NC State Sends Texas Packing, 6-3
June 4, 2006
AUSTIN, Texas - Gib Hobson pitched his second complete game in 12 days and Jonathan Diaz made him a winner with a two-run tie-breaking double in the top of the eighth inning Sunday as NC State defeated Texas 6-3 in an elimination game in the NCAA Austin Regional.
The win sends the Wolfpack (40-22) into the regional's championship bracket with a 4:05 p.m. game against Stanford. The Wolfpack must beat the Cardinal, the lone remaining unbeaten team, twice in order to advance to next weekend's Super Regionals. The win was the first ever for NC State over a regional host team in 15 tries. The Wolfpack also won consecutive elimination games in NCAA Tournament play for just the fourth time ever. The Longhorns (41-21) were eliminated from the tournament, ending their streak of four consecutive College World Series appearances.
As he did May 24 against North Carolina in the first round of the ACC Tournament, Hobson (10-2) stumbled out of the gate, then settled in and completely dominated the fourth-ranked Longhorns. Hobson retired 26 of the last 29 men he faced. He allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits. He walked one and struck out three. Texas starter Adrian Alaniz (7-4) took the loss after being charged with five runs on eight hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out three.
The Longhorns put early pressure on the NC State defense and manufactured a pair of runs in the first innng. Jordan Danks led off and singled through the right side of the infield. Ramon Corona threw away Nick Peoples' sacrifice attempt, which went for an infield single. Corona's error allowed the runners to advance to second and third base with none out. Drew Stubbs grounded out to drive in one run, and Chance Wheeless hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Jon Still cut the lead to 2-1 with a bomb over the 20-foot-high wall in straightaway center field, just the 34th ball ever to clear that wall. Still became only the 30th player to hit a ball over the wall in the history of Disch-Falk Field.
Both pitchers settled in after that, putting zeroes on the scoreboard until the Wolfpack rallied against Alaniz and took the lead in the top of the sixth. Aaron Bates led off with an infield single and Brian Aragon walked. Still, who finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs, followed with his extra-base hit of the game, a towering double that one-hopped the wall in right-center to drive in Bates. Aragon went to third on the play, then scored the go-ahead run on Ryan Pond's sacrifice fly to center field.
Hobson, meanwhile, regrouped after a leadoff double to Hunter Harris in the bottom of the second and carved up the Longhorns, retiring 16 of 17 hitters until Carson Kainer's one-out double in the seventh. Harris followed that with a double to the wall in right-center, and just like that, the game was tied at 3-3. Hobson recovered from that brief outburst and retired the last eight Texas batters of the game.
The Wolfpack put the game away in the top of the eighth. Still led off with a single to left and Pond singled to right to put runners on first and second with none out. Joseph Krebs came in to pitch for the Longhorns. Marcus Jones pinch-ran for Pond, and Drew Martin pinch-hit for Matt Mangini and bunted the runners to second and third. Texas closer Randy Boone came in for the Longhorns, and Jonathan Diaz ran the count full before lofting a blooper into shallow left-center field to drive in both runners. Diaz hustled out of the box and was safe at second with a double. Camp followed with a double that bounced over the wall in left-center to make it 6-3.
The Wolfpack will play Stanford at 4:05 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday. WKNC-FM (88.1) will broadcast all of NC State's tournament games live, and all broadcasts will be available online at gopack.com through Yahoo's subscription service.