May 17, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Top-ranked Florida State (41-12, 22-6 ACC) fell to NC State (38-13, 19-9 ACC) 10-5 Thursday evening on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium, suffering its fifth loss in the last seven games. It also marked just the second loss to the Wolfpack in the last six meetings in Tallahassee.
"There is really not a lot you can say except they kicked us," said head coach Mike Martin. "They out played us. We had our chances, made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of it. You just move to tomorrow."
Despite being out hit 11-5 on Thursday night, FSU managed to get runners on base drawing a career-high nine walks from NC State starter Carlos Rodon (9-0). But the Seminoles were unable to find the key hits to put the game away early.
The Seminoles made Rodon work in the early going as the freshman southpaw threw 96 pitches through the first four innings. But Florida State could not add to their three-run lead leaving two runners on in the third and the bases loaded in the fourth.
Rodon allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits in 6.1 innings of work. He finished with nine walks while striking out six.
"He is everything that I heard," added Martin on Rodon's outing on Thursday. "He is a horse. He is an outstanding prospect.
"We had our opportunities (against Rodon) and we didn't take advantage of them. And when you don't take advantage of them with a team as good as they are and a pitcher as good as he is that is what can happen."
With the Garnet & Gold leading 4-1 and looking to add to their lead in the fourth after Jose Brizuela and Sherman Johnson led off the inning with consecutive walks, Devon Travis popped up a sacrifice bunt for the first out of the inning. James Ramsey followed with a line drive off the screen in right, but Brizuela did not get a good jump on the ball from second base which led to the freshman outfielder being thrown out at the plate. After a walk to Jayce Boyd loaded the bases, Rodon got out of the inning as Stephen McGee grounded out to second for the third out.
"We pride ourselves in being good base runners," said Martin. "We didn't exercise that this evening."
Getting out of the fourth inning jam seemed to fuel the Wolfpack offense as NC State responded with four runs in the fifth to retake the lead at 5-4. Trea Turner led off the inning with a bunt base hit and moved to third as Justin Gonzalez' throw to second on a groundball off the bat of Chris Diaz went wide of the bag at second. Danny Canela brought home Turner on an RBI single up the middle and Ryan Mathews followed with a three-run blast to straight away center. Mathews took a 0-1 pitch from Hunter Scantling (5-1) out of the park to give the Wolfpack the lead for good.
Scantling was tagged with four runs, three earned, on three hits in 2.1 innings in suffering his first loss of the season.
NC State tacked on four more runs in the seventh off Kyle Bird including a key two-out bloop single to right with the bases loaded from right fielder Brett Austin. Turner followed two batters later with a two-run single off Bryant Holtmann to give the Wolfpack a 9-4 advantage.
Florida State drew within four of the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Boyd doubled to right, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on groundball from McGee, who reached first on an errant throw from Turner at third.
The Wolfpack would get the run back an inning later on Mathews' second home run of the evening. The redshirt senior deposited a 0-1 pitch from Brandon Johnson over the fence in right center for this team leading 13th round tripper of the season.
NC State scored first on Thursday night courtesy of a solo home run off the bat of Tarran Senay in the top of the second. Senay went yard on a 1-2 pitch from FSU starter Scott Sitz, who worked 3.2 innings in game one.
The lead was short lived as FSU scored three runs in the bottom of the inning taking advantage of three Rodon walks which all turned in to runs. With the bases loaded Brizuela dropped a two-run double just inside the right field foul line, while Johnson gave the Noles a 3-1 lead scoring Gonzalez on a bunt single to second.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the fourth as Boyd reached on a throwing error from Turner at third and scored on a passed ball.
Boyd collected two of the five hits on Thursday night, while Johnson, Ramsey and Brizuela all had a hit a piece. Boyd reached base on all five on his plate appearances collecting two hits, two walks and reaching on an error. McGee and Brizuela each drew two walks in the loss.
Sitz allowed a run on three hits as he walked two and struck out four in earning the no decision.
With Thursday night's loss to NC State and North Carolina's victory over Virginia Tech, FSU's magic number to clinch the No. 1 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament remains at one.
"We didn't do things that we know we have to do to be successful," said Martin. "We are not happy, but there is nothing we can do about it except play better. We are looking forward to getting back out here and getting this taste out of our mouth. This is a special group of young men. We will look for that ball game tomorrow to play better."
Florida State and NC State return to the diamond for game two of the series on Friday, May 18 at 6:00 p.m. Friday's game will air live over the internet on ESPN3. Fans can listen to the games locally on 1270 AM and over the internet on Seminoles.com. Live stats will be available via gametracker, while fans can receive updates on Twitter @FSU_Baseball.