March 31, 2017 - by
Pitching Duel Tips in No. 8 UNC’s Favor


Sophomore pitcher Cole Sands allowed just two runs and struck out six for Florida State (18-9, 6-4 ACC), but No. 8 North Carolina (20-6, 7-3) left Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium with a 3-1 win Friday evening in front of 4,730 fans. Sands (4-2) allowed a pair of third inning runs, and Tar Heel starter J.B. Bukauskas (5-0) allowed a run in seven innings and struck out 10 batters.

“We need to continue to compete, continue to work hard,” head coach Mike Martin said. “There’s a lot of good things on the horizon for this club.

“You tip your hat to Bukauskas. That was beautiful pitching on his part. He was masterful the way he pitched.”

Freshman Drew Mendoza, one of the top prospects entering college baseball this season, saw his first action after being sidelined with multiple injuries in the preseason. Hitting in the six hole, the Minneola, Fla., native was 0-for-4 and started at third base.

In what was expected to be a pitcher’s duel between Sands and Bukauskas, both teams left a pair of runners on base in the first inning. Brian Miller roped the second pitch of the game into right field for a double and Ashton McGee drew a one-out walk. Sands responded with his first of six strikeouts and forced a ground ball to shortstop Taylor Walls to end the inning.

In the bottom of the frame, Jackson Lueck singled and Quincy Nieporte doubled, but both were stranded on Cal Raleigh’s strikeout.

Miller got North Carolina on the board when he opened the third inning with his third home run of the season. Logan Warmoth was hit by a pitch, and eventually came around to score on Brandon Riley’s RBI-groundout.

North Carolina held a two run advantage until the seventh inning, when Raleigh was hit by a pitch to open the frame, moved to second on J.C. Flowers’ single and took third on Nick Derr’s fly out to right field. After Tyler Daughtry, pinch hitting for Matt Henderson, was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Raleigh hurried home on Bukauskas’s wild pitch.

The Tar Heels immediately regained a two-run advantage when McGee homered off reliever Alec Byrd to start the eighth inning. Carolina closer Josh Hiatt recorded his tenth save of the season, throwing a perfect eighth and working around a pair of walks in the ninth.

Game two of the series is Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium. Florida State will throw left-hander Tyler Holton (4-0, 2.31 ERA), while North Carolina will toss right-hander Luca Dalatri (2-2, 2.59 ERA).

The game will stream live on the ACC Network Extra (formerly ESPN3), with Scott Kotick providing play-by-play and commentary from Chip Baker.

Eric Luallen will be on the radio at 5:45 p.m. and can be heard on 106.1 FM in Tallahassee or nationwide on the FSU Gameday App.

Postgame Notes:

– Cal Raleigh threw out a pair of UNC base runners Friday, the first time this season he has thrown out two runners in a game. He accomplished the feat twice in 2016 as a freshman – against Toledo and at Florida in Game 3 of the Super Regionals.

– Cole Sands tied his career high with six innings pitched. He has reached that mark five times, including against Boston College and Notre Dame this season.

– In the seventh inning, Chase Haney entered with one out and runners on first and second. On his first pitch, he induced a groundball double play, and did not return in the eighth inning. He finished with a line of one pitch and two outs.

For more information on Florida State baseball, check for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSUBaseball), Facebook (/FSUBaseball), and Instagram (@NoleBaseball).

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