May 11, 2012
Box Score | Box Score
BLACKSBURG, VA. - Ryan Mathews went to sleep Friday night with his 14-game hitting streak hanging in the balance, and needed only one pitch on Saturday to keep it alive, sending a two-run, two-out homer over the left field fence to lift No. 13 NC State over Virginia Tech 4-2 at English Field.
On Friday, the Wolfpack took a 2-0 lead with one-run innings in the first and second, before Tech rallied back with one run in the third, and another in the fifth. The two teams battled for four and a half scoreless innings before a bank of lights on the third base line shut down. After a 30-minute delay, the lights returned to working order, but both coaches reached an agreement to suspend the game due to concerns over the players' health.
The game resumed on Saturday at 2 p.m. with the bottom of the 10th. D.J. Thomas (2-1) pushed the Wolfpack (35-12, 17-8 ACC) through to the 11th, taking the win on 1 1/3 innings of hitless ball. Mathews deposited his ninth home run of the year with two outs and Danny Canela on first to make it 4-2 in the 11th. Chris Overman (6) claimed the save by holding the Hokies (32-17, 10-15 ACC) to one hit in the final frame.
Carlos Rodon pitched the first 7 1/3 innings, striking out 11 while holding the Hokies to two runs, one earned, on five hits and four walks. The freshman came up one strikeout short of tying his career-high, and will end up with the no decision.
State's current winning streak improves to 11-straight with the win, the first Wolfpack streak of 11 or more since 2004. Trea Turner stole three bases to climb to 48-for-50 on the season. Canela led the Pack with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate. Brett Austin also smashed three hits, going 3-for-6 with a double.
Turner and Chris Diaz produced a run for the Pack in the top of the first, taking a 1-0 lead on Diaz's RBI single. Turner hit a groundball single up the middle to lead off the game, then stole second to set up Diaz's RBI single through the right side. Turner's run represents the sixth time in the last seven games the freshman has scored in the first inning, and his 14-consecutive game with at least one run scored.
State added a run to make it 2-0 in the second. Andrew Ciencin led off the inning with a triple when two Hokies collided violently on his fly to shallow right center. Jake Fincher drove him in with an infield single up the middle. Logan Ratledge reached on a fielder's choice, and Turner was hit by a pitch to put two on. Diaz tried to bunt the pair over, but was called out when the umpire ruled the ball hit him on his way out of the box. With two away, Ratledge and Turner executed a double steal, but the effort proved fruitless as Andrew Aizenstadt struck out his fourth of the game to end the inning.
The Hokies trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the third, but left the bases loaded. Rodon struck out the first batter of the inning, walked the next, then struck out a second. Mark Zagunis doubled to the wall in left, his second of the game, scoring Alex Perez from first. Rodon hit the next batter, then walked Carson Helms to load the bases. With the count full and two away, Rodon blew a high fastball by Tyler Horan for the third out to escape the jam.
Rodon's control issues continued to plague him in the fourth, but the freshman survived again. After hitting the lead-off batter, and getting the first out on a sac bunt, Rodon struck out his seventh of the game for the second out. A walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases for the second time in as many innings, but Rodon responded again with a strikeout to strand three.
Virginia Tech tied the game 2-2 with a two-out rally in the fifth. Rodon mowed down the first two batters of the inning easily, but Horan reached by peeling a single around Ciencin's dive at first. Brendon Hayden dropped a single into center, but Fincher's attempt to gun down the lead runner at third sailed into the Hokie dugout, scoring Horan and bringing Hayden to third. Rodon induced a grounder to short from the next batter to leave Hayden stranded.
After five scoreless innings spanning an overnight delay, State took command on Mathews's two-out, two-run bomb in the top 11th. Hokie reliever Clark Labitan (6-2) sent down the first two batters he faced on Saturday before giving up a single to Canela. Mathews stepped on the first pitch he saw, crushing it over the left field wall to make it 4-2. The Pack loaded the bases with the next three batters, but left all three stranded on a strikeout.
Game two started shortly after the conclusion of Saturday's first game. Live radio coverage of the rest of 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.