RALEIGH, N.C. – For the second straight game, No. 8 Florida State (42-10, 18-9 ACC) scored six runs in the first two innings en route to an 8-4 victory over No. 9 NC State (39-13, 16-10 ACC) Monday evening on Doak Field inside Dail Park in front of a national audience on ESPNU.
With the win, Florida State clinched the series to remain atop the ACC Atlantic Division standings holding a one-game lead over Clemson and a 1.5 game lead on NC State. FSU has now won eight consecutive series over NC State including four straight series victories in Raleigh.
“It is just a credit to these young men,” said head coach Mike Martin on his team clinching the series with Monday night’s victory. “This is not easy to win two out of three in this ball park. You get beat the first night and maybe things didn’t go exactly right for you that first night. But the next two nights, we come in and get it done with our backs against the wall.”
The Seminoles hit three home runs Monday night with all three coming in the first two innings marking the most home runs hit by Florida State in a game this year. Marcus Davis led the way with two round trippers and now leads the team with nine on the year. Stephen McGee unloaded on a two-run shot in the first inning in the win.
“Marcus really came through big for us tonight,” said Martin. “Stephen has been, no question, a guy that solidifies our infield. He also did a great job for us offensively tonight.”
Davis became the first Seminole to hit multiple home runs in a game this year and the first to hit home runs in consecutive at-bats since Devon Travis performed the feat against Stanford in game one of the Super Regional on June 8, 2012. Both Davis and McGee finished the game with two hits, while Davis drove in three runs and McGee plated two. John Sansone picked up two RBI with a two-run single in the fifth.
Scott Sitz received all the run support he would need as the senior right hander improved to 9-1 on the year. Sitz gave up three runs on seven hits as he walked two and struck out four in 5.2 innings of work.
“He didn’t have his best stuff tonight,” added Martin on Sitz. “But he showed what he is all about by getting out there and battling. He did not have Scott Sitz stuff tonight. But I was very proud of the way he kept fighting and battling. He knows the importance of getting us to the sixth or seventh (inning) and he got us into the sixth tonight.”
Gage Smith pitched 2.1 innings of solid relief giving up an unearned run on two hits. He finished the game with a walk and three strikeouts.
Robby Coles closed out the game working a perfect ninth inning retiring all three batters that he faced.
“There were a lot of keys to tonight’s victory,” said Martin. “But no question it was our pitching tonight.”
For the second straight game, NC State’s starting pitcher could not work out of the second inning. This time Brad Stone (2-2) lasted just 0.2 innings as the freshman southpaw gave up four runs on three hits as he walked two and struck out one.
Florida State jumped out to the early lead scoring four runs in the top of the first. McGee and Davis registered back-to-back home runs to spark the four-run first, while Jose Brizuela came through with a two-out RBI double to the gap in left center. McGee connected on a two-run shot to left center and Davis followed with a solo shot off the foul pole in left. John Nogowski drew a walk and scored all the way from first two batters later on Brizuela’s RBI double.
The Wolfpack cut the deficit to 4-1 in the bottom of the inning as Trea Turner took the first pitch from Sitz down the line in left for a stand-up triple. He would score two batters later on a groundout to short off the bat of Brett Austin.
Davis would go yard for the second time in as many at-bats in the top of the second crushing a 1-2 pitch from Ryan Wilkins into the trees in right to give FSU a 6-1 lead. McGee, who drew a two-out walk, scored on the play to give the Seminoles a five-run cushion.
The Seminoles pushed their lead to 8-1 on a two-run single by Sansone in the fifth. Nogowski led off the inning with a single through the left side off Grant Sasser and moved to second as Jameis Winston drew a four-pitch walk. After a sac-bunt by Brizuela moved both runners up 90 feet, Sansone drilled a 0-2 pitch from Sasser off the wall in left to bring home Nogowski and Winston.
NC State cut into the Florida State in the sixth on a two-run double by Bryan Adametz. The Wolfpack put two on off Sitz following a double by Grant Clyde and a single by Sam Morgan. After a visit to the mound by Martin, Adametz delivered a two-run double to the gap in left center on the very next pitch from Sitz ending the night for the senior right hander.
Smith came on and after giving up a bunt single to Logan Ratledge got Turner to fly out to left to retire the side.
The Wolfpack took advantage of an errant throw on a pick-off attempt by Smith to plate a run and cut the Seminole lead to 8-4 in the eighth. After a walk and a double put runners at second and third with no outs, Smith tried to pick Brett Williams off at second but threw errantly allowing Clyde to score from third. Smith retired the next three batters on a strikeout, line out to first and groundout to short to end the inning.
Florida State will return home to face Clemson for a three-game series beginning Thursday, May 16. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. and will air live on ESPN3. Friday and Saturday’s games will air on ESPNU at 8:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., respectively. Fans can listen to the games on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally on 1270 AM (Thursday & Friday) and 100.7 FM (Saturday). As always, Seminole fans can follow the Noles on twitter @FSU_Baseball and remember to like the Seminoles on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FSUBaseball). Live stats will be available via gametracker.