April 27, 2012
Box Score | Box Score
RALEIGH, N.C. – Anthony Tzamtzis struck out a career-high nine batters and Jake Fincher hit a pair of triples to propel No. 19 NC State to a 4-0, series-opening win over Duke Friday at Doak Field at Dail Park.
Tzamtzis (5-3) went a career-long 7 2/3 innings in only his fifth start of the year, holding Duke (16-27, 7-15 ACC) to two hits and striking out nine Blue Devils to top his previous best of eight, set in his first appearance this season against Wright State. The redshirt sophomore walked five batters in the shutout effort, and did not let a runner past second base on the evening. Ethan Ogburn pitched the final 1 1/3, striking out two without allowing a hit.
“We’ve wanted [Tzamtzis] to be a starter all along,” said NC State head coach Elliott Avent. “We didn’t designate starters and relievers early in the season, and he’s been very valuable out of the bullpen. Ogburn’s been great for us all year, but we decided to put Tzamtzis back in the rotation tonight, because he’s been equally good lately.”
Fincher ignited the Wolfpack (28-12, 14-8 ACC) offense by turning in a 2-for-3 performance with one RBI and two runs on two triples. The freshman’s average has vaulted from .260 to .300 over the last five games, a stretch that has seen him go 9-for-16 (.563) with six runs and five RBIs.
Chris Diaz drove in one on a 2-for-3 night with a walk. Trea Turner scored a run and had an RBI in a 1-for-3 ballgame. Danny Canela plated the Pack’s first run on an infield single for his only hit. Brett Austin hit a double and scored once in a 1-for-4 outing.
NC State saddled one of the best pitchers in the country with the loss. Marcus Stroman (4-4) went the distance, striking out 10 over eight innings, but allowed four earned on nine hits and one walk.
“I’m really proud of [Tzamtzis], he pitched the whole way like it was a 0-0 ballgame,” said Avent. “Our guys came ready and focused tonight, and we responded with a win against one of the best in the nation.”
State took a 1-0 lead its first time up, sparked by a two-base error to move Turner around the horn. Turner led off the inning with a single to left, then advanced all the way to third on an errant pick-off throw. Diaz walked to put runners at the corners. With nobody out, Canela sent a chopper toward short for an infield, RBI single. Stroman worked out of the jam with an infield fly, a fly out to center that moved Diaz to third, and a one-hopper to second to end the inning.
The Pack added a pair of runs in the second, started by Austin’s lead-off double to the wall in right. Fincher followed one out later with an RBI triple off the top of the wall in left center to drive in Austin. Turner hit a sac fly to right to push Fincher home, helping the Wolfpack to a 3-0 advantage.
State tacked on another in the seventh to stretch the lead to 4-0, thanks to Fincher’s second triple of the game. Fincher led off with a triple into the right field corner. Diaz plated him with a one-out RBI single through the right side, before a double play ended the inning.
NC State returns to action Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in game two of its series with Duke. 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.