March 18, 2012
Box Score | Box Score | Highlights
RALEIGH, N.C. – No. 19 NC State won its sixth-straight and swept No. 24 Wake Forest by taking a 5-4 nailbiter Sunday at Doak Field at Dail Park.
The Wolfpack (15-3, 5-1 ACC) only managed six hits on the ballgame, tying a season-low, but did enough to break a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh. Wake Forest (16-7, 3-3 ACC) had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position in the top of the eighth, but a strange pick off of the runner at third by catcher Brett Austin helped preserve the win.
“I’m so proud of our guys for beating a very good Wake Forest team,” said NC State head coach Elliott Avent. “I don’t think [Wake Forest] has any weaknesses. They’re extremely well-coached and talented, and I think it’s a great accomplishment for our guys to be able to win this series. I didn’t think we necessarily played as well as we did the last two days, but obviously I think it says a lot about our team that they fought so hard even when we didn’t have our best.”
Ryan Mathews represented the only Pack player to record more than one hit, going 2-for-3 on the day with one RBI. Austin had a double, an RBI, and scored in his 1-for-4 performance. Andrew Ciencin had State’s only other extra base hit, a double in his 1-for-3 outing with one run, one RBI, and a walk. Trea Turner stole two more bases to improve to 19-for-19 on the year. Logan Ratledge and Matt Bergquist each had an RBI, Ratledge on a walk and Bergquist on a sac fly.
Anthony Tzamtzis (2-1) picked up the win over three scoreless one-hit innings, walking two. Tzamtzis relieved Vance Williams in the seventh after Williams went four innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks. Starter Logan Jernigan had a rough outing, walking seven over the first two innings, giving up one earned run.
Wake reliever Michael Dimock ended up with the loss after pitching the final three innings and surrendering one earned run on one hit and two walks. Starter Brian Holmes went five innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on five hits and seven walks, striking out six.
State’s offense sprang into action in the first with Turner’s lead-off walk and Austin’s double off the wall in left. Ciencin hit a sac fly to left to score Turner, then Mathews slipped a two-out single through the right side to score Austin, granting the Pack an early 2-0 lead.
Jernigan’s control caused trouble early as the freshman walked six of his first 10 batters faced. In the second, Wake cut the Wolfpack lead to 2-1 when four of those walks pushed a run across for the Deacs.
State added one in the third to extend the lead to 3-1. Ciencin came aboard with a one-out gapper for a stand up double. Chris Diaz walked and Mathews legged out an infield single to load the bases with two gone. Ratledge walked on four pitches to plate Ciencin.
Another run came home for the Pack in the fourth to make it 4-1. Jake Fincher led off with a walk, then advanced to third when Turner bunted for a single and the toss to first missed the mark. Austin’s sac fly scored Fincher. Turner stole second, Ciencin walked, and the duo stole second and third, but were stranded there after an inning-ending strikeout.
Wake led off the fifth with a walk, loading the bases after a single and an error. The next batter hit into a groundball double play, scoring a run to narrow the gap to 4-2.
The Deacs tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the seventh. Pat Blair led off the inning with a solo homer to left. Conor Keniry doubled down the left field line next to chase Willams from the game. After a foul-out on a bunt, Wake got a gift on a fly ball to center that fell out of Fincher’s glove to put runners on second and third. A groundout scored the tying run.
State retook the lead with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Danny Canela led off with a walk, and Diaz put two on with a single. Mathews bunted the pair over. Wake intentionally walked pinch-hitter John Gianis to load the bases with one out. Bergquist cashed in Canela on a sac fly to right center.
Wake nearly tied the game in the top of the eighth after a one-out walk, an infield single, and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. Blair stole second to put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. On a 3-2 pitch, the next batter took ball four, but appeared to check swing. Both Austin and the runner on third assumed a dropped third strike, and as Austin raised to throw to first, he spotted the runner away from the bag at third. Austin fired down, getting the lead man in a rundown. Diaz eventually applied the tag at third, ending the inning. Tzamtzis stayed in and retired three batters in order in the ninth to wrap up the game.
NC State returns to action Tuesday for the first of four-straight road games, a visit to East Carolina at 6 p.m. 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.