April 24, 2011
Box Score (PDF)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Dylan Brown’s two-out opposite-field blooper in the ninth inning would have tied the game, but was foul by about the width of the ball. That was the margin of defeat for NC State as the Wolfpack battled top-ranked Virginia to the final out Sunday but fell 7-6 at Davenport Field.
The game was the rubber game of the three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series, which the No. 1 Cavaliers won, two games to one. NC State, which has won 14 of its last 22 games following a 10-10 start, now is 24-18 overall and 9-12 in the ACC. Virginia improved to 40-4 overall and 18-3 in the conference.
The Cavaliers jumped to a big early lead, scoring four in the second and one more in the third. Mitchell Shifflett doubled in the first run of the game, and John Barr, John Hicks and Steven Proscia each drove in a run before the second inning was over. Three of those runs were charged to Wolfpack starter Grant Sasser (1-2), who had command issues and was lifted after 1 1/3 innings. He allowed one hit and walked three without a strikeout. Keith Werman’s squeeze bunt in the third gave the Cavaliers and starter Will Roberts a 5-0 lead.
NC State got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth with a three-run rally, all after two were out. Danny Canela doubled off the top of the wall in right-center to drive in Harold Riggins, who had reached on the first of his four hits on the afternoon. Matt Bergquist singled to left to drive in Canela, and Chris Diaz walked to put runners on first and second. John Gianis doubled over the head of right fielder Colin Harrington. Bergqiust scored on the play, but Harrington recovered and got the ball back to the infield in time for second baseman Keith Werman to cut down Diaz at the plate for the final out of the inning.
Andrew Ciencin’s fifth home run of the season, a solo shot deep into the left-field bleachers, cut the lead to a run at 5-4 and ended the day for Roberts. Lefthander Kyle Crockett (3-0) worked the next 2 1/3 innings and allowed three hits and no runs to get credit for the win. He struck out two and did not issue a walk.
Virginia scored single runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth to push the lead back to three runs at 7-4. Chris Taylor singled to drive in a run in the fifth, and Kenny Swab singled in a run in the sixth.
Riggins led off the eighth against reliever Justin Thompson and singled up the middle. Thompson walked Canela, and Brown ran for Canela. Bergquist flied out to deep center field. Riggins took third on the play, and Virginia coach Brian O’Connor lifted Thompson in favor of closer Branden Kline. Kline struck out Diaz for the second out, but Gianis doubled down the left-field line to drive in both baserunners and cut the lead to 7-6.
With one down in the top of the ninth, Kline walked Ciencin, then gave up a two-out single to Riggins to put runners on first and second. Brown, up next, sliced Kline’s 1-1 pitch just past third base and down the left-field line, but foul by inches. Brown grounded out on the next pitch to end the game. The save was Kline’s 13th.
NC State will now take four days off for spring semester dead week, then will return to action next weekend with a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series at home vs. Maryland. All three games will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and will be available on-line with videostreaming 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.