Fifth innings have not been kind to the NC State Wolf Pack (14-4, 3-2 ACC) in Tallahassee this weekend.
After no. 2 Florida State University (16-2, 4-1 ACC) utilized a two-run fifth to pull ahead of no. 7 NC State for good on Friday, the Seminoles were at it again Saturday — this time using a four-run fifth to vanquish the Wolf Pack and take game one of their doubleheader, 8-2.
After starting the fifth inning with a strikeout, NC State starter Logan Jernigan walked the next two Seminole batters (SS Justin Gonzalez and LF DJ Stewart) and was quickly pulled from the game. Up until that point, Jernigan had kept it tight at 1-1, but — as was the case on Friday night too — the Wolf Pack bullpen couldn’t pick up the slack.
DJ Thomas came on for NC State and promptly hit FSU 3B Jose Brizuela to load the bases. That brought up Brett Knief, pinch-hitting for DH Casey Smit, who scored the go-ahead run on an infield single. Seminole 1B John Nogowski followed up by clearing the bases on a shot to left-center. Nogowski was credited with a two-run single, but advanced to third on a throwing error that also scored the Seminoles’ fourth run of the inning.
That made it 5-1.
It was all Florida State after that as the Seminoles added three more in the seventh to erase any doubt.
Jernigan, for his part, was solid on the hill for NC State. The junior RHP gave up just three hits and struck out five, but struggled with his control, lasting just 4.1, walking five and giving up three earned runs. He took his first loss of the year to drop to 3-1.
Opposite Jernigan, Brandon Leibrandt (3-1) was solid but never truly found his command. The junior RHP went 5.1 innings, gave up six hits and walked three, but held NC State to just a single run and also struck out eight. He was relieved by Gage Smith in the 6th inning with two on and one out.
Smith, for his part, continues to be one of the Seminoles’ most consistent relievers. A night after working out of a similar jam (two on, one out in the seventh on Friday evening), he spared the Seminoles any damage in the sixth on Saturday afternoon, inducing a pair of ground outs to end the Wolf Pack threat. Smith finished the game with 2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K’s and 0 ER.
Dylan Silva worked the final inning and a third — giving up an earned run on two hits while striking out a pair — to close out the win for FSU.
The NC State offense got things going early, using a Trea Turner double to drive in C Brett Austin and make it an early 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, freshman CF Ben DeLuzio connected on his first career home run to even the score at 1-1.
DeLuzio finished the day 2-4, with two runs, two RBI’s and a stolen base. Stewart went 2-3 with an RBI and a run and Nogowski finished 3-5 with two RBI’s.
Game two of the double-header starts shortly, stay tuned for more from Tallahassee…
For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter…