NC State fell to Florida State, 1-0, in Raleigh on Friday in front of 2,201 fans. The Wolfpack drop to 18-11 overall and 6-7 in the ACC. The victory improves Florida State to 25-7 on the season, 11-3 in league play.
The Seminoles lone run scored with two outs in the first inning when sophomore Quincy Nieporte singled home junior D.J. Stewart. The throw from the outfield beat Stewart to the plate but sophomore catcher Andrew Knizner, who would later throw out two runners attempting to steal, was unable to handle the awkward bounce off the dirt.
Freshman right-hander Drew Carlton pitched eight strong innings, allowing only four hits while striking out four and walking one, to pick up the win and improve to 2-1 on the season. Left-handed senior reliever Billy Strode pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save of the campaign.
After an early blemish in the first inning, freshman Brian Brown settled nicely. The left-hander went 7.1 innings and yielded the lone run on only five hits while fanning six. The loss dropped Brown to 3-2 this season.
“I thought I threw the ball well,” Brown said. “I made a couple of bad pitches I thought. My changeup was really effective and my fastball command has always been there.”
Junior Curt Britt entered the game in relief in the eighth inning with runners on first and third and ended a Seminole threat by inducing a double play.
“[I am] extremely disappointed,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said. “To lose back-to-back heartbreaking games, last night we definitely should have won... outplayed them. Today was anybody’s ballgame.
“I thought [Carlton] pitched outstanding. He kept us off-stride. Brown did a great job matching him pitch-for-pitch, inning-for-inning. Curt Britt came in and got us out of a tough jam. Knizner did a great job, throwing out two runners, as he has all year.”
The Wolfpack stranded seven runners on Friday after leaving 10 aboard in the series opener. Knizner feels that struggle to get the timely hit against the Seminoles is a stark contrast for NC State.
“I would say overall we have done a pretty good job of situational hitting,” Knizner said. “We have been getting timely hits. This series, you give credit to their pitching staff. They obviously threw us pretty well these last two days. Maybe a timely hit here or there and we would have two wins or one win. Hopefully we can get it [Saturday].”
NC State will host Florida State Saturday in the series finale with the first pitch set for 2 p.m. The Wolfpack will look to avoid the sweep with redshirt-sophomore righty Johnny Piedmonte (1-1, 1.40 ERA in six games). The Seminoles will counter with freshman right-hander Cobi Johnson (3-1, 5.67 ERA in seven games).