NC State Holds Off Wake Forest In A Wild One, 11-9
April 15, 2005
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Jeff Stallings pitched six strong innings and NC State built an 11-1 lead before the bullpen double-clutched the momentum back to Wake Forest in a wild and woolly 11-9 victory in the first game of an Atlantic Coast Conference baseball series at Gene Hooks Stadium.
The Wolfpack improved to 26-10 overall and evened its ACC record at 8-8. Wake Forest, which actually brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning, fell to 15-20 overall and 8-11 in the conference.
Stallings (5-3) allowed just one run on four hits, walking one and striking out a career-high seven. Joey Devine worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to notch his seventh save. Wake Forest starter Josh Ellis took the loss after allowing six runs, two earned, on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out two.
Aaron Bates led the offense for the Wolfpack with two hits in four at-bats and three RBIs. Lee Mezistrano went 2-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs, and Aaron Cone hit a single, double and home run in four trips. J.B. Tucker went 2-for-4 and drove in a run for the Deacons.
Wake Forest scored a run with two out in the bottom of the first. Tucker worked Stallings for a walk and Ryder Mathias was hit by a pitch. Brendan Enick drove in Tucker with a single up the middle to make it 1-0.
The Wolfpack got that run back in the top of the third when Matt Camp singled to left with one down, went to second on a groundout, and scored on Bates' single to center field.
NC State struck for five runs in the top of the fourth. Cone led off with an opposite-field home run to left field to give the Pack a 2-1 lead. Ramon Corona walked and Bryan Kinneberg was safe when Ellis fumbled his sacrifice bunt for an error. Jonathan Diaz bunted the runners to second and third. Camp grounded to second baseman Ben Ingold, who threw out Corona at home plate for the first out. Matt Devine walked to load the bases. Bates singled to center to drive in two runs, and Lee Mezistrano doubled into the left-field corner to drive in two more, giving the Wolfpack a 6-1 lead.
Cone led off the fifth with a double to left-center and took third on Corona's sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Kinneberg drove in Cone with a double to right-center, then took third on a fly ball to right-center and scored on a wild pitch, extending the Wolfpack lead to a seemingly comfortable 8-1.
The Wolfpack appeared to put the game completely out of reach in the top of the seventh. Cone led off with a walk and Corona was safe on an error by Matt Antonelli at third base. Kinneberg flied to center field to move Cone to third, and Diaz walked to load the bases. Camp grounded to shortstop, but Andy Goff's throw to second was wide of the bag for an error, allowing Cone and Corona to score. Devine sent Diaz home with a sacrifice fly to make it 11-1.
The Wolfpack bullpen almost coughed away the lead in the seventh and eighth. Freshman righthander Matt Payne came in to start the bottom of the seventh and threw 15 consecutive pitches wide of the strike zone before he was pulled in favor of Sam Walls, whose first pitch was ball four to drive in a run and cut the lead to 11-2. Ben Ingold took two more out of the strike zone to run the string to 18 consecutive balls before grounding into a double play to chase home another run and make it 11-3, but also diffusing the rally.
The Deacons made it a game again in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Enick and Matt Miller walked, and one out later pinch-hitter Grant Achilles walked to load the bases. Brett Linnekohl hit a grounder to second base that Corona threw away at second for an error, allowing a second run to score, and Linnenkohl went to second and Achilles to third when Walls threw the ball away at home plate for a second error on the play.
Adam McLaurin came in to pitch for the Wolfpack at that point and threw a wild pitch that scored Achilles to make it 11-6, with Linnenkohl moving to third on the play. Antonelli walked to put runners on the corners, and Ingold, Tucker and Ryder Mathias followed with consecutive RBI-singles to make it 11-9.
The second game of the series will be Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and on the internet at gopack.com through Yahoo's subscription service. Live in-game stats will be available on gopack.com through the Gametracker.