DURHAM, N.C. – Sophomores Michael Smiciklas and Jack Labosky each belted a two-run home run to help Duke to a 5-4 victory over No. 6 Florida State Friday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Smiciklas opened the scoring with his first career homer, a second-inning shot to right field. Labosky added a two-run bomb of his own the following frame to give Duke (30-20, 11-14 ACC) a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Florida State (32-16, 14-7 ACC) tied the game at two-all in the third and trimmed the deficit one run in the seventh, but could not push a fifth run across down the stretch.
Graduate student Kellen Urbon (7-1) allowed four runs on nine hits over 6.1 innings to secure his seventh victory of the season. Labosky surrendered one hit in 1.2 innings of relief to set up sophomore Mitch Stallings in the ninth. Stallings then pitched around a one-out infield single to register his eighth save.
“Kellen really settled in after the third inning,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “He really used the change up effectively and got them off balance.”
Smiciklas’ homer gave Duke a 2-0 edge following the second. Sophomore Justin Bellinger led off the frame with a first-pitch single before Smiciklas smashed FSU starter Drew Carlton’s 2-1 offering into the right field bleachers.
“[Carlton] was challenging me with a fastball a lot,” Smiciklas said. “He threw me an inside fastball before and kind of jammed me. He threw me a change up away so I figured I’m going to sit here and hopefully he throws again inside. He did and it felt pretty good. Credit to [Carlton]; he’s a good pitcher and he threw a really good game.”
With one out in the third, Florida State rattled off four-straight hits to tie the game. Taylor Walls and Jackson Lueck each tallied an RBI single to help the Seminole cause.
Duke responded immediately, registering four hits to score three third-inning runs. Max Miller’s single started the rally before Jimmy Herron drilled an RBI double off the Blue Monster. Labosky’s team-leading seventh homer then extended the margin to 5-2.
“Good pitcher on the mound,” Labosky said. “He was giving me all sorts of trouble. First inning he threw me a fastball in I got pretty jammed on. I just got a slider to my liking and put a good swing on it.”
Urbon did not allow more than one baserunner in each of the next three innings, effectively preserving the Duke advantage. Ben DeLuzio began a one-out, seventh-inning rally with his second triple of the season. The third of four Walls’ singles brought DeLuzio home, narrowing the margin. John Sansone knocked an RBI double to right field before Labosky induced two fly balls to right field to end the threat.
Labosky tossed a 1-2-3 eighth and made a nice defensive play at third for the first ninth-inning out. Walls beat out an infield single, but Stalling struck out Sansone and got Lueck to ground out to third for the final out.
“Jack pitched a really good eighth then he had a tremendous play to lead off the ninth inning,” Pollard added. “He was really good in all three phases. He played a tremendous game at third base, he hit the home run and the job he did on the mound. He showed off why he’s one of the best players in the ACC.”
Carlton (6-3) took the loss, allowing five runs on eight hits over seven innings.
Friday’s victory marked Duke’s sixth straight and 30th of the season. The Blue Devils have now recorded 30-plus wins in each of the past three campaigns.
Duke and Florida State return to action Saturday, May 14. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.