Buoyed by a season-high 19 hits, including four home runs, NC State powered past No. 8 Florida State, 11-7, at Doak Field at Dail Park to avert a series sweep. The Pack improved to 19-11 overall and evened its record in the ACC at 7-7. The Seminoles dropped to 25-8 and 11-4 in league play.
“I am just so proud of these guys,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said. “I took [the first two losses of the series] hard. We definitely outplayed them Thursday night and deserved to win that game...That didn’t happen. And then yesterday’s game was anybody’s ballgame.”
“Those losses, coupled back-to-back, were devastating. To come out here today and get 19 hits and play this well...If we can keep growing, this has a chance to be a really special baseball team.”
Jake Fincher, Logan Ratledge, Andrew Knizner and Ryne Willard each went deep for NC State. Fincher and Knizner finished with four hits apiece. Ratledge reached safely twice, extending his current hitting streak to 13 games.
After two tough losses to open its series against Florida State, NC State head coach Elliott Avent hoped for a response Saturday to salvage the the three-game set. The Wolfpack complied with hot bats and timely pitching Joe O’Donnell, the losing pitcher in the series opener, pitched 2.2 innings of relief to earn his fourth win of the season. Will Gilbert entered the game with one out, the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate. The left-hander escaped the jam without further damage and recorded his first save of the campaign.
“I thought it was a big game for us,” O’Donnell said. “We like to talk about winning every [last game of a set], whether it was to win the series or to avoid the sweep.
“I was still confident coming into the game today. Everybody has a bad day every once in a while, and you just have to keep your confidence on the mound. Today was a big day for everybody on the field.”
NC State will travel out of conference to face Elon and UNC-Wilmington on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively before heading to Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill for a three-game set against rival North Carolina beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“We’re a good baseball team, but the real question is how will be get better from here,” Avent said. “We’re going to get better, and today, they showed me the answer I want.”