TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senior right fielder Steven Wells put together two incredible plays in a 20-minute span Friday night – a 10th-inning diving catch with the score tied 3-3 and a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 11th inning – to give No. 12 Florida State a 4-3 win over No. 4 NC State Thursday night at Dick Howser Stadium. Wells’ seventh home run of the year was his first career walk-off hit.
The Seminoles improved to 38-16, 15-12 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Wolfpack fell to 39-13 and 18-10 in the conference.
“Looking back, that is one that, under the circumstances, is one that you’ll remember,” head coach Mike Martin said. “We battled. We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves when things weren’t perfect. I’ll say this – there are a bunch of winners in that clubhouse, and I can’t say enough about their competitiveness.
“That’s a good baseball team we just played. Outstanding pitching, defense…they’re well deserved to be where they’re ranked.”
“We came into this series knowing these are three big games for us,” Wells said. “We’re trying to position ourselves (for the NCAA tournament) and to get the first one is big going into the weekend.”
Starting pitcher Drew Parrish remained 4-0 on the season and earned his 10th no decision, allowing three runs in 7.2 innings while striking out 10 batters. It was the second straight outing that Parrish has recorded double-digit strikeouts. All three of NC State’s runs came on a sixth inning home run by Brett Kinneman.
Clayton Kwiatkowski and CJ Van Eyk (5-0) pitched 3.1 innings of relief. Kwiatkowski entered with a runner on first and Kinneman batting in the eighth inning, forcing a fly out. Van Eyk allowed a triple to start the top of the 11th inning, but followed that up with three straight strikeouts to strand Will Wilson at third before Wells ended the game with his seventh home run of the season.
“He has a great demeanor about him, a real pitcher’s mentality,” Martin said of Van Eyk. “He knows he’s not going to dominate every time out – (Sandy) Koufax didn’t do that, (Clayton) Kershaw doesn’t do that. He’s a hard worker in control of his emotions and, above all, he loves to compete.”
Mike Salvatore tied a career high with three hits, while Rhett Aplin added a pair for FSU.
FSU took a 2-0 lead in the third inning after J.C. Flowers and Salvatore singled to start the inning and both advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt from Rafael Bournigal. Jackson Lueck grounded out to score Flowers and Aplin singled to right field for a 2-0 lead.
Parrish allowed a leadoff single in the first inning before retiring 13 straight batters. In the fifth inning, Parrish was faced with runners on second and third after a throwing error by Drew Mendoza, but struck out Evan Edwards and J.T. Jarrett to end the inning.
Parrish’s lone walk came to start the sixth inning, followed by a two-out single from Patrick Bailey before Kinneman’s 16th home run of the season.
FSU answered in the bottom of the frame on a fielding error by Brock Deatherage. Aplin and Mendoza singled, with Mendoza’s getting past Deatherage allowing Aplin to score and tie the game at 3-3.
The game remained scoreless until Wells’ walk-off home run ended the game. Joe O’Donnell (1-3) had allowed just two earned runs in 24.2 innings before Wells took the 2-2 pitch into the visiting dugout.
Bailey had two of NC State’s seven hits. Josh McLain, the ACC leader in hits with 81, went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts for the Wolfpack.
For the second time in two weeks, Steven Wells hit a game-winning home run in extra innings. Wells hit a 13th-inning home run to beat Clemson on May 5. On Thursday, Wells put a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for a 4-3 win against No. 4 NC State.
- The walk-off win was FSU’s fourth of the season. Drew Mendoza has a pair of walk-off singles this season and Jonathan Foster hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run against Louisville in March. It was Steven Wells’ first walk-off hit of his career.
- Steven Wells ranks third on the team with seven home runs. He had one home run in each of his first three seasons at FSU.
- FSU improved to 4-1 in extra innings.
- Cal Raleigh walked twice and leads FSU with 48 on the season. He singled in the 10thinning to extend his hitting streak to a career-high nine games. Raleigh’s average has jumped from .283 to .327 in that span.
- Rhett Aplin returned from a two-game hiatus and successfully reached base for the 31ststraight game. His RBI single in the third inning gave FSU a 2-0 lead. He finished 2-for-5 and leads FSU with a .330 batting average in ACC games.
- Rafael Bournigal had his team-high fifth sac bunt of the year.
- Drew Parrish struck out 10 batters Thursday, his third game this season (and second consecutive) with at least 10 K’s.
- Mike Salvatore tied a career high with three hits. He has done so in four games this season.
- FSU improved to 6-0 on its season-ending eight-game homestand.
Florida State and NC State play game two Friday at 6:00 p.m. The Noles will recognize its senior class prior to the game. Fans can also pick up Mike Martin bobblehead dolls at the game.
For more information on Florida State baseball, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSUBaseball), Facebook (/FSUBaseball), and Instagram (@NoleBaseball).