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Three up, three down: UNC slams Florida State, takes game two and series

The Seminole’s defense failed early and often.

Syndication: Florida Times-Union Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

Chapel Hill, NC - After a quick strike from the Seminoles it was all UNC in an error plagued game by FSU. After pulling within two runs, the Tar Heels put the game out of reach with a eighth inning grand slam. The North Carolina Tar Heels would win 10-4, clinching the series.

The Seminoles struck in the first inning after Brett Roberts roped a double down the left field line to score Isaiah Perry. In total, FSU picked up three hits in the inning but could not advance the runners at second and third with just one out. North Carolina tied the game in bottom of the inning after Vance Honeycutt deposited a 2-run home run over the wall in left. The ‘Noles went 1-2-3 in the second and UNC took advantage of FSU mistakes in the second to take the lead. After a fly out to left, Messick induced another fly ball to center which Reese Albert dropped, allowing the batter to reach second. A bunt single and a sac-fly later and the Tar Heels led 3-2.

FSU picked up one single in the third but was quiet otherwise. UNC placed runners on first and third but were wiped out by a double play. In the fourth, FSU had a runner reach by walk, but a double play ending the inning. North Carolina did their best impression of the third inning, having runners on first and third before killing the threat with a double play. Perry and Jordan Carrion recorded back-to-back two out singles in the fifth but Ferrer struck out to close the frame. UNC got their fourth run in bottom of the inning with another Alberto Osuna home run, his third of the series. The sixth was quiet for both teams and then Brock Mathis led off the seventh with a home run to left to bring FSU within one run.

In the bottom of the seventh, Ross Dunn took over for Parker Messick on the mound. He allowed a bloop single double to right and then walked the second batter. The FSU defense again faltered as Dunn fielded a bunt cleanly and short hopped the throw to Alex Toral at first. The error allowed UNC to score their fifth run. The Tar Heels added their sixth run later in the inning with a sac-fly to right. The eighth inning saw FSU pick a run back up but also lose out on potentially more. Ferrer led off the inning with a walk, followed by a Roberts single. Albert struck out and Logan Lacey skied an infield fly which North Carolina misplayed. The Tar Heels attempted to catch Ferrer at third but the ball ended up in left field. Ferrer scored but Roberts was throw out at third. After the play, the umpired conferred and agreed that the hit was an infield fly. The result was a double play as Lacey was called out and after the play was in motion, Roberts had been thrown out. The call wiped out any further opportunity for FSU.

Dunn picked up a flyout to start the bottom of the eighth before walking the next batter. Angel Zarate grounded to first and Dunn was late covering the bag. Dylan Simmons was called into relieve Dunn with one out and two on. Simmons walked the first batter faced and then gave up a grand slam to push UNC’s lead to six, 10-4. Jackson Nezuh was next up from the pen and struck out the next two batters to finally end the inning. Tyler Martin would lead off the ninth with a walk but FSU went quietly from there giving UNC their first series win over FSU since 2017.

Game Thread

Box Score

Two up

Top of the lineup busy on the base path

The bright spot of the game was Florida State’s top of the order. FSU’s first four batters were a combined 7/15 at the plate with one walk. They also combined for only one strikeout. Unfortunately the bottom of the lineup was unable to keep the offense moving. Coach Mike Martin Jr has the bats, but needs to find the right construction for the lineup.

Mathis makes the most of this opportunity

Brock Mathis received the start at first base tonight in place of Alex Toral. He responded with his sixth homerun of the year. The ‘Noles have struggled to find the right spot for Mathis in the lineup this year due to Vincent’s superior defense behind the plate. With Tyler Martin as a season long DH, Mathis’ opportunities have dwindled. There is still uncertainty of how consistent he could be at the plate, but his power is definitely evident.

Four down

Fundamentals in the field doom FSU

With another multiple error (three tonight) game, one has to question the fundamentals of FSU. A dropped fly, the consistent inconsistency of fielding bunts, and the lack of communication on 50-50 plays. The list could go on but even the casual fan has witnessed at least one fielding meltdown game this year. There have been far too many sloppy performances and it is an area that the staff needs to take a long look at this offseason.

Messick out of sync

For the second straight game, Parker Messick did not have his A-game. His line on the night was 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. North Carolina is an above average offense but still one that Messick has the ability to dominate. The defense let Messick down, but the punch out ability has fallen off for Messick in the last two games.

A day to forget for Reese Albert

The reliable redshirt senior had one of his worst games of the year. His complete drop of a routine fly led to a run but his inability to execute at the plate cost FSU runs as well. In the first, with runners on second and third and one out, Albert struck out. In almost identical fashion, in the eighth inning with runners on first and second with zero outs Alberts again fanned. He ended the night 0/4.

Bottom of the lineup cannot produce

While FSU’s top of the order did their job, the bottom of the lineup struggled. The last five batters for Florida State were a combined 2/18 at the plate with two walks (one of those a pinch hit walk by Martin). The lone highlight was Mathis’ homerun.

Up next: FSU looks to salvage the series with a win tomorrow at 2:00 PM