Noles Live to Play Another Day

Wake Forest's surprising four-day, five-game run through the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament came to an end Friday night in an elimination game against ninth-ranked Florida State. Seminole starter Michael Hyde shook off a two-run first inning by the Demon Deacons and pitched a career-high 7.2 innings in leading FSU (50-17) to a 7-3 victory.

"Mike Hyde really was a shot in the arm for us tonight," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "To go out there and pitch like he did with a lot at stake really shows great character. I'm really proud of the way he pitched."

Wake Forest (28-30) got on the board early with a pair of runs in the first off an RBI double from designated hitter Ryder Mathias and a base hit from first baseman Brendan Enick that sent Mathias home. Seminole first baseman Daniel Wardell ignited his team in the bottom of the second with a home run to deep left field that nipped the score in half, and right fielder Jack Rye kept the momentum going with a double towards center field.

"I hit that (home run) and it energized the crowd, along with the dugout," Wardell said. "We were able to get a couple more hits after that, so it worked out well."

Designated hitter Brant Peacher scored the tying run off Wake hurler Kip Bynum's wild pitch, and second baseman Tony Thomas Jr.'s sacrifice fly two batters later sent Rye home for the 3-2 lead.

The Seminoles scored another run in the third when Rye was walked with the bases loaded, and FSU sent another two runners home thanks to an RBI double from third baseman Ryne Malone and a wild pitch from Wake reliever Tim Morley.

The Deacons halved FSU's lead with an RBI single from Enick in the fifth, but the Seminoles answered back, concluding the scoring in the sixth with another run off a wild pitch.

Wake shuffled through a total of seven pitchers in the course of the tournament and relied on Bynum, a walk-on junior who was cut from the team in three previous years and started just four games prior in his career, to carry the team past a heavily-favored Seminole squad that had taken the series from the Deacons during the regular season. Byrum was pulled after giving up four runs – three earned – and striking out just two.

FSU became the first team in the country to amass 50 wins, edging No. 1-ranked Tulane for the distinction. Hunter Jones will take the mound for the Seminoles Saturday at 1 p.m. versus top-seeded Georgia Tech.

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