NC State Baseball Falls To Wake Forest In Tourney Opener, 12-4
May 22, 2002
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Ryan Johnson had four hits, including a double and a home run, and drove in five runs to lead defending champion Wake Forest past NC State 12-4 in the opening round of the 2002 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Tournament at Florida Power Park.
Wake Forest improved to 43-9 on the season, while NC State, which had its six-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 32-25. Deacons starter Kyle Sleeth (13-0) got the win, although he wobbled through five shaky innings. Sleeth alowed three runs on six hits, but issued six walks and hit four batters. The Wolfpack had 26 baserunners, but hit into three double plays and stranded 17 runners, 10 of them in scoring position. Freshman righthander Phillip Davidson (5-5) took the loss for the Wolfpack after allowing eight runs, seven of them earned, on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked five and struck out two.
The Deacons scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first. Adam Bourassa led off and was safe on an error, and Nick Blue walked. Blue was out attempting to advance on a wild pitch, with Bourassa taking third on the play. Ryan Johnson followed with a single up the middle to drive in Bourassa with the game's first run.
The Wolfpack took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third. Joe Gaetti led off with a sharp single to left, and Brian Wright, who had four hits and increased his average for the season to .423, doubled down the left-field line. Gaetti took third on the play, but he was cut down trying to score on Justin Riley's grounder to third base. Colt Morton walked to load the bases, and David Hicks was hit by a pitch to drive in the tying run. One out later, Jeremy Dutton walked to drive in a run and give NC State a 2-1 lead.
Wake Forest answered right back in the bottom of the inning. Ryan Hubbard led off with a single to left-center, and Bourassa walked. Blue followed with a perfectly placed bunt single just to the left of the mound, loading the bases with none out. Johnson doubled into the right-field corner to drive in a pair, and Stephen Ghutzman hit a sacrifice fly to deep right, driving in Blue and giving the Deacons a 4-2 lead.
The Deacons knocked Davidson out of the game with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth. Ben Ingold struck out leading off, but Hubbard doubled down the right-field line and Bourassa bunted for a single. Davidson appeared to get a big out when he picked Bourassa off first base, but Hubbard broke for the plate on the play and beat the throw home for a stolen base as Bourassa retreated safely back to first. Blue walked and Johnson erased Blue on a force play for the second out of the inning, but Jamie D'Antona belted a three-run homer to give the Deacons an 8-2 lead.
Hicks led off the top of the fifth with a solo homer, his sixth of the season, but the Deacons added a pair in the bottom of the inning. Brad Scioletti led off with a double and went to third on a wild pitch. Bourassa reached on a two-out infield single that chased home Scioletti, and Blue reached on a two-base throwing error to put runners on second and third with two away. Johnson beat out a slow roller to third to drive in Bourassa and give Wake Forest a 10-3 lead.
Johnson hit a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, giving him five RBIs on the afternoon, and D'Antona followed with a triple to left and scored on Ghutzman's single to center field, upping the Wake Forest lead to 12-3. The Wolfpack added one final run in the top of the ninth. Dutton led off with a single to right-center, and pinch-hitter Mike Prochaska singled to center. Matt Butler bounced into a double play, with Dutton taking third on the play, and Dutton scored on Gaetti's RBI roller through the right side of the infield.