
After Cabell tied the score off North Carolina starter Austin Love, Shawn Rapp, Nik Pry and Caden O’Brien (2-0) combined to allow just one hit in the final two innings. Tyler Martin was hit by a pitch and Logan Lacey singled to start the eighth inning, but FSU’s 3-4-5 hitters struck out to keep the game tied. FSU hitters struck out 16 times in the game, while North Carolina batters K’d 15 times.
Love allowed just three hits and struck out 10 in 7.0 innings.
Carolina’s ninth inning started with Castagnozzi’s second hit of the game, against Chase Haney (3-1). Clayton Kwiatkowski walked pinch-hitter Tyler Causey on four pitches and leadoff hitter Thompson, who was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, singled off Hunter Perdue to score Castagnozzi for the final margin.
Castagnozzi scored three of UNC’s four runs. Carolina’s bottom three hitters in the lineup accounted for five of the Tar Heels’ seven hits, both walks, a hit by pitch and a sacrifice bunt. UNC’s top six spots in the lineup went 2-for-27 with all 15 strikeouts.
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