After having their 11-game winning streak snapped Friday night to Wake Forest (13-7, 3-2), No. 18 Florida State (16-4, 4-1) needed to win Saturday to avoid losing the series to the Demon Deacons. Boomer Biegalski (2-1) threw a career-high eight innings, and the Seminole bats came alive with seven runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by a towering two-run homer by DJ Stewart, to win 12-2 on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.
Biegalski, a sophomore transfer from College of Central Florida, set Wake Forest down in order to start the game, before FSU opened the scoring in the bottom half with some help from the Demon Deacons. John Sansone laid down a one-out bunt single to third, and DJ Stewart got hit by a pitch, putting the Seminoles in good position. Chris Marconcini then flew out to left, bringing FSU's hottest hitter, Quincy Nieporte, to the plate. The sophomore from Tallahassee Community College hit a ground ball to Drew Freedman at shortstop, but the freshman rushed his throw to Nate Mondou at second base, and it got away, allowing Sansone to score. Hank Truluck, getting the start in place of Dylan Busby at third base, followed with a single to left, scoring Stewart, and giving the Seminoles a 2-0 lead.
Wake Forest chipped away, scoring a run in the third, after Biegalski hit Jonathan Pryor with two outs, before allowing an RBI double to Joey Rodgriguez. The Deacs got another in the fourth on a one-out solo HR by Ben Breazeale to tie the game at 2.
Florida State would get after Wake Forest's fill-in starter, Connor Johnstone, quickly in the fourth, as Josh Delph led off with a double to right, and Ben DeLuzio reached on a bunt single to third. The Demon Deacons went to the bullpen, and John McCarren induced a first-pitch 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Danny De La Calle. However, Delph scored the go-ahead run on the play. Johnstone (1-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs (only 1 earned run) in 3+ innings.
Neither team scored again until the bottom of the sixth, when Nieporte led off with a single to center, and Truluck followed with an RBI-double to left. Delph dropped a sacrifice-bunt to third, but the ball was thrown down the right field line by Keegan Maronpot, allowing Truluck to score, while Delph ended up at third. DeLuzio would walk, putting runners on the corners with nobody out, but the Seminoles failed to stretch the lead any further, as De La Calle struck out swinging, and Taylor Walls grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
FSU broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh. Parker Johnson replaced McCarren on the mound to start the frame for Wake, but the 'Noles greeted the new pitcher with a barrage. Sansone got plunked to lead off, before Stewart, who had only mustered 2 infield singles in his last 25 at bats, took Johnson's first offering deep over the screen in right for his sixth homer of the season, giving Florida State a 7-2 lead. Marconcini then singled up the middle and was replaced by pinch runner, Nick Graganella. Truluck was hit by a pitch after a Nieporte fly out, and Delph loaded the bases with a surprise bunt single down the third base line. DeLuzio grounded into an RBI fielder's choice, but FSU ended up scoring two runs on the play, after a throwing error by Mondou, who was attempting to turn the double play. Amazingly, it was the fourth error on the night by the Demon Deacons, a team with only 16 errors in their first 19 games. The Seminoles still weren't done. De La Calle doubled to left, scoring DeLuzio. Walls followed with an RBI single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home. The freshman shortstop would advance to third on a wild pitch, before Sansone concluded the evening's scoring with an RBI double to left. It was the third hit of the evening for the junior second baseman, tying a career-high. He's now 7-16, with 7 runs and 4 RBI in four games, since head coach Mike Martin moved him to the 2nd spot in FSU's lineup. All told, the 'Noles scored 7 runs on 6 hits and a Wake Forest error in the seventh.
Meanwhile, Biegalski was carving up the ACC's top offense. He retired 13 batters in a row at one point, from the fourth inning to the eighth, and 14 of the final 15 he faced. On the night, Florida State's #2 starter (who might move into the Friday night role next week, depending on the severity of Mike Compton's abdominal injury) went 8 innings, giving up only 5 hits and 2 runs, while walking none and striking out 8. Martin was very pleased that Boomer was able to pitch deep into the game, as the Seminoles had to use four of their relief pitchers Friday night. FSU should have their full array of arms available for Sunday's game.
Offensively, Florida State totaled 16 hits, a walk, and 4 hit batters, and every Seminole starter tallied at least one hit. Sansone led the way with three hits, while Truluck, Delph, and Walls had two apiece. Defensively, FSU didn't commit an error, a night after really struggling in the field. It was a rather complete performance from the Noles, who improved to 15-1 at home.
Sunday's rubber match will start at 1 pm, and we'll see freshman Cobi Johnson on the mound for Florida State, while Wake Forest's starter is TBD.