March 23, 2011
Box Score (PDF)
RALEIGH, N.C. — Andrew Ciencin’s RBI double broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday and sparked NC State to an 8-7 victory over Northwestern in the second game of a two-game midweek non-ACC baseball series at Doak Field at Dail Park.
With the win, the Wolfpack completed a two-game sweep of the Wildcats and improved to 12-10 overall. Northwestern dropped to 5-12 with the loss.
NC State’s eighth inning was part of a wild finish in a game that featured three lead changes, two ties, and a near miss for Northwestern in the ninth inning before the dust finally settled. Peter Bako led off the eighth with a single up the middle and Wildcats reliever Ethan Bramschreiber (0-1) hit Chris Diaz with a pitch as Diaz was attempting to bunt Bako to second. Matt Bergquist then laid down a perfect bunt up the third-base line. Wildcats catcher Geoff Rowan threw to third base late attempting to nail Bako, and the bases were loaded with none out.
John Gianis, who had six hits in his last 12 at-bats, lined a bullet off of Bramschneider’s thigh. Bramschneider was knocked out of the game by the blow, but not before picking up the ball and starting a 1-2-5 double play, retiring the two lead runners at home and third base. Paul Sneider moved from first base to pitch for Northwestern and Andrew Ciencin ripped a double into the left-field corner, driving in Bergquist to give NC State a 6-5 lead.
Pratt Maynard followed with a sky-high pop-up on the infield that should have been the last out of the inning. Sneider called everyone else off the play, but let it fall for an error. Gianis and Ciencin both scored on the miscue, making it 8-5.
Chris Lashmet singled off Ethan Ogburn (1-2) to begin the top of the ninth inning, prompting Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent to lift Ogburn for lefthander Grant Sasser. Sneider singled through the right side of the infield, and the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Chris Kontos singled to right to drive in Lashmet and close the book on Ogburn, who allowed one run on three hits in four innings to record his first win of the season. He struck out four and walked only one.
“I thought Ethan was outstanding today,” Avent said. “This is what he’s done when we’ve put him out there in midweek games. He’s got a really good breaking ball, and he used it really effectively today.”
Jack Havey singled to right to drive in Snieder, representing the first earned run allowed by Sasser all season, but Sasser recovered and got Rowan to bounce into a game-ending 1-4-3 double play. The save was Sasser’s third of the season.
Northwestern took early control of the game, scoring a run on first-inning doubles by Kyle Ruchum and Snieder, then scored twice more in the third on a double by Kontos and a bases-loaded hit batter. NC State cut it to 3-1 in the bottom of the third when Bergquist scored on a wild pitch.
The Wolfpack jumped ahead 4-3 with a three-run fourth. Chris Diaz doubled in a pair of runs and Bergquist picked up an RBI on an infield single.
Northwestern retook the lead with two in the top of the fifth. Lashmet led off with his first homer of the season, tying the score at 4-4, and Jack Livingston broke the tie with an RBI groundout. Harold Riggins drove in Ciencin with a single to right field in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 5-5 and set the stage for the crazy eighth.
NC State will return to action this weekend with a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series vs. Clemson at Doak Field at Dail Park. Game times are 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three games will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and will be available on-line with video streaming on GoPack.com’s All-Access package. Live stats will be available on Gametracker. Just click the Gametracker icon on the baseball schedule page on GoPack.com.
As always, please visit GoPack.com regularly for full coverage of all NC State athletics news and events.