Tallahassee - Jose Brizuela delivered a walk-off base hit down the line in left in the 13th inning to lead second-ranked Florida State (17-2, 5-1) to a 9-8, come-from-behind victory over No. 7 NC State (14-5, 3-3) in game two of a doubleheader Saturday night. The win completed the series sweep of the Wolfpack for the first time since winning all three games in Raleigh in 2009.
“What a great win that was in the manner that we got it done,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “Some clubs might have felt sorry for themselves, so to speak, the way that we fell behind there, but then all of sudden our young men did such a great job of stringing together some great at-bats.”
With the game knotted at 7-7 after seven innings, neither team could scratch across a run until the 13th.
NC State’s Brett Austin led off the inning with a single through the left side off Kenny Burkhead (1-0). After a wild pitch moved him into scoring position, Burkhead battled back to get the next two outs before issuing an intentional walk to designated hitter Carlos Rodon. Andrew Knizner stepped in and delivered his fifth hit of the game, an RBI single to center to give the Wolfpack the lead at 8-7.
Down to their final two outs in the bottom of the 13th, the Seminoles would not go quietly as Justin Gonzalez began the rally with a single through the left side off NC State’s Eric Peterson (1-1). DJ Stewart followed with a single to center and Josh Delph laid down a beautiful bunt single toward third base to load the bases for John Nogowski. The junior first baseman delivered in fine fashion bringing home Gonzalez for the tying run on a sac-fly to left.
After a Wolfpack pitching change brought on Jon Olczak, Brizuela didn’t waste any time to greet the right hander taking the first pitch fastball down the line in left for the a walk-off single that scored Stewart from second base.
“I was pulling for my boy Nogowski real bad,” said Brizuela. “He had great at-bats all weekend. He got a good pitch and he drove it which gave me the opportunity to come up to bat. I took advantage of the first pitch fastball and put a good swing on it.”
The walk-off hit for Brizuela was the first of his career and the first for the Seminoles since Stephen McGee’s run scoring single in the bottom of the ninth against UCF on May 5, 2013.
“(This weekend) Showed me what this ball club is all about,” said Martin. “It’s a lot of baseball in one day, you already so called won the series and there wasn’t any let up. Everybody on the whole team was active. That is something to be proud of whether you lose the ball game or not. They got after it tonight.”
The 13-inning contest was the longest for the Seminoles since a 13-inning, 11-10 victory over Jacksonville on May 4, 2010.
“You have to tip your cap to that entire team,” said Gonzalez. “They fought us every game.”
“This team never stopped fighting,” said Nogowski. “That hasn’t really been a surprise to us; Just to show that this is top 10 team coming in (NC State) and to play the way we did all the way through was huge. It was a big statement.”
Gonzalez and Ben DeLuzio paced the Seminole offense in the second game of the doubleheader with three hits apiece. Brett Knief, Delph, Nogowski and Brizuela all finished with two hits each.
Knief scored FSU’s first run of the game back in the second inning connecting on a solo shot to left for his second home run of the season. It was part of a four-run inning which featured an RBI double by John Sansone and a two-run single off the bat of Danny De La Calle.
With the Seminoles leading 4-1 after two innings, the Wolfpack came right back to tie the game in the top half of the third scoring three runs on starter Mike Compton.
NC State chased Compton from the game in the fifth as the first three batters to the plate reached on a fielding error and back-to-back singles. The Wolfpack retook the lead on an RBI single by Knizner and an RBI pinch hit single by Matt Vernon.
Compton went 4.1 innings on Saturday night allowing six runs, four earned, on nine hits as he walked one and struck out two.
The Seminoles responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two-out RBI single by Nogowski and an RBI double to right center by Brizuela.
Florida State went back on top at 7-6 in the bottom of the sixth on another two-out hit. This time with DeLuzio at second after a single and a stolen base, Gonzalez delivered an RBI double down the line in left.
The lead was short lived as NC State evened the game at seven in the top of the seventh. Rodon led off the inning with a single to right and would later score on a fielder’s choice groundout by Jake Armstrong.
After the seventh, both bullpens did an outstanding job of putting zeroes on the board.
Gage Smith, who made his third appearance of the series, worked 0.2 shutout innings. Bryant Holtmann followed with 1.1 shutout innings, while Jameis Winston shut down the Wolfpack for 3.0 innings. The sophomore right hander tied a career-high in innings pitched while setting a new career-high as he finished with seven strikeouts.
Burkhead, who earned the win in game two, worked 2.0 innings allowing a run on two hits and a walk as he struck out three.
NC State’s Patrick Peterson blanked the Seminoles over 1.2 relief innings, while brother Eric was impressive in his first five innings of work. He was tagged with the loss after giving up both runs in the bottom of the 13th. Eric finished the game with a career-high seven strikeouts.
Florida State is back on the road Tuesday, March 18 as the Seminoles head south to face the University of Florida in Gainesville. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised live on Sun Sports in north and central Florida. Fans can listen to the game on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally on 1270 AM. Live stats will be available via gametracker.