State Falls To FSU, 3-2

RALEIGH, N.C. -- As soon as NC State finally scaled the mountain, the Wolfpack fell back down due to wildness.

Eighth-ranked Florida State scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning on a two-out, two strike single from freshman Darren Miller, after reliever Joe O’Donnell hit three batters in a third of an inning, and the Seminoles defeated NC State, 3-2, at Doak Field at Dail Park on Thursday.

The loss drops the Wolfpack to 18-10 overall and 6-6 in the ACC. Florida State improves to 24-7 on the season and 10-3 in league play.

O’Donnell entered the game undefeated with a 1.35 ERA in 12 previous appearances but was saddled with the loss. Alec Byrd earned his fourth win of the season with no defeats after getting two outs on four pitches in the bottom of the seventh. Billy Strode pitched two perfect innings, fanning three, for his ninth save of the year.

NC State starter Cory Wilder had a tough-luck no-decision. The sophomore pitched seven innings of three hit ball, striking out a career-best 10 while walking three and allowing only one run in the third inning.

“He gets better, better and better,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said of Wilder. “He was outstanding tonight and pretty much dominated the game in a lot of phases.”

Each of Florida State’s three runs came with two outs and the Seminoles committed five errors while hitting safely only four times. NC State left 10 runners on base.

“All the guys--young guys and old guys--everyone knows we were better than that team today,” senior Logan Ratledge said. “We had a couple of breaks that didn’t go our way and we didn’t step up in a couple of situations but up and down the line we feel we played a lot better and we definitely deserved that game.”

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the sixth, senior Jake Armstrong led off the frame with a home run to left field. The following inning Armstrong drove home Ratledge--who was attempting to steal third base and narrowly missed being hit-- with a single through the left side.

After O’Donnell was pulled, freshman righty Tommy DeJuneas struck out Chris Marconcini with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth for the second out of the inning. Miller, who pinch hit for starting third baseman Dylan Busby in the top of the seventh inning and was Wilder’s 10th strikeout victim, then provided the heroics for Florida State by lacing a single just past Armstrong’s outstretched glove in right-center field.

“Honesty I have no idea,” Armstrong said when asked how close he was to making the catch. “I dove, I saw it and I looked in my glove and I didn’t have it. I was pretty mad.”

“We are were all [upset after the game]. We knew we should have had that game. We had so many opportunities to put them away. It didn’t happen. That’s baseball.”

NC State and Florida State will resume the series on Friday with first pitch at Doak Field set for 6:30 p.m.

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