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No. 8 Florida State baseball vs. North Carolina State: Game thread, preview, how to watch

The ‘Noles host the Pack for ACC home opener.

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Florida State baseball team (11-5, 2-1 ACC) plays their second ACC series this weekend (first at home). After taking two of three on the road against Wake Forest last week, the ‘Noles will host the NC State Wolfpack (10-6, 0-2 ACC). Last weekend, FSU dropped the opener to the Demon Deacons, before winning both games of the Sunday doubleheader. FSU has won every weekend series so far.

FSU leads the head-to-head series over NCSU, 75-34. The two teams met last year in May, with the Wolfpack taking the first two games from the Seminoles, before the Noles avoided a sweep winning a Saturday slugfest. NC State started this season winning eight straight, but has dropped six of the last eight. Florida State will look to ride their success of their nationally recognized pitching staff against the bats of Tommy “Tanks” and his teammates.

NC State is buoyed by a monster opening to the season. In particular freshman Tommy White has been a monster hitting three home runs in his first game at NC State and nine over the first eight games. However, much like the rest of the Wolfpack, he’s fallen back to earth as the competition has picked up. He’s still a dangerous bat in the lineup but he’s only got two extra base hits and two multi-hit games over their last eight matchups.

The top of the Wolfpack line up has been pretty consistent but they have struggled of late in getting extra base hits. They don’t run much and there’s a bit of swing and miss peppered in the top of the lineup and they are about to face the toughest staff they’ve seen all year.

Friday starter Sam Highfill has been decent for the Pack. While he hasn’t gone deep into games he’s given his team a chance to win with a decent K:BB ratio of 23:6. However, he’s only gone more than six innings once this year.

A bit more walk prone Matt Willadsen will get the call on Saturday. Willadsen probably pitched his best game last week against Notre Dame giving up four runs (one earned) in a 11-4 loss against the Irish. Willadsen has been successful so far this year in limiting the extra base hit.

Senior David Harrison gets the Sunday start and while FSU will have the advantage on the hill in every game they certainly will on Sunday. Harrison has yet to find his footing this year. Each game has been a little bit worse than the previous one with Harrison bottoming out against Notre Dame where he gave up three runs over just 0.1 innings.

The pen has not been great for the Wolfpack with Garrett Payne, Canaan Silver and Carson Kelly seeing the most innings on the year. Fielding has really hindered this staff’s ability to control games as NC State is fielding at a .956 clip.

Over their first eight games NC State scored less than 10 runs twice and in their last eight NC State has scored over five runs once. While they no doubt benefited from an easy early schedule they probably aren’t as bad as the team that got swept by Northeastern (who isn’t a bad team in their own right) and lost two of two from Notre Dame. Florida State has a real opportunity to sweep and they’ll need to win at least two of three to position themselves well in the post season.

Below is a preview of the probable pitching matchups — Friday’s game was postponed due to weather, making Sunday a double header.

Schedule update:

Saturday 3/19, 2:00 PM

Probable Starters: LHP Parker Messick (2-1, 2.52 ERA) vs. LHP David Harrison (2-1, 4.41 ERA)

How to watch: ACCN

How to listen: 100.7 FM in Tallahassee

Sunday 3/20, 12:00 PM

Probable Starters: LHP Bryce Hubbart (4-0, 1.11 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Willadsen (0-1, 3.80 ERA)

How to watch: ACCN Extra

How to listen: 100.7 FM in Tallahassee

Sunday 3/20, following first game

Probable Starters: LHP Ross Dunn (1-0, 1.86 ERA) vs. RHP Sam Highfill (1-1, 4.79 ERA)

How to watch: ACCN Extra

How to listen: 100.7 FM in Tallahassee

NC State top performers

  • DH Tommy White: .394 AVG/ .817 SLG/ 9 HR
  • 2B J.T. Jarrett: 462 AVG/ .741 SLG/ 9 RBI
  • 1B LuJames Groover III: .357 AVG/ .486 SLG/ 25 H
  • 3B Josh Hood: .308 AVG/ .538 AVG/ 20 H

Tomahawk Nation will have updates in the game thread and on our Twitter.