June 1, 2012
Box Score | Box Score
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State bombarded Sacred Heart to advance to the winners’ bracket of the Raleigh regional with a 16-5 win Friday at Doak Field at Dail Park.
The Wolfpack (40-17) fell behind the Pioneers (25-31) 2-0 in the top of the first, but rallied behind the 15th homer of the year by Ryan Mathews, a three-run blast, to take a 4-2 lead into the second. The blitz continued in the third and fourth as State padded the lead to 9-2. SHU scored once in the sixth before the Pack shut the door with seven runs in the bottom half, eventually prevailing 16-5.
Mathews went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored, his third four-RBI game of the year. Andrew Ciencin scored twice in a 3-for-4 game with a stolen base. Jake Fincher stole a pair of bases in the game, helping the Wolfpack to four swipes on the evening.
Trea Turner went 2-for-5 with two runs, scoring in the first inning for the 10th time in the Pack’s last 16 games. Brett Austin pushed three runs across with two sac flies and an RBI single.
Starter Vance Williams (4-3) scored the win on six innings of work, tying a career-high with eight strikeouts while allowing three earned on five hits. Dillon Frye (1) claimed his first career save on three innings, surrendering two earned on four hits.
Sacred Heart starter Troy Scribner ended up with the loss after eight runs, seven earned, in the first three innings.
NC State’s 16 runs matches the most ever scored by the Wolfpack in an NCAA postseason game, a record set in 1975 against The Citadel. Mathews’s homer gave the Pack 36 on the season, 24 of which have come at Doak Field at Dail Park.
The Pack’s 40th win marks the 14th time in school history and the seventh time under head coach Elliott Avent that State has pulled the feat. Avent’s total ties Ray Tanner’s seven 40-win seasons.
Friday’s game started 30 minutes late due to lightning, and endured a 10-minute weather delay in the top of the ninth.
Sacred Heart opened up a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out, two-RBI double from Hunter Phillips. A walk and a hit batsman put two on and nobody out. Williams rebounded from the early trouble with a strikeout and liner to right to put two away. Phillips came up with the clutch hit, though, dropping a double into the right field corner to score a pair.
NC State answered with four in the bottom half of the first, three of which came on the Mathews home run. Turner led off with a double down the left field line, and Chris Diaz followed with a single to right. Mathews unleashed on a 1-0 pitch, sending it towering over the left field fence to put the Pack on top 3-2. Danny Canela walked and Ciencin singled through the left side to keep the inning going. Tarran Senay’s sac bunt moved the runners into scoring position, and Austin’s sac fly to the wall in left brought in the fourth run.
The Pack manufactured a pair of runs in the third on small ball. Canela’s walk started the inning, and Ciencin reached with a bunt single behind him. Senay tried to bunt the pair over, but Scribner hustled off of the mound to gun down the lead runner. Ciencin and Senay executed a double steal to put two in scoring position, setting up Fincher’s bunt single to drive in a run. Austin hit his second sac fly of the game to make it 6-2 in favor of the Wolfpack. Fincher stole second and third, but ended up stranded there after a pop up to end the inning.
Three more came home for the Wolfpack in the fourth. Diaz walked as the lead off, then moved to second on a balk. Mathews popped foul, but a drop by the catcher gave him new life, which he used to hit an RBI single through the left side. Canela singled to right before Ciencin bunted he and Mathews into scoring position. Mathews scored later on a passed ball, and Canela took home on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 9-2.
State ripped the game wide open with seven runs in the sixth to stretch the lead to 16-3. Senay was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and nobody out to start the scoring barrage. With one out, Austin sent a fly to the wall in right that bounced off of the Sacred Heart right fielder to score one more. Matt Bergquist followed that by hitting a two-RBI single up the middle. Turner walked to reload the bases and Diaz plated one with a grounder to the right side. With two in scoring position, a wild pitch brought in Bergquist, and Turner motored all the way home from second when the flip to the plate sailed over the covering pitcher’s head.
NC State advances to take on Vanderbilt in the winners’ bracket at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Doak Field at Dail Park. Streaming video will be linked from GoPack.com. Radio coverage will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available at GoPack.com.