NC State Goes Extra Innings To Defeat 7th-Ranked North Carolina, 8-7
May. 1, 2005
RALEIGH, N.C. - Bryan Kinneberg's single to left field drove in pinch-runner Jason St. Julien with the game-winning run Sunday as NC State concluded a thrill-packed three-game Atlantic Coast Conference baseball series vs. North Carolina with an 8-7 win in 10 innings at Doak Field.
The win clinched the series for the Wolfpack, two games to one, and lifted the Pack to 32-13 overall and 13-11 in the ACC. The seventh-ranked Tar Heels dropped to 36-10-1 overall and 15-6-1 in the conference.
The series was a showcase for college baseball in the Triangle. All three games were played in front of sellout crowds and were decided in the winning team's final time at bat. The last two games went to extra innings. The three games featured six ties and three lead changes. North Carolina came from behind all three games to tie the score in the late innings -- once in the eighth and twice in the ninth -- and the Wolfpack answered both of UNC's ninth-inning rallies with walk-off game-winning hits.
The winning rally in the 10th began with a full-count leadoff double by Aaron Bates, who belted a grand-slam homer earlier in the game to give NC State its first lead of the day. Lee Mezistrano singled to left to put runners on the corners with none out. St. Julien came in to pinch-run for Bates, and he scored when Tar Heels left fielder Mike Daniel misjudged Kinneberg's drive to left, coming in on the ball and allowing it to sail over his head for the game-winning hit.
Kinneberg's heroics made a winner of senior righthander Phillip Davidson (5-3), who pitched for the second day in a row after working 3 2/3 innings and allowing just one run on three hits. He struck out three without issuing a walk. Davidson threw 33 pitches in Saturday's 12-inning loss to the Tar Heels, and came back to throw 45 pitches in the finale. North Carolina reliever Jonathan Hovis (5-3) was charged with the loss after allowing one run on four hits in two innings. He walked one and struck out three. He took both of UNC's losses in the series.
For the third time in as many games, North Carolina took the lead first. Jay Cox led off the top of the second and reached on an infield single. Chase Younts drew a one-out walk. Justin Webb drove a two-run triple into the right-field corner, and Reid Fronk singled to left to drive in Webb and make it 3-0. Wolfpack starter Gib Hobson avoided further damage by retiring Greg Mangum on a groundout and Josh Horton on a foul fly ball.
The Wolfpack erupted for six runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead. Jake Muyco led off and walked. Jonathan Diaz singled to right, but was forced at second on a grounder by Camp. Corona walked to load the bases, and Bates hit the first pitch he saw from UNC starter Adam Kalkhof over the wall in left for a grand-slam home run, giving the Pack a 4-0 lead. Mike Jensen singled to center, and Tar Heels coach Mike Fox pulled Kalkhof in favor of freshman Andy Gale, who pitched like a freshman for 13 damaging pitches. He walked Ryan Pond and Matt Devine on five pitches apiece to load the bases again, then hit Bryan Aragon with a pitch to force in another run and make it 5-3. Bryan Phillips was summoned from the bullpen, and before he could stop the bleeding he walked Muyco to force in the sixth run of the inning, giving Hobson and NC State a 6-3 lead.
North Carolina scratched for an unearned run in the top of the fourth when Justin Webb reached on a one-out error, took second on Mangum's two-out single to left and scored on Horton's single to center.
Things got a little testy in the top of the sixth. Mangum drew a one-out walk from Hobson, and Horton singled up the middle to put runners on the corners with one down. Lefthander Chris Engle came in to pitch for the Wolfpack and struck out Matt Ellington for the second out. Horton broke for second on the pitch, and Mangum broke for the plate on Muyco's throw to second base. Diaz's relay back to Muyco was in plenty of time to cut down Mangum, who collided with and knocked Muyco over. Mangum was ejected from the game for a flagrant collision with the catcher. Both benches emptied, but order was quickly restored as both coaching staffs did yeoman's work in making sure cooler heads prevailed.
Chad Flack led off the top of the seventh for the Tar Heels with a bad-hop infield single, and Mike Daniel and Younts drew one-out walks. With Webb due up, Engle was lifted for Sam Walls, but Webb lined a two-run single to center field, tying the score at 6-6.
The Wolfpack broke the tie with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Camp and Corona led off the ining against releiver Matt Danford with infield singles, prompting the Tar Heels to bring Hovis in for Danford. Hovis struggled initially, hitting Bates with a pitch to load the bases and walking pinch-hitter Lee Mezistrano to force in the go-ahead run. The walk was the 10th by UNC pitchers on the afternoon.
The lead didn't last past the first pitch in the top of the ninth, which Chad Flack belted off the scoreboard in left field for a home run that tied the game at 7-7. The Tar Heels nearly broke the tie in the top of the 10th. With two outs, Bryan Steed singled to left, and Horton, who went 8-for-14 in the series, doubled off the wall in center field. Camp fielded the carom off the wall with his bare hand and made a perfect peg to Diaz at shortstop. Diaz's relay to the plate short-hopped Muyco, who made the catch, but missed Steed when he slid by. Steed, however, missed the plate and Muyco tagged him out for the final out of the inning just before Steed could touch home plate.
NC State will be off for exams until Tuesday May 10, when the Pack will travel to Greenville to take on East Carolina for a 7 p.m. game.