Chapel Hill, NC - The North Carolina Tar Heels’ offense hit a homerun on the first pitch they saw and rolled from there. FSU’s starting pitching struggled for the the third straight game against UNC and the offense stalled out, losing 11-0.
The Seminoles picked up a walk from Jordan Carrion and a single from Brett Roberts but were unable to bring either runner in to start the first. In the bottom of the first, Angel Zarate took Hubbart’s first pitch over the right field fence. UNC would load the bases following an FSU error, a UNC walk, and single before Hubbart picked up his third strike out of the inning. In total, Hubbart tossed 33 pitches in the inning. Brock Mathis singled to start the second but a fielder’s choice and a double play ended the frame. Hubbart started the second with a total loss of control. He hit the first batter he faced, walked the next, and then hit Zarate to load the bases with zero outs. Hubbart ran the count up to 2-0 on the next batter before Coach Mike Martin Jr had seen enough, replacing Hubbs with Conner Whittaker. UNC would hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to bring their scoring total to three before Whittaker struck out Vance Honeycutt to finally end the inning. In total for the inning, North Carolina scored two runs on zero hits.
In the third, Colton Vincent grounded out and Isaiah Perry was called out for the ball striking his bat twice on a bunt attempt before Carrion reached with a single. Jaime Ferrer grounded out for the third out. Whittaker kept UNC scoreless in the third, working around a one out walk. Roberts walked in the fourth but FSU went 1-2-3 to close out their half of the inning. Whitt worked around a two out single to continue keeping the Tar Heel offense at bay. The Seminoles recorded two outs to start the fifth before Perry walked and stole second. With two strikes, Carrion watched strike three on a borderline call to end the top half of the fifth. Whittaker walked Honeycutt to begin the fifth and was relieved mid-count against Alberto Osuna. Jackson Baumeister was next up and proceeded to walk Osuna. A sacrifice bunt later and UNC picked up their fourth run of the game with their third sacrifice fly. Ferrer led off the sixth with a double to center but was left stranded as FSU again went 1-2-3 after the lead-off hit. Baumeister struck out the first batter he faced in the sixth before walking the next two. Baum picked up his second K and third walk to load the bases. Jonah Scolaro was called in to save the inning and allowed a two out, two run RBI single to Osuna to up the score to 6-0. After another walk, Scolaro picked up a strikeout to close the inning.
FSU picked up singles from James Tibbs and Treyton Rank to being the seventh but FSU went three up, three down after that. The game hit a two hour weather delay headed into the bottom of the seventh. When play resumed, Jackson Nezuh stepped to the mound and walked the first batter he faced. A sac bunt later and UNC tacked on their seventh run with a single. Mac Horvath then took Nezuh deep to extend the lead to 9-0. Nezuh hit the next batter and Martin went to Andrew Armstrong. Repeating the same performance as the midweek against the Florida Gators, Armstrong allowed a two run homerun to the first batter he faced. Armstrong allowed one more hit before finally ending the seventh inning. FSU’s offense was 1-2-3 in the eighth inning. Kyle McMullen pitched for Florida State in the bottom of the eighth and struck out all three batters sent to the plate. FSU’s offense went quietly into the night in the ninth and Carolina won the game 11-0, sweeping the Seminoles.
Whittaker fills the gap
It was Whittaker’s second extended appearance of the series after pitching four innings of relief in game one. Though he allowed the two inherited runners to score via sac fly, he was able to slow down the UNC offense and keep the game close. It was a near repeat performance from Thursday when he was called upon to stop the bleeding. For the series, Whittaker tossed 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 2 BB.
FSU’s starting pitching lays an egg against UNC
Following Hubbart’s 1.0 IP today, the combined line of Florida State’s starting pitching against UNC was 10 IP, 13 H, 10 ER, 10 K, 5 BB. They also combined to give up four homeruns. Heading into the postseason, FSU’s most dependable starters (Messick and Hubbart) are scuffling and the Seminoles are still searching for an answer for the third spot.
Offensively offensive display from FSU’s bats
After last weekend’s offensive resurgence against Miami, the FSU offense went cold after game one against UNC. In today’s game, the FSU offense were 0/9 with runners in scoring position and only managed two hits with any runner on base.
Bullpen breaks down
Early in the season, the FSU pen struggled to fight their footing. After a rough February and start of March, the pen found success and became the backbone of the team. Wyatt Crowell was sluggish in Friday’s loss and then today the arms fell off after Whittaker. The four pitchers immediately following Whittaker combined to throw 3 IP, 5 H, 7 ER. Kyle McMullen was the fifth reliever after Whittaker and pitched a clean eighth.
Up next: The ACC tournament begins Tuesday.