March 9, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State battled in the conference opener, but Georgia Tech’s bats proved to be too much as the 10th-ranked Yellow Jackets put up a combined 11 runs in the middle innings to drop the Wolfpack 14-6 Friday at Doak Field at Dail Park.
Ryan Mathews turned in the Pack’s best performance of the afternoon, going 3-for-5 with a homerun, two RBIs, two doubles, and a run scored. Mathews improves to 10-for-16 with six doubles, six RBIs, and a homer over his last four games.
Chris Diaz extended his hit streak to 12 games on a 1-for-5 day with a double and a run. Jake Fincher had a pair of base hits in his 2-for-3 outing. Tarran Senay’s lone hit, a seventh-inning double, scored two runs. Andrew Ciencin hit his second homer of the year, a rocket over the left field corner in the first, to tie the game at 1-1.
“Give credit to Georgia Tech,” said NC State head coach Elliott Avent. “I’d certainly like to think we’re better than what we showed today, but they’re a different caliber right now and they made us play the way we did. They did a good job once they got people on base, and that’s what you have to do. Hopefully, we’ll show up a little differently tomorrow.”
State (9-3, 0-1 ACC) scored four runs in the seventh toward what would have been a titanic comeback thanks to its hottest bats, those belonging to Diaz and Mathews. Diaz yanked a one-out double down the left field line to kick off a string of three-consecutive extra base hits for the Pack. Senay followed him with another double into left to score Diaz and Canela. Mathews then blasted a two-run shot just inside the left field foul pole, his second of the year, to score Senay to put a stamp on the Wolfpack’s four-run inning.
Unfortunately, State’s big inning barely put a dent in the 14-2 hole Georgia Tech (11-3, 1-0 ACC) had dug for them to that point. Tech scored three runs in the first two innings to chase starter Anthony Tzamtzis (1-1) from the game. In the fourth, the Jackets scored four runs, tacked on another four in the fifth, and added three more in the sixth to put the game away.
The Pack had narrowed its deficit to 3-2 before the fourth opened the flood gates. Ciencin answered Tech’s run in the first with a solo shot, and Canela drove in Trea Turner in the third on an error by the second baseman after the Yellow Jackets had added a pair of runs in the second.
Tzamtzis took the loss on 1 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, one earned, on one hit, walking four, and striking out a batter. Ryan Wilkins took the brunt of Georgia Tech’s offensive efforts, allowing 10 runs, nine earned over four innings. Dillon Frye pitched the final 3 1/3, slowing the Jackets down to just one earned run on two hits, walking two, and striking out a pair.
Georgia Tech’s Buck Farmer (3-1) snagged the win on six innings of work, surrendering two runs, one earned on seven hits, while striking out six and walking three. Jarrett Didrick relieved him and pitched the seventh, allowing four earned on three hits and two walks. Alex Cruz pitched the final two innings, holding State hitless, striking out two, and walking one.
NC State returns to the diamond Saturday for a 2 p.m. start carried live online by ESPN3.com. Radio coverage will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available on GoPack.com.