March 28, 2012
Box Score | Game Highlights | Box Score
RALEIGH, N.C. - Tarran Senay only needed one pitch to rip a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, as No. 9 NC State edged in-state rivals East Carolina 4-3 at Doak Field at Dail Park Wednesday.
"I was trying to get something to drive, just looking for anything inside," said Senay. "It feels great to have that opportunity, and for us to get a big win coming back from the North Carolina series. We stuck it out against a great team tonight, and I hope we can carry this into the weekend against Virginia."
Senay exploded in a 3-for-5 performance with a run and two RBIs, one a double off the wall in right for the Wolfpack's first run and the other a game-winning single into right. The junior represented the only NC State (17-6, 6-3 ACC) batter to record multiple hits on the evening.
Vance Williams provided a dominating relief effort to keep State's hopes alive during a dry spell. Williams entered with one out in East Carolina's three-run fourth, and started by setting down the first 11 batters he faced, leaving after the eighth and retiring 14 of 15. Williams flummoxed East Carolina (16-8, 1-2 C-USA) for five shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out two.
"Walk-off wins are always fun," said NC State head coach Elliott Avent. "But in this case, I think it really helps our guys realize how well they've been playing. Sometimes I think they forget what a great start we've had, and it's great to see them enjoying the results of all their hard work."
Brett Austin scored twice in a 1-for-4 outing with one walk. Chris Diaz drove in a run on a double, part of a 1-for-4 effort. Matt Bergquist hit a double, going 1-for-4. Andrew Ciencin went 1-for-4 and scored once.
Ryan Wilkins (2-1) notched the win in a high-pressure situation, throwing the final 1 1/3 innings, striking out two. Chris Overman went 1 2/3, walking four and striking out one. Starter Danny Healey pitched the first three innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits.
Andy Smithmyer (2-1) ended up with the loss after 3 2/3, leaving in the 11th with the winning run on base. Drew Reynolds gave up the game-winning hit in 1/3 of an inning. Starter Jeff Hoffman went a career-long 6 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs, all earned, on six hits while striking out two.
"Senay came close to hitting a homer early, but ended up with a double off the wall," said Avent. "Then he came through again when we needed him late. It's a big lift, I'm sure, for him. He and Matt Bergquist have tweaked some things, working hard in the batting cages with [Chris] Hart and [Brian] Ward, and I thought they both swung well tonight."
Senay's one-out double off the top of the wall in right center put the Pack in front early. Ciencin reached on a one-out infield single to short, coming home on Senay's double. Bryan Adametz pushed a bunt to the right side to score Senay, giving State a 2-0 lead in the bottom second.
The Wolfpack added to the lead with a two-out rally in the third. Austin singled into right with two away. Diaz followed him by pulling a double that landed on the left field foul line, scoring Austin from first to make it 3-0.
East Carolina tied it up with a three-run fourth to chase Healey from the game. Tim Younger led off with a single to center. Corey Thompson followed with a single that split the Wolfpack infielders on the left side. John Wooten doubled off the wall in left to score the first run and put two in scoring position for the Pirates. Drew Reynolds singled through the right side to score Thompson, putting runners at the corners, and ushering Healey from the game. Chase McDonald sent a sac fly to right to score the third run.
Williams retired the next two batters to end the inning, kicking off a brilliant five-inning run that saw him mow down 14 of 15 batters faced. Williams's pitching couldn't have come at a better time for the Pack, as State's bats went cold over that same stretch. The Wolfpack produced only three base runners between the fourth and the eighth. ECU's best chance against Williams came in the eighth, when the Pirates' Jay Cannon singled, and advanced to third over the next two outs, before a foul pop ended the threat.
Overman cruised through the ninth, but ran into trouble in the 10th, walking three batters to fill the bases with two outs. Wilkins came in to relieve Overman, and escaped the inning when ECU's runner on third mistook ball two for a dropped third strike, allowing Austin to tag him for the third out. Wilkins navigated the 11th with ease, striking out the first and third batters he faced to set up Senay's heroics.
In the bottom of the 11th, Senay came through with the game-winner. Austin led off with a walk, moving to second on Diaz's sac bunt. The Pirates intentionally walked Danny Canela to put two on. Ciencin flied out to deep right, moving both runners into scoring position. Senay followed by smoking the first pitch he saw into right center to plate the winning run.
NC State returns to action this weekend, hosting Virginia for a three-game set Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with each game streaming live on ESPN3.com. Radio coverage will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available at GoPack.com.