NC State Baseball Shuts Out No. 1 Texas Twice
May 15, 2004
AUSTIN, Texas - Michael Rogers and Vern Sterry each pitched a three-hit shutout Saturday as NC State completed a doubleheader sweep of No. 1-ranked Texas, 2-0 and 1-0, Saturday at Disch-Falk Field. The sweep lifted the Wolfpack to 31-19 on the season, while the Longhorns dropped to 46-10.
Rogers (8-3) pitched the opener and outduelled Texas ace J.P. Howell, a candidate for both the Roger Clemens Award for the nation's top college pitcher, the Dick Howser Award for the nation's best college player, and the Golden Spikes Award for the nation's top amateur player. Howell also went the distance, but allowed a pair of runs on seven hits. He walked none and struck out a career-high 14. Rogers allowed just the three hits, walked one and struck out 10.
Howell started out fast, and for a time it looked for a while as if NC State might not even put the ball in play against Howell. He struck out the first five men he faced -- four of them in the first inning thanks to a wild pitch -- and six of the first seven while on his way to a career-high 14 punchouts. He also struck out the side in the sixth. His only really troublesome inning was the fifth, when the Wolfpack scored its two runs on three hits -- the Pack's first three-hit inning in a span of 31 innings. NC State ran itself out of scoring threats in the seventh and eighth innings. Pinch-runner Lee Mezistrano was picked off third base to end the seventh, and Camp was caught stealing to end the eighth.
None of that mattered to Rogers, who was more than good enough to make a 2-0 lead stand up. He gave up leadoff hits in three of the first four innings, stranded all three at third base, and then retired the final 18 men he faced. Rogers improved his record away from Doak Field to 7-0 with a 0.61 ERA (he is 1-3 and 4.78 at home). The three-hitter marked the eighth time in 14 starts this season that Rogers has had a three-hitter or better after six innings.
Rogers also got some spectacular defensive help. In the bottom of the first, Eric Taylor laid out to snag a hot shot along the third-base line and threw out Curtis Thigpen. The next batter, Taylor Teagarden, hit a sharp grounder up the middle, but shortstop Jonathan Diaz made an unbelievable dive-and-spin move behind the second-base bag to nail Thigpen at first base for the final out of the inning. Teagarden was robbed again leading off the bottom of the seventh when Jason St. Julien made a head-first dive in left field to catch Teagarden's sinking line drive.
The scoring all came in a burst in the top of the fifth inning. After managing just one baserunner through four innings, on a strikeout and a wild pitch, the Wolfpack got both of its runs and three of its seven hits in the fifth. Mike Jensen and Taylor led off the fifth with singles, and Ryan Johnson sacrificed the runners to second and third. Diaz struck out for the second out, but Tim Holt lined a single up the middle to drive in both runs and give the Pack a 2-0 lead. Howell got out of further trouble by picking Holt off first base for the final out of the inning. Rogers was in full command from there.
In the second game, Sterry (8-2) allowed three hits, walked two and fanned 11. Longhorns starter Sam LeCure (7-2) took the loss after allowing one run on two hits, all in the first inning. He was lifted after six complete innings. He walked one and struck out three.
NC State scored the only run of the game just two batters into the first inning. Camp led off and walked, stole second and scored on Bryan Kinneberg's line-single up the middle. That was it. The pitching dominated the rest of the way, and the two teams combined for no runs on just six hits the rest of the way.
Sterry was in never in serious trouble. He allowed a two-out walk in the first, a one-out double to David Maroul in the third, a one-out walk in the fourth, a leadoff single to Seth Johnson in the fifth, and a one-out single to Carson Kainer in the seventh. He stranded them all. Texas did not have a runner reach third base. Sterry retired the last eight men he faced, five of them on strikes, and 13 of the last 14.