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Florida State scores four in eighth inning for 7-3 victory
DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) – The big inning eluded Florida State for most of their 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship opener, but the defending champions made one happen at the most opportune time.
The fourth-seeded Seminoles scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth to push past fifth-seeded NC State, 7-3, as pool play got underway Wednesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Steven Wells Jr.’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly snapped a 3-3 tie, and Taylor Walls followed with a two-run single to provide FSU with breathing room. The Seminoles plated the game’s final run on a wild pitch.
Round-robin pool play continues for both teams on Thursday with Florida State (35-19) facing ninth-seeded Georgia Tech (36-20) at 3 p.m., while NC State (34-19) will meet top-seeded Miami (43-10) in the 7 p.m. contest.
Chase Haney (5-0), the fourth of five Seminoles pitchers, picked up the win on Wednesday. Will Gilbert (3-1) took the loss for NC State after yielding FSU’s first three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
The Wolfpack shook off a first-inning home run by the Seminoles’ John Sansone to build a 3-1 lead through 5 ½ innings. NC State played small ball to perfection, with Brock Deatherage scoring its first run on the back end of a double-steal in the second inning and Brett Kinnerman squeezing home another run with a well-placed bunt in the fourth.
The Wolfpack also received a solid start on the mound from Cory Wilder, who worked five innings and allowed two runs on three hits. But the Seminoles pulled even in the bottom of the sixth on Dylan Busby’s two-out, two-run single that knotted the score at 3-3 at set the stage for the decisive eighth inning.