RALEIGH,NC (NCSU sports information) –– NC State survived its first elimination game Sunday at Doak Field at Dail Park, racing past UNC Wilmington 17-5 with seven runs in the fourth inning and six RBIs from Matt Bergquist.
The Pack (41-18) put one across in the first, but UNCW (39-23) responded by tying the game 1-1 in the fourth. The track meet started in the bottom of that inning, when State hung seven on the board. After a Wolfpack run in the fifth, UNCW narrowed the gap to 9-4 with three in the sixth. The Pack put the game well out of reach from there, scoring one in the sixth, three in the seventh, and four in the eighth to leap ahead 17-4 before a Andrew Cain’s solo shot in the ninth made it 17-5.
Bergquist saved his best performance of the season for when the Pack needed it most, coming up with six RBIs in a 3-for-5 game with his first homer of the year and a double, scoring three times.
Chris Diaz and Andrew Ciencin rose to the occasion as well. Diaz scored three times and drove in three with a 4-for-5, two double performance. Ciencin smashed a three-run homer, his fifth of the year in a 3-for-5, four RBI, two run outing with a double. Brett Austin had the Pack’s other three-hit day, scoring twice and legging out the first triple of his career.
Ethan Ogburn (5-3) came one out shy of his first career complete game, going 8 2/3 innings, allowing five earned on nine hits with seven strikeouts. Chris Williams made his second appearance of the year to record the final out, striking out the only batter he faced.
In three games at the Raleigh regional, the Pack has 41 runs, good for a school record. The next highest total for State in NCAA play is 33 (1994 in Knoxville, Tenn. and 1998 in Palo Alto, Calif.). The Wolfpack’s 17 runs sets a program record for most in a single NCAA Tournament game.
Every Wolfpack starter currently holds a batting average .313 or higher, and seven are batting higher than .400 for the regional. Ciencin sits 8-for-13 (.615), Bergquist leads the team with eight RBIs. Ryan Mathews rests one RBI shy of Bergquist’s total, and has two homers in the Pack’s three games.
UNCW starter Mat Batts (6-5) took the loss on eight runs, six earned, over 3 1/3 innings. The Seahawks went through eight pitchers on the ball game. Outside of Batts, none lasted more than 1 1/3.
NC State wasted no time rebounding from Saturday night’s loss, scoring in the first to take a 1-0 lead. Diaz set up the run with a one-out double to the wall in left. Mathews followed by driving one off the top of the wall in right to plate him. The fly caromed off the wall hard enough to allow the right fielder time to throw Mathews out at second, rendering the play an RBI single.
UNC Wilmington tied the game 1-1 in the fourth when Matt Campbell broke up three no-hit innings from Ogburn with a solo shot to left.
The Pack unleashed seven runs in the fourth to snag an 8-1 lead. Diaz reached on an error by the second baseman to start the inning. Mathews walked behind him, and Danny Canela drove in the first run with a single to left center. With runners on the corners, Ciencin parked a 2-2 pitch over the fence in left to make it 5-1. Austin kept the inning going with a single to right, and Jake Fincher put two on by legging out a bunt single. A sac bunt moved both runners into position to score on Bergquist’s two-RBI double down the right field line. Diaz brought him in with an RBI single up the middle.
State added another in the fifth on Logan Ratledge’s RBI single. Canela and Ciencin led off with a pair of singles to put two on. UNCW got the lead runner on a sac bunt attempt, and the second out on a pop up, but Ratledge came through with the two-out hit to score Ciencin from second.
UNCW trimmed the lead to 9-4 in the top sixth. Michael Bass legged out an infield single with one out to start the rally. Campbell singled to center behind him. Tyler Molinaro scored them both with a bases-clearing double to the wall in left center. Ogburn struck out the next batter, but gave up an RBI single to right by Hunter Ridge for the third run.
The Wolfpack scored to extend the lead to 10-4 in the bottom sixth. Diaz singled to right center to put a runner on with one out, then stole second on the third strike against the next batter. The throw to second sailed high, allowing Diaz to take third. Ciencin doubled down the left field line to drive him home.
NC State padded the lead to 13-4 with three in the bottom seventh. Fincher beat out an infield single to lead off, advanced to second on a hit-and-run, and took third on a wild pitch. Bergquist drove him in with an RBI single through the left side. Trea Turner doubled to left field to put two runners in scoring position. Diaz brought in both with a double to right center.
Another four runs came home for the Wolfpack in the eighth to extend the lead to 17-4. Austin tripled to right center with one-out. With two away, Tarran Senay walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bergquist homered to left, the three-run shot marking his first of the year. Turner doubled to left next, and came home on John Gianis’s pinch hit RBI single to right.
The Wolfpack heads back to the diamond at 6 p.m. for a rematch with Vanderbilt. NC State will be the home team for the contest, and streaming links will be provided on GoPack.com. Radio coverage for the game will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available on GoPack.com.