Baseball Pounds Elon In Opener, 17-4
Feb. 18, 2011
Brett Williams, Chris Diaz, and Matt Bergquist, batting in the bottom three spots in the batting order, had eight hits and scored a combined 11 runs. Andrew Ciencin added three RBIs, and John Gianis and Tarran Senay had two RBIs apiece.
Diaz's 4-for-4 performance marked a new career-high in hits for the Miami, Fla., native. Maynard, who drove in six runs in last year's 32-3 season-opening rout of La Salle, now has 11 RBIs in the past two season-openers for the Wolfpack.
"I'm really proud of the way we played today," Wolfpack head coach Elliott Avent said. "Elon's a really good team and they jumped ahead of us 3-0, but there the mood in our dugout was outstanding."
Elon (0-1) took an early 3-0 lead on a Cyle Rasmus homer to left with one out in the second. The Phoenix threatened to break the game open, loading the bases with only one out, but Wolfpack starter Cory Mazzoni (1-0) got out of the jam with a foulout to third and a diving circus catch by Williams in right-center. Williams made another run-saving catch in the third, diving headlong on a full sprint to corral a Rasmus flare to shalow center, stranding an Elon runner at third.
After getting on the board in the third, the Pack scored at least two runs in each inning until the eighth.
NC State broke the game wide open with a five-run inning in the fourth. Williams set the table with a single to right, and Diaz used a bit of strategy to kick-start the rally, squaring to bunt, but pulling the bat back in time to chop a hit over the head of the charging third baseman. Diaz stretched the hit into a double, advancing Williams to third. Bergquist worked a full count before walking to load the bases.
That was all for Elon starter Jared Kernodle (0-1), who left the game saddled with the loss after going three-plus innings. He was charged with six earned runs, three of which came in on reliever Greg Amarosso's watch. Kernodle allowed eight hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
With Amarosso, a lefthander, on the hill, Gianis grounded a single through the hole between first and second to score the go-ahead run. Maynard then cleared the bases on a three-run double just outside the reach of first baseman Grant McCoury, putting the Pack up 7-3.
NC State enjoyed another five-run inning in the sixth, with Gianis driving in a run with a single through the right side, Ciencin driving in two with a single up the middle, and Senay driving in one with a single to left. Williams's two-run homer in the seventh provided the final fireworks of the afternoon.
Mazzoni allowed four runs, three of them on the Rasmus home run, on eight hits in six innings for the Pack. D.J. Thomas, Brandon Price, and Nick Rice each threw one scoreless inning of relief, giving up a combined one hit.
"I thought Cory pitched well," Avent said. "They got a couple of hits on slow rollers on the infield that we couldn't make plays on, and he walked a batter, but the home run was the only hard-hit ball that inning. When Cory came out, our bullpen pitched well."
NC State visits Elon for the second game of the series Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Latham Park. The two teams return to Raleigh on Sunday for the series finale at 1 p.m.