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May 17, 2012
On Thursday night it was missed opportunities that would comeback to haunt No. 1 Florida State as it dropped the series opener to No. 13 North Carolina State 10-5.
FSU led 4-1 in the fourth inning and had freshman phenom Carlos Rodon on the ropes with runners on first and second and no outs. The Seminoles were unable to extend the lead as Devon Travis popped out on a bunt attempt, Jose Brizuela was thrown out at the plate, and Stephen McGee grounded out to second to leave the bases loaded.
In the top of the fifth the Wolfpack (38-13, 19-9 ACC) took control of the game with a four-run inning, punctuated by a three-run home run by Ryan Mathews to straight away center off of Hunter Scantling (5-1), who took his first loss of the season.
"Really not a lot you can say expect they just kicked us," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "They outplayed us. We had our chances, we made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of it and you just move to tomorrow."
FSU jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second on a two-run double by Brizuela and an RBI bunt single by Sherman Johnson.
FSU added another run the following inning on a passed ball to score Jayce Boyd for a 4-1 lead. In the top of the fourth inning the Seminoles looked to be on the verge of breaking the game open.
Brizuela and Johnson started the inning off with back-to-back walks as Rodon struggled with his command. Travis attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but popped it up to Andrew Ciencin instead for the first out.
James Ramsey then laced a 2-1 pitch off the wall in right that looked like it would score at least one run. Brizulea misread the ball off the bat though and got a bad jump and was thrown out at the plate on a relay throw from Logan Ratledge.
"I got a terrible jump off it," Brizuela said. "You've just got to learn from it."
After the out Jayce Boyd walked to load the basses, but McGee left them that way as he grounded out to end the inning.
The Wolfpack carried the momentum into the fifth as Mathews launched a three-run homer off of Scantling, who took over for starter Scott Sitz in the fourth. Scantling gave up four runs, three earned, on three hits and two walks in 2.1 innings of relief.
"I think we had a pitch that we trying to just see if we could get the guy to chase it," Martin said of the home run. "It was just one of those things that happens every night, the ball just happened to be in the wrong spot."
After looking like he was in line for his first collegiate loss, Rodon (9-0) was able to grind out another victory. He gave up four runs, three earned, on three hits and a career-high nine walks, and struck out six in his 6.1 innings pitched.
"That kid over there is a great pitcher," Travis said of Rodon. "I was pretty surprised he was in college. We had our chances and we didn't capitalize."
In the top of the seventh FSU further fell in the hole as the Wolfpack put up four more runs on a pair of two-run hits by Ciencin and Trea Turner. In the eighth Mathews hit his second homer of the game, and the third of the game for N.C. State as the Wolpack cruised to a 10-5 victory.
The loss was the fourth in the last five games for the Seminoles. Brandon Leibrandt (6-2, 3.01 ERA) will try to right the ship for FSU on Friday as he starts opposite of Ethan Ogubrun (4-2, 2.91 ERA). First pitch is at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com.
"We're looking forward to getting back out here and getting this taste out of our mouth," Martin said. "This is a special group of young men. We've lost what? 12 games this year now? This is certainly no time to look at anything but ahead, and that's what we will do. We will look for that ball game tomorrow to play better."
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