April 29, 2012
Box Score | Box Score
RALEIGH, N.C. - Danny Canela hit a pair of homers, but Logan Ratledge's RBI double in the eighth proved the difference for No. 19 NC State in an 8-7 win over Duke to sweep the series Sunday at Doak Field at Dail Park.
State (30-12, 16-8 ACC) fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first, but knotted the score in the bottom half before taking a 3-2 lead in the third. Duke battled back to tie the game in the fourth, took a 4-3 lead in the fifth, and opened the margin to 7-3 with a three-run sixth. The Pack rallied with a four-run sixth to tie the game once again, before scoring the game-winning run in the bottom eighth.
"There are so many ups and downs in a season, especially with all the responsibilities these guys have to take care of off the field," said NC State coach Elliott Avent. "No matter what, they continue to battle, and that's what makes me so proud of this team."
Canela hit his fourth and fifth homeruns of the season, solo shots to lift State to a 3-2 lead and later to trim the deficit to 7-4, for the second multi-homer game of his career. His previous two-homerun day came May 9, 2010 against Towson during his freshman campaign. Canela added a sac fly for a 2-for-3, three RBI, two run day.
Ratledge provided the game-winner with a one-out, RBI double to the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth, part of a 2-for-4, two RBI, two double afternoon.
The win extends the Wolfpack's current streak to six-consecutive, tying a season-best. NC State's 2012 squad becomes the fastest to reach 30 wins since 2006.
"I felt comfortable all weekend, but [the hits] just weren't falling," said Ratledge. "I stayed patient and got a couple of pitches I could hit today. We're getting hot at the right time. Even when we were down 7-3, no one in the dugout had a doubt about our ability to come back. It's a great feeling to have."
Ryan Mathews represented the only Pack batter to record three hits on the game, going 3-for-4 with a run. Brett Austin scored twice in a 2-for-4 performance with one RBI in a start in right field. Andrew Ciencin drove in one on a sac fly and singled in a 1-for-3 effort. Trea Turner went 0-for-3, but drew two walks and scored in the first inning for the fourth-consecutive game.
NC State reliever Vance Williams (2-2) gutted out the win, going the final 4 1/3 innings, allowing three earned on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Starter Logan Jernigan lasted only an inning, giving up two earned on two hits and two walks. Ethan Ogburn pitched 3 2/3 in between them, surrendering two earned on five hits and one walk.
Reliever Drew Van Orden (0-4) took the loss for Duke (16-29, 7-17 ACC) on one earned run over the last two innings. Van Orden gave up three hits and struck out two Wolfpack batters without walking anyone. Starter Robert Huber went 5 2/3 innings, holding State to three hits through the first five. In the sixth, the Pack finally caught up to him, saddling him with seven runs, five earned, on seven hits and three walks for the game.
Duke leapt out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Grant McCabe drew a lead-off walk, then advanced to second on Andrew Istler's single up the middle. Both runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball. A wild pitch scored McCabe and moved Istler to third. Mike Rosenfeld plated the next run on a flare to right for an RBI single. Jernigan induced a double play ball to Diaz for the first two outs, and another grounder to short to end the inning.
State answered immediately with a pair of runs in the bottom first to tie it, 2-2. Turner led off the inning with a walk, and moved all the way to third on an errant pick off attempt by the catcher. Diaz walked behind him to put runners on the corners, allowing Canela's sac fly to score the first and push Diaz to second. Mathews scorched a single to center to put runners on first and third again with one away. Ciencin lifted a sac fly to center to plate the tying run.
Canela broke the 2-2 tie with a two-out, solo shot in the third. After a pair of fly outs to start the inning, Canela bombed his fourth of the year over the wall in left center to make it 3-2. Duke's Will Piwnica-Worms responded with a solo homer of his own in the fourth, tying the game 3-3 by smashing an 0-1 pitch to left.
Duke took a 4-3 lead in the fifth, enough to chase Ogburn from the game. Istler fired a one-out double off the top of the wall in left to start the rally. The next batter grounded weakly to second, pushing Istler to third with two outs. Rosenfeld came up with a clutch RBI single up the middle to plate the go-ahead run. A walk put runners at first and second, and signaled the end of Ogburn's afternoon. The first batter Williams faced hit a troublesome fly to shallow center, but Jake Fincher made a spectacular diving grab, sprinting in, to save at least one run.
The Blue Devils added three to stretch the lead to 7-3 in the sixth. Jeff Kremer started the inning with a chopper over second base that split Chris Diaz and Ratledge for a single. A liner to center by Angelo La Bruna made it first and second with nobody out. A sac bunt put both men in scoring position before Williams struck out the next batter for the second out. Istler once again came up with a hit under pressure, spraying a 1-2 pitch into the right field corner for a two-RBI triple. Jordan Betts followed with a RBI double down the left field line to extend the lead to four.
State rallied with four in the sixth to tie the game 7-7. Canela led off the inning with his second homer of the game, this one a towering fly to right. Mathews followed with his second infield single of the game, and moved to second on a wild pitch. A groundout to short helped Mathews to third. Huber came up with a key strikeout for the second out, but Austin responded with a ground-rule double into the Wolfpack bullpen to score Mathews and trim the lead to 7-5. Fincher drew a two-out walk, putting runners on first and second, before Ratledge landed an RBI double in the left center gap. Duke reliever Dillon Haviland came in, and a passed ball on his first pitch scored the tying run from third.
The Pack took an 8-7 lead in the eighth on Ratledge's RBI double. Austin laced a lead-off single past the shortstop to start the inning, and stole second on a missed hit-and-run during the next at-bat. With one away, Austin advanced to third on a wild pitch. Ratledge fired his crucial double over the left fielder's head one pitch later for the game-winning run.
NC State takes the midweek off due to final exams, but returns to the diamond Friday, May 4 to host CSU Bakersfield at 6:30 p.m., the first of a three-game series. Radio coverage for the weekend will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available on GoPack.com.