May 25, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
DURHAM, N.C. – Florida State came into Wednesday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament opener against NC State anxious to make a strong case for a top-eight national seed in the coming NCAA postseason.
The Seminoles, left Durham Bulls Athletic Park with a lot to prove over the next two days.
NC State junior right-hander Cory Mazzoni mowed through the FSU lineup with ease as the Wolfpack ran off with a 7-0 victory.
“It was an old fashioned fanny whipping,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “Give all the credit to North Carolina State and certainly Cory Mazzoni. That was a beautifully pitched baseball game. Not only did he dominate us with the fastball he really showed his ability to throw the breaking ball for strikes. …
“We never threw it in tonight. We were just told by Mr. Mazzoni, `You ain’t getting anything, boys.'”
Florida State (40-16) managed just four hits off Mazzoni, and didn’t get a runner to third base until the seventh inning.
NC State (34-23) broke open a one-run game with a three-run fifth, aided by a two-out walk and the Seminoles’ second outfield error of the game. The 4-0 cushion was more than enough for Mazzoni, who entered the game with 116 strikeouts – second-most in the ACC – and went right to work padding that total. He fanned five through the first three innings, and finished with nine over seven innings while issuing just one walk.
The Seminoles failed to capitalize on their fewest hits since managing a season-low three at Maryland on April 2. FSU wasted a leadoff single in the first by Devon Travis and doubles by Jayce Boyd and Rafael Lopez in the second and third. Mazzoni settled in and retired the next 10 FSU batters in order.
“They just played well in all facets of the game,” said Ramsey, who was denied at least a leadoff double in the fourth by NC State center fielder Brett Williams’ diving catch at the warning track.
“They did everything they took to get it done,” Martin added. “The play that Williams made in center field was as good as it gets.”
The Wolfpack struck first for a run in the top of the third. Williams singled through the middle off FSU starter Benincasa (2-2), then advanced on a wild pitch. Pratt Maynard followed with a line drive at Ramsey in right, who dropped the ball when he looked up to see whether Williams had strayed from the bag. Maynard moved up to third on the miscue and scored on Harold Riggins’ sacrifice fly to center.
It would be all the runs the Wolfpack would need to even the season series at two games each.
Six Florida State pitchers combined to scatter 10 hits, walk seven and hit three NC State batters.
“I think it was just one of those situations where everything just happened to multiply,” Martin said. “Walking seven is very uncharacteristic. … We hit three, so that’s definitely uncharacteristic.”
A year ago in Greensboro, N.C., FSU lost the opening game of the tournament and came all the way back to win the title. In order to duplicate that feat, the Seminoles will have to beat one of the nation’s hottest teams.
FSU meets Clemson, which has won 26 of its last 31 games – including a pair last week in Tallahassee – after white-washing Georgia Tech 9-0 earlier in the day.
“Our baseball team is very competitive,” Martin said. “This game, if you let it, will drive you bonkers. You have to be mentally tough and our young men are mentally tough. We’ll get our rest, we’ll play the hottest team in the country tomorrow and we will look forward to competition. That’s the way this club is.”