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FSU blanks Louisville, faces NC State on Sunday
DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) – The matchup for the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship title game is set, and Florida State secured its place in decisive fashion on Saturday
Freshman right-hander Drew Carlton delivered a solid seven innings on the mound, and the fourth-seeded Seminoles broke open a scoreless game in the latter innings to blank top-seeded Louisville, 6-0, and clinch Pool A.
FSU (40-19) earned a spot opposite Pool B winner NC State (33-20, pending tonight’s game versus Virginia) for the title on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.
The Seminoles seek their sixth ACC Baseball Championship title and will play in the finals for the first time since 2011. FSU is 11-5 all-time versus the Wolfpack in the tournament, including an 8-3 victory in the 2010 title game at Greensboro, N.C. FSU claimed two of three at NC State in this season’s regular-season Atlantic Division series, which was played April 2-4.
Carlton (4-5) pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits while striking out four batters and walking four. He outdueled ACC Freshman of the Year Brendan McKay, who started on the mound for Louisville and took the loss.
Relievers Dylan Silva and Billy Strode combined to work the final two innings for the Seminoles and completed the shutout.
The nationally third-ranked Cardinals (43-16), attempting to reach the ACC Championship title game in their first year as league members, were hurt by fundamental mistakes that helped set the table for the Seminoles. The first five FSU runners who scored on Saturday reached base via three walks, a hit batter and an error.
The teams were a combined 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position through the first 5½ innings and left a combined 11 total runners stranded on base.
The Seminoles found a way to beat that trend in the bottom of the sixth when they scored three runs and chased McKay (8-3) from the mound despite collecting one just one hit – that didn’t leave the infield.
Two walks, two hit batters, an error by Cardinals second baseman Sutton Whiting and Ben DeLuzio’s slow rolling RBI single back toward the mound produced a 3-0 lead. The Seminoles split the damage between McKay and reliever Drew Harrington, though McKay was charged with all three runs (two earned).
FSU picked up two more in the seventh after John Sansone and DJ Stewart walked, executed a double steal, and scored on Chris Marconcini’s two-out base hit to center. DeLuzio capped the scoring when he opened the bottom of the eighth with his second home run of the season, a shot off reliever Kade McClure that cleared the wall in left.\
DeLuzio finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs to key the Seminoles’ seven-hit attack. Corey Ray and Colby Fitch each had two hits for Louisville.