RALEIGH, N.C. Matt Payne and Pat Ferguson combined to drive in five runs, and Team Pack scored five runs in the final two innings to come from behind and hang a 10-7 defeat on Team Wolf in the fifth game of NC State’s intrasquad Fall World Series.
Team Pack rapped out 16 hits, led by Jeremy Synan (3-for-4 with a pair of doubles) and Payne (3-for-5 with a homer). Dallas Poulk, Nick Stanley, Marcus Jones and Ryan Pond had two hits apiece.
Team Pack scored an unearned run to take an early lead in the bottom of the first. Poulk led off and walked and Jones rolled a one-out single through the right side of the infield to put runners on first and second. Poulk took third on a passed ball, and Poulk scored and Jones went to second when Team Wolf starter Jimmy Gillheeney was called for a balk.
Team Pack added to the lead in the bottom of the second. Pond led off and singled to left, then went to third on Poulk’s one-out single through the right side. Stanley lined a shot off first baseman Sean Morrison’s glove for an RBI single, making it 2-0. Gillheeney avoided further damage when Jones grounded into a force play and Synan flied to center field.
The 2-0 lead lasted only a matter of moments. Kyle Prewitt belted a 2-0 home run to left off Team Wolf starter Jake Buchanan. Joe Florio followed with a double down the right-field line and Buchanan hit Morrison with a pitch. Still with none out, Mike Gatlin popped up a bunt that Buchanan intentionally let drop, but Payne mishandled Buchanan’s throw to third base to get the lead runner, the error loading the bases with none out. Buchanan struck out Devon Cartwright and Bill Edwards, but walked Ramon Rubio to force in the go-ahead run and give Team Wolf a 3-2 lead. Buchanan went to a 2-2 count to Wade Moore, then hit him with a pitch to drive in another run. A wild pitch advanced all three runners a base and made the score 5-2.
Florio led off the top of the fourth with a single to right field and stole second, but was out trying to advance to third when the throw from catcher went into shallow center field. Morrison reached on a throwing error by Poulk at shortstop, and with two down Cartwright doubled into the left-field corner and Edwards drove in both runners with a single to left, lifting the Team Wolf lead to 7-2.
Team Pack climbed back up off the mat with a three-run fourth inning, all the damage coming after two men had been retired. Jones and Synan hit back-to-back doubles to right-center, and Payne crushed a two-out homer to left, trimming the lead to two runs at 7-5.
Synan led off the bottom of the sixth for Team Pack and doubled to left off losing pitcher Grant Sasser, who allowed three runs on four hits in two innings. Payne advanced the runner to third with a fly ball to right-center, and Ferguson got the run home with a grounder to second base. That sliced the Team Wolf lead to a run, but that didn’t last long. With two away, Pond walked, and Tommy Foschi and Poulk hit back-to-back doubles to give Team Pack the lead at 8-7.
Gary Gillheeney was the beneficiary of the comeback in the sixth. He worked three innings and allowed two runs, both unearned, on five hits to pick up the win.
While the scoring in the bottom of the seventh was meaningless towards the outcome of the game, the coaching staff scripted out seven full innings worth of pitchers, so the bottom of the seventh was played. And Team Pack padded its lead off lefty Jake Kensmoe. With one away, Synan singled to let, Payne singled to right, and Ferguson sent a two-run double into the corner in left.
The final game of this weekend’s series will be played Sunday at 2 p.m.