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    Long Ball Lifts Pack Over No. 1 Florida State
     
    Ryan Mathews
    Ryan Mathews
     

    May 17, 2012

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    TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - No. 13 NC State fought back from a three-run deficit to upend top-ranked Florida State 10-5 behind a pair of home runs from Ryan Mathews Thursday night at Dick Howser Stadium.

    The Wolfpack (38-13, 19-9 ACC) trailed 4-1 through four innings after Florida State (41-12, 22-6 ACC) put three runs on the board in the second, and added one in the third. The Pack clawed its way to the lead with a four-run fifth on Mathews’s three-run bomb to center. In the seventh, State ripped the game open with another four-run inning to grab a 9-4 advantage. Both teams scored once more to make the final score 10-5.

    Mathews hit his 12th and 13th home runs of the year to extend the ACC’s longest active hitting streak to 19 games. The senior from Orlando, Fla., has five homers in his last five games after his 2-for-4, four RBI, three-run performance.

    Tarran Senay smashed his sixth long ball of the season for the Wolfpack’s first run of the game. Brett Austin and Trea Turner each drove in a pair with two clutch, two-out hits as State built its lead in the seventh. Turner added a stolen base to improve to 52-for-55 on the year. Danny Canela went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run in the seventh as well. Jake Fincher provided the Wolfpack’s other multi-hit effort with a 2-for-5, one run showing.

    Carlos Rodon (9-0) tied NC State’s single-season freshman record for wins by gutting out 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on three hits and nine walks. Rodon struck out six batters to climb into a tie for seventh among NC State’s single-season leaders with 114 on the year. Ryan Wilkins pitched the final 2 2/3, striking out one while surrendering one earned on two hits.

    The Seminoles burned through five pitchers on the ball game, with reliever Hunter Scantling (5-1) taking the loss on 2 1/3 innings after allowing four runs, three earned on three hits. Starter Scott Sitz worked the first 3 2/3, giving up one earned on three hits with four strikeouts.

    The win over No. 1 Florida State marks the second-straight year that NC State has defeated the top-ranked team in the nation after unseating Virginia in 2011. The Wolfpack’s 19 ACC wins represents the most in school history, bettering the mark of 18 set by the 2008 club.

    NC State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Senay nailed a 1-2 pitch over the towering wall in right, his fifth home run of the year.

    The Seminoles answered with three in the bottom half thanks to three walks to load the bases. With two away and the bases full, Jose Brizuela hit a double to right that landed just fair to drive in a pair. A bunt single by Sherman Johnson scored the next run. With runners on the corners, Chris Diaz spared the Pack any more damage with a leaping grab on a liner. The shortstop knocked the hard-hit ball down with his glove before plucking it out of the air with his barehand to complete the tremendous catch.

    Florida State added another in the third on an error. Jayce Boyd grounded to third, but reached when Turner’s throw across the diamond bounced wide of first. A pair of walks loaded the bases, and a passed ball scored Boyd from third before Rodon rebounded with two strikeouts to end the inning.

    In the fourth, the Noles nearly padded the lead on James Ramsey’s rocket off the wall in right, but Logan Ratledge whipped a throw home on a relay in time to prevent a run. Canela took the brunt of a violent collision with Brizuela, but managed to hang on to the ball for the out.

    The Pack climbed ahead 5-4 in the fifth on a three-run homer from Mathews. Turner started the inning by laying down a bunt single to third. Diaz grounded to short, but both runners moved into scoring position when the fielder’s throw to second missed the mark. Canela dropped an RBI single into center to cut the game to 4-2 and put runners on the corners with nobody out. That’s when Mathews cranked an 0-1 pitch to dead center for his 12th bomb of the year, granting the Wolfpack its first lead of the game.

    State tore the game open with four runs in the seventh, stretching the lead to 9-4. Mathews started the rally with a one-out walk. After a fly ball for the second out, the Pack bats came alive. Fincher singled to left, then Andrew Ciencin took a pitch in the foot to load the bases. Austin dropped a flare down the right field line to drive in a pair, and Turner singled up the middle to score the next two.

    FSU recouped one run in the seventh. Boyd doubled to right, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a grounder to third. Mathews returned the favor in the eighth by sending his second homer of the game sailing over the right field wall, pushing the margin to 10-5.

    NC State looks to clinch the series Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN3. The game is available to Time Warner Cable subscribers in the Triangle on channel 518. Radio coverage for the game will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available on GoPack.com.


     

     

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