Baseball Falls In Regional Opener, 8-7
June 3, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Pinch-runner Sean Emory scored from second base with the game-winning run on Nick Rickles' single in the bottom of the ninth inning, allowing Stetson to overcome an early NC State lead and defeat the Wolfpack 8-7 in the first game of the NCAA Columbia Regional.
Stetson, which improved to 42-18 with the win, will advance to the 7 p.m. game Saturday against the winner of Friday evening's game between top-seeded South Carolina and Georgia Southern. The Wolfpack, which dropped to 34-26, will play at 1 p.m. Saturday against the loser of the South Carolina-Georgia Southern game.
The Wolfpack jumped to a big early lead off Stetson starter Lindsey Caughel, thanks to the hitting of Danny Canela and Harold Riggins. Canela drove in Brett Williams with a single up the middle in the top of the first to make it 1-0, then drove in Williams again in the top of the third with a single to right-center. Riggins followed with a two-run homer to center field to make it 4-0. Cameron Conner reached on a check-swing single to right field, went to third on a double to left by John Gianis, and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
"It's very unfortunate to go up 5-0 like that and not be able to hold it," NC State coach Elliott Avent said. "I thought we played well today and played with a lot of confidence, just like we have the last several weeks. We hung a changeup there in the fourth inning and Mark Jones hit a three-run homer. That seemed to change the mindset of their players. I thought they might have been a little flat before that, but that gave them some energy."
The homer by Jones came off NC State starter Ethan Ogburn, who cruised through the first three innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Robert Crews and Nick Rickles hit singles up the middle to set the table for Jones, who drove Ogburn's 0-1 changeup into the seats in left field.
That trimmed the lead to 5-3, Mitchell Brennan's two-out blast in the fifth tied the score at 5-5 and sent Ogburn to the showers.
"Ethan just cruised through the first three innings, but he hung that one pitch and didn't seem the same after that," Avent said. "That changed the game around."
Josh Easley relieved and promptly allowed singles to Jeff Simpson and Robert Crews, who pulled off a double steal with one away. Nick Rickels broke the tie with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Jones made it 7-5 with a single through the left side of the infield. The Wolfpack stopped the rally short by erasing Jones in a rundown between first and second base.
Stetson reliever Tucker Donahue relieved starter Lindsey Caughel with one down in the fourth inning and rolled through the sixth inning without allowing a run. He walked Ciencin leading off the top of the seventh, however, then served up a long two-run homer to Canela, his third hit of the game and his third and fourth RBIs. That tied the score at 7-7 but brought Jake Boyd out of the Stetson bullpen. Boyd (9-1) went the rest of the way, working three shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out six.
With the score still knotted at 7-7 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Wolfpack closer Chris Overman (6-3) came in to pitch. He struck out Crews leading off, but Ben Carhart hit an opposite-field single to right, and Emory came in to pinch run. Emory went to second on a wild pitch. Rickles singled to left and Emory scored when Conner did not come up with the ball cleanly in left field for an error.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and will be available for free on-line on GoPack.com's All-Access package. Live stats will be available on Gametracker. Just click the Gametracker icon on the baseball schedule page on GoPack.com.
As always, please visit GoPack.com regularly for full coverage of all NC State athletics news and events.