Posey Hits, Pitches Florida State Past No. 18 Baseball, 1-0
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Speculation among Major League Baseball draft experts has Florida State catcher Buster Posey as the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s First-Year Player Draft. On Friday, he gave NC State a taste of why he is so highly regarded.
In the second game of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series at Dick Howser Stadium, Posey opened the bottom of the eighth inning with a triple off the wall in right field, his third hit of the game, scored on a sacrifice fly to break up a scoreless game, then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record the save as the third-ranked Seminoles defeated the 18th-ranked Wolfpack, 1-0.
The loss, the first 1-0 game for NC State in more than three years, snapped a three-game winning streak for the Wolfpack, which fell to 37-17 overall and 18-10 in the ACC. The loss ended any chance NC State had to tie for third place in the final overall ACC standings. The Wolfpack will be the four seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament, which will begin Wednesday, May 21 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The win for Florida State improved the Seminoles to 45-9 overall and 23-6 in the ACC. Reliever Jimmy Marshall (5-2) got the win with a scoreless eighth inning, but the pitching hero for Florida State was starter Elih Villaneuva, who allowed just three hits and four walks in seven-plus innings. He struck out six, but still did not figure in the decision.
The same was true for NC State starter Clayton Shunick, who pitched six innings of five-hit shutout ball, walking two and striking out 10. The loss went to Drew Taylor (3-3), who struck out Jason Stidham looking to end the seventh inning. Trying to pitch around Posey leading off the bottom of the eighth, Taylor’s 3-0 pitch caught too much of the outer half of the plate, and Posey lifted a towering fly ball that carried to the wall in right. The ball hit about halfway up the wall and Posey raced around the bases with a leadoff triple. Jack Rye followed with a bomb to left-center that center fielder Marcus Jones tracked down at the warning path in the deepest part of the ballpark for a sacrifice fly, accounting for the only run of the game.
Scoring opportunities were few and far between, thanks to the starting pitchers, but both teams had their chances earlier. Florida State loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Shunick struck out Dennis Guinn and got Tony Delmonico to bounce back to the mound for the final two outs of the inning.
The Noles had runners on first and second with none out in the third, but Shunick picked Tyler Holt off second base for the first out, then fanned Posey and Rye to end the threat.
Villaneuva pitched out of a few pickles as well. The Wolfpack had runners on first and third with one out in the top of the first, but Villaneuva struck out Jeremy Synan and walked Marcus Jones to load the bases before striking out Ryan Pond for the final out.
Tommy Foschi led off the top of the fifth with a double over the head of left fielder Ohmed Danesh, but Dallas Poulk’s sacrifice bunt attempt was right back to the mound, and Foschi was unable to advance as Villaneuva threw Poulk out at first. Pat Ferguson and Matt Payne flied out to end the inning.
The Pack loaded the bases with two down in the seventh, but Villaneuva got Payne to bounce into a force play at third base for the final out.
Marshall came into the game one batter into the eighth inning, and the Wolfpack put runners on second and third with two out, but Chris Schaeffer fanned to end the threat.
After scoring the game’s only run, Posey trotted to the bullpen to warm up, then struck out two of the three men he faced in a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his sixth save of the season.
NC State and Florida State will play the final game of their three-game series on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and on-line at gopack.com through the Pack Pass package.