DURHAM -- The last time N.C. State and Florida State tangled in the ACC baseball tournament, a championship was at stake.
That was a year ago, when the Seminoles topped the Wolfpack in the title game in Greensboro.
The two went at it again Wednesday night with a lot less on the line. But both teams wanted to win badly, to get off to a good start in this year's ACC tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
This time, it was the Pack's turn. Junior righthander Cory Mazzoni baffed the Seminoles on the mound, striking out nine in seven innings, and second baseman Matt Bergquist slugged a two-run homer as State won 7-0.
The Wolfpack (34-23), seeded seventh, faces third-seeded Georgia Tech Thursday night at 7 p.m. at DBAP to continue pool play. Senior righthander Rob Chamra is scheduled to start for State.
The second-seeded Seminoles (40-16) meet Clemson, a 9-0 winner Wednesday over the third-seeded Yellow Jackets.
The Seminoles were wary of Mazzoni (5-6), who was second in the ACC with 116 strikeouts this season and promptly fanned five batters in the first three innings. In the second, after giving up a leadoff double, he struck out the side.
Mazzoni, consistently staying ahead of the count, had eight strikeouts in the first six innings -- three against FSU centerfielder Mike McGee, a senior and the ACC's career leader in batting average, homers and RBIs among current players. He allowed just four hits and one walk before being lifted for reliever D.J. Thomas.
Mazzoni also had some help behind him. Centerfielder Brett Williams robbed FSU's James Ramsey of an extra-base hit in the fourth, sprinting to his left to make a spectacular diving catch, and also used his speed to make a nice running catch in the seventh.
Robert Benincasa, a sophomore righthander, made third start of the season for FSU and lasted just 3.1 innings. He was the first of five FSU pitchers as Seminoles coach Mike Martin looked for someone to cool off the Pack.
State jumped to a 1-0 lead in the third as Williams led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and took third when Ramsey dropped Pratt Maynard's liner in right. Harold Riggins' sacrifice fly brought Williams in, but the Pack stranded runners at second and third.
The Pack then scored three runs after two were out in the fifth to push the lead to 4-0. Andrew Ciencin had an RBI single, and two runs scored when Danny Canela singled off the glove of second baseman Devon Travis and McGee raced in and bobbled the ball.
Bergquist had hit three homers this season but unloaded on FSU reliever Gary Merians in the seventh. With Ciencin on base, he went deep to left, the ball glancing off the foul pole.
Mazzoni had retired 15 of 16 batters entering the seventh, but FSU got its first two runners on and pushed a runner to third for the first time in the game. But Mazzoni fanned shortstop Justin Gonzalez and retired Stuart Tapley on a flyout.
Back-to-back doubles by shortstop Chris Diaz and Williams leading off the eighth then made it a 7-0 game.
Mazzoni, from Evans City, Pa., sparkled against the Noles in a May 15 game. He allowed just six hits and two runs (one earned), striking out eight in six innings before FSU racked the Pack bullpen for five runs in a 7-5 victory.
Mazzoni was at his best late in the regular season. He had a 2.65 ERA in his last five starts, with 44 strikeouts in 37.1 innings.
The Pack opened last year's tournament with a 13-8 win over Clemson, then lost to Georgia Tech. State battled its way into the title game, only to lose to FSU 8-3.
Another year, another game. And for the Pack, a good start.