DURHAM, N.C. -- A three-run third inning and the right arm of Boomer Biegalski was the recipe for success on Wednesday afternoon as fourth-seeded Florida State (38-19) opened pool play by defeating fifth-seeded Clemson (31-26) 3-1 on Day 2 of the 2015 ACC Baseball Championship inside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
“Obviously it was the Boomer Biegalski show [Wednesday] and DJ [Stewart] picked us up with the big hit,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “It’s amazing what starting pitching does for a ball club and Boomer gave us 6.1 [innings].”
With the win, Florida State snapped a five-game losing streak, its longest since 2006, and secured a win in Durham at the ACC tournament for the first time since 2011.
Stewart and Quincy Nieporte accounted for all of Florida State’s run production on Wednesday as the Seminoles scored all three runs on back-to-back two-out hits in the third inning.
Taylor Walls got things going in the third with a one-out single to right center off Clemson starter Matthew Crownover. The Seminole shortstop later stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. John Sansone then drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive for Stewart, who laced a 3-2 pitch off the blue monster in left center and just beyond the reach of left fielder Reed Rohlman for a two-run triple. Nieporte followed with single through the right side to plate Stewart and give the Seminoles a 3-0 lead.
“I had two strikes on me, I was thinking opposite field, looking for the ball away,” Stewart said. “He gave me a fastball away. He didn’t want to load the bases with our four-hole hitter coming up. He gave me a fastball away and I tried not to do too much and hit it that way.”
Crownover (10-2), who finished the outing allowing three runs on three hits in 7.0 innings of work, suffered just his second loss of the season and first since falling to Wake Forest back on March 27. A junior left hander, he recorded three walks and eight strikeouts against the Seminoles on Wednesday.
“He was doing the same thing that he was doing the whole game,” said Stewart on the effectiveness of Crownover. “With a pitcher like Crownover, there’s a reason he’s the ACC Pitcher of the Year, whenever he gets in a jam he pitches out of it. And as hitters you have to capitalize on the opportunity. Maybe he’ll give you one opportunity to score on him, maybe two, but it’s not likely that he’s going to give you many opportunities after that.”
FSU’s three-run third was all the run support Biegalski would need as the sophomore right hander scattered four hits through 6.1 scoreless innings to earn the win moving to 6-4 on the year.
“He pitched very well the last time we played Clemson and didn’t have anything to show for it,” Martin said. “So I’m sure he was motivated to pitch better today.”
Just six days ago in Tallahassee, Biegalski suffered the loss to the Tigers giving up four runs, two earned, in 6.0 innings as Clemson defeated Florida State 4-1 to open the three-game series.
But the story was much different on Wednesday as Biegalski did not give up more than one hit in an inning and did not allow a runner to reach second until one-out in the sixth. The Seminole starter retired the side in order in the first and third innings and did not face more than four batters in an inning until the seventh. Biegalski finished his outing issuing just one walk while striking out seven.
“I felt like I was locating better than I had been, and getting ground balls,” said Biegalski. “The guys playing behind me helped a lot today.”
The Tigers recorded their first base runner at second in the sixth when Steven Duggar reached on a single and moved to second on a fielding error in center field. But Duggar would be stranded at second as Biegalski retired the next two batters to end the threat on a strikeout and a fly out.
Clemson loaded the bases in the seventh but came away empty handed as Dylan Silva got Tiger pinch-hitter Glenn Batson to hit into an inning-ending double play to end the threat. The Tigers loaded the bases with a single, a walk and a throwing error at first against Biegalski prompting Martin to go to the bullpen and bring on Silva. The junior southpaw needed just two pitches as Batson grounded into the 3-6-3 double play to retire the side.
After loading the bases for the second consecutive inning, Clemson finally got on the scoreboard on an RBI groundout by Chris Okey. Silva opened the inning with a strikeout to Eli White before giving up a single to Duggar and a walk to Tyler Krieger. Billy Strode entered and issued a single to Rohlman to load the bases. Okey then delivered an RBI groundout to first to cut the deficit to 3-1 before Strode kept the Seminole lead in check getting Robert Jolly looking at a called third strike to end the inning.
The Tigers would not go quietly in the ninth as Strode issued walks to Tyler Slaton and White, but the Seminole closer preserved the win getting Duggar swinging on strikes to end the game for his 13th save of the season.