After taking the first two games of the weekend series and clinching the ACC’s Atlantic division title, the Florida State Seminoles lost this afternoon’s game against the North Carolina Tar Heels by a score of 5-4.
For the second straight game FSU saw a great opportunity to open the scoring in the top of the first slip away. After Casey Smit and DJ Stewart drew one-out walks, John Nogowski drove a line drive right at UNC shortstop Michael Russell, who stepped on second to double off Smit and end the threat.
Lefty Dylan Silva got his first career start for the ‘Noles. He entered the game with a 4-0 record and an ERA of just 1.47 but struggled from the onset. He walked Russell to begin the bottom of the first, and then made a poor throw to second on a Carolina bunt, leaving runners on the corners. Russell gave Carolina a 1-0 lead when he scored on a fielder’s choice.
The Tar Heels touched up Silva again in the second when Alex Raburn walked and scored on a double by Tom Zengel. Korey Dunbar’s bloop single plated Zengel, and the UNC lead grew to 3-0. This ended Silva’s day, who was relieved by Peter Miller. Miller pitched into a bases-loaded jam of his own in the third and was spelled by Billy Strode, who escaped without allowing a run.
A leadoff walk again came back to haunt Florida State in the fourth, when Strode issued a free pass to Adam Pate. Pate was bunted to second and made it 4-0 on Parks Jordan’s RBI hit.
The Seminoles got on the board in the fifth, when Brett Knief and Justin Gonzalez singled. Knief then scored on a Danny De La Calle base hit, which prompted Carolina to go to its bullpen and reliever Reilly Hovis. Josh Delph kept it going for the ‘Noles, driving in Gonzalez with a single. De La Calle also scored on the play, thanks to a Tar Heel error, and the UNC lead was just 4-3.
Gage Smith took over on the hill for FSU in the fifth and set the side down in order. He led off the Florida State sixth with a rousing strikeout before Hank Truluck was hit by a pitch. Truluck stole second, advanced to third on a Knief groundout, and tied the game 4-4 on a Hovis wild pitch.
Carolina recaptured the lead when they finally got to Smith with three singles in the seventh, the last of which, off the bat of Tyler Ramirez, scored Jordan to make the score 5-4. Smith prevented further damage when he fielded a bunt by Raburn and threw out Landon Lassiter at home for the inning’s final out.
Jameis Winston relieved Smith in the eighth and held UNC off the board, but the Seminoles couldn’t plate John Sansone, who singed but was still at first when De La Calle struck out to end the game.
The ‘Noles close out the regular season this week with four home games. First up: Central Florida on Tuesday at 1 pm for Fan Appreciation Day– admission will be free.