March 4, 2012
WILMINGTON, N.C. - Ryan Mathews and Brett Austin provided the offensive fireworks, and Carlos Rodon regrouped after some trouble in the first to send NC State to an 8-3 win over UNC Wilmington Sunday at Brooks Field.
Mathews went 3-for-3 with a double and a walk, driving in one run and scoring two. Austin became the third Wolfpack (8-2) hitter in as many games to submit a 4-for-5 game with four singles, scoring a run. Chris Diaz had two RBIs on his lone hit of the game, going 1-for-4 to extend his season-opening hit streak to 10 games. Danny Canela went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Tarran Senay and Matt Bergquist each went 2-for-5 with one RBI apiece.
Rodon (2-0) gave up two runs in the first, but composed himself to throw six shutout innings for the win before leaving in the eighth. Rodon finished with five strikeouts over seven-plus innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on eight hits while walking one. Ethan Ogburn (1) came on in the eighth, pitching the final two innings for the save, allowing no hits, no runs, striking out two and walking none.
Mat Batts (0-2) took the loss for UNC Wilmington (3-8) after allowing three runs, two earned, on 10 hits, striking out seven and walking one in seven innings. Wilmington brought in three more pitchers who each surrendered at least one run of State's final five.
Wilmington took advantage of Rodon's early command issues in the first. With rain falling, Rodon struggled to find his footing at times, eventually drawing the grounds crew out to dry the mound. Matt Campbell led off the game with a double into the left field corner. Rodon threw his first of two wild pitches in the inning, advancing Campbell to second. After a hit batsman put runners on the corners, Rodon threw another wild pitch to score the game's first run and move Andrew Cain to second. A passed ball got Cain to third, in position to score on Hunter Ridge's single through the left side to make it 2-0.
In the third, NC State loaded the bases with no outs after Jake Fincher's bunt single, and consecutive base hits to left by Trea Turner and Austin. Andrew Ciencin scored Fincher from third with a sac fly to center. During the next at-bat, Turner got caught off the bag at second, but beat the rundown as UNCW's third baseman dropped the ball attempting to apply the tag. That turn of events allowed Canela to hit one sharply to second for the game-tying RBI.
In the fourth, both pitchers dodged bullets as Batt's struck out two and induced a grounder to leave Mathews stranded on second after his lead off double. Rodon navigated his way out of a runners at the corners jam with only one out in the bottom half, picking off the runner on first and getting a ground ball to end the threat.
The Wolfpack took the lead in the sixth with a two-out rally. After a groundball double play looked like it might help Batts escape again, Mathews singled through the left side with two away. Senay followed him with a liner ripped through the right side, flying right over Mathews's head on the base paths. Bergquist came through with a single into left center, scoring Mathews to put the Pack on top 3-2.
State extended the lead to 5-2 in the top of the eighth. Canela led off with a single up the middle, moving to second on Diaz's sac bunt. Mathews singled up the middle to score Canela from second, and advanced all the way to third on a wayward pick off attempt during the next at-bat. Senay then plated Mathews with his second-straight single through the right side.
Wilmington narrowed the margin to 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth. Rodon pitched to the first two batters, surrendering a pair of singles before giving way to Ogburn. Ogburn provided a double play ball to leave a runner on third with two outs. Against the next batter, a wild pitch third strike scored the runner from third.
The Wolfpack loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth when Austin led off with a single up the middle, Ciencin walked, and UNCW's new pitcher mishandled Canela's sac bunt. Diaz extended his hit streak with a single into right center to score two. Canela scored from third one out later on a passed ball after Mathews's sac bunt to give the Pack the 8-3 win.
NC State returns to the diamond on Wednesday, March 7 to host Davidson at 3 p.m. Live radio will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates on @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available at GoPack.com.