For the second time in as many weeks, a six-run inning proved too costly for Florida State (30-4, 9-2). This time it was NC State (24-9, 9-5) that capitalized on a Seminole fielding error in the bottom of the third opening the flood gates for six runs including five unearned runs all on two outs. The Seminoles would chip away at the Wolfpack lead but would get no closer than two as the Garnet and Gold dropped just their second league game of the season 8-6 Saturday evening. Tony Thomas, Jr. was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle as the junior second baseman went 3-for-4 with three RBI's and two runs scored.
Buster Posey and Brandon Reichert each registered two hits a piece for the Seminoles in the loss.
"I was very impressed with the way our club fought back tonight; we showed a lot of fight," stated head coach Mike Martin. "We fell behind 6-2, got two back in the fourth and had the bases loaded in the fifth. We just couldn't get that hit when we needed it, but you have to credit Brackman because he made the pitch to get out of the inning (fifth)."
"This is the same thing that happened to us last weekend against Duke," said Thomas about dropping game two of the series Saturday night to NC State. "The ACC is such a tough conference, especially when you are on the road, but we just have to come out tomorrow and pull out a big victory to win this series."
Florida State got an early run off NC State starter Andrew Brackman (6-2) in the first as Thomas led off the game with a triple down the line in right. He would later score on a wild pitch by the 6' 10" right hander to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead.
The Seminoles loaded the bases in the top of the third but came away with just one run on a sacrifice fly RBI by Jack Rye to run the score to 2-0. With one out, Thomas registered a bloop single to center for his second hit in as many at-bats. Mark Hallberg and Posey then posted back-to-back walks to pack the bases for Rye. The junior right fielder sent a 3-1 offering from Brackman to left scoring Thomas from third. FSU also stole three bases that inning off Wolfpack catcher Caleb Mangum including steals by Thomas and a double steal by Hallberg and Posey.
NC State sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third as five of the six runs scored by the Wolfpack came on two outs and were unearned. The inning unraveled with two outs on what looked like an inning ending fly out to center field by Ramon Corona, but D'Vontrey Richardson dropped the ball clearing the bases and giving the Wolfpack a 4-3 advantage. A walk to the next batter Jeremy Synan ended the evening for Seminole starter Michael Hyde (8-2) as the senior right hander last just 2.2 innings.
Jimmy Marshall entered out of the bullpen and gave up an RBI single to Dallas Poulk and a wild pitch to plate two more Wolfpack runs making the score 6-2. Marshall would get out of the inning by striking out Jones.
Hyde finished the evening giving up six runs, with only one earned, on four hits. He walked four and struck out one.
Florida State would get two runs back in the top of the fourth thanks to a two-RBI double by Thomas. After Brackman got the first two outs to start the fourth, pinch hitter Mark Gildea stepped to the plate and hit a come backer right back to the mound which couldn't be handled cleanly by Brackman. Brandon Reichert looked to hit his second home run in back-to-back games but the ball hit off the top of the wall in left for a stand-up double. Thomas made the score 6-4 hitting a blazer down the line in left scoring Gildea and Reichert.
The Wolfpack added a run in their bottom half of the fourth on an RBI single by designated hitter Mike Roskopf. Marshall got the first two outs of the inning but then gave up a single to Ferguson, a walk to Pond and then an RBI single to Roskopf pushing the Wolfpack lead to 7-4.
FSU missed out on a golden opportunity to cut into the Wolfpack lead in the fifth as they loaded the bases with one out on a pair of NC State fielding errors and a walk. But Brackman got the Seminoles to bounce into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play to keep the score at 7-4.
NC State looked to add to its lead in the sixth as Mangum led off the inning with a double to deep center. Mangum strayed a bit too far off second during Ferguson's at-bat and Posey made him pay as he threw a bullet down to Hallberg at second for the first out of the inning. It was the sophomore catcher's second pickoff of the season.
The Seminole pushed a run across in the seventh on the Wolfpack's fourth error of the game. Posey hit a one-out double off the wall in left center and scored on Rye's grounder that went under the glove of Corona at short to make the score 7-5.
NC State pushed the lead back to three in the seventh as Roskopf led off the inning with a solo shot to left. It was Roskopf's team leading sixth home run of the season.
Brackman's night came to an end after seven innings as the junior right hander threw seven solid innings allowing five runs, two earned, on seven hits. He walked three and struck out three as he reached the 100 pitch plateau for the fifth time this season throwing 117 Saturday evening.
"Brackman certainly pitched a great ball game," said Martin. "I was very impressed with him. NC State did a great job of getting the job done tonight."
Florida State would register a run in the eighth off Wolfpack reliever Eryk McConnell. Gildea began the rally hitting a double to right center, followed by a Reichert single to left. Thomas would bring in his third run of the evening driving home Gildea on a sacrifice fly to center making the score 8-6. It looked as though the Seminoles were in for a big inning as Hallberg laced a sharp fly towards the gap in right center. But right fielder Ryan Pond made an amazing over the shoulder grab on the run to end the inning.
Travis Burge kept the Wolfpack off the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth as he pitched a scoreless inning allowing just one hit and striking out one.
Marshall was effective out of the bullpen as he threw a career-high 4.1 innings giving up two runs on six hits. The sophomore right hander struck out three and walked just one.
The Seminoles looked as though they would get something going to start the ninth as Posey led off the inning with a single through the right side of the infield off McConnell. Rye seemed to find a whole on the right side of the infield as well bouncing a grounder over the head of the Wolfpack's Ferguson at first. But Dallas Poulk made an amazing stop and threw on to McConnell covering at first to just beat Rye for the first out of the inning. That would be all the noise the Seminoles would make as McConnell got a groundout and a strike out to earn his eighth save of the season.
Game three of the series will take place at 1:30 pm at Doak Field on the campus of NC State University. Florida State will throw right hander Ryan Strauss on Sunday, while the Wolfpack will counter with left hander Jimmy Gillheeney. The game will be shown live on ACC Select. Fans can also follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with live radio broadcast courtesy of 1270 the TEAM.
FSU loses to NC State 8-6
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