May 31, 2013
Slips Past Bearcats
By Sean Ryan
RALEIGH, N.C. – Trea
Turner said he was a little scared. Elliott Avent watched in
disbelief. Tim Sinicki was hoping for a little luck.
Three vantage points, three differing opinions
on the bases-loaded fly ball lefty Nick Pancerella lofted down
the right-field line with Binghamton trailing NC State 2-1 in
the fourth inning. The feeling, of those on the field and the
red-clad fans filling the stands at the Raleigh Regional, was
NC State’s Jake Fincher, playing a little shallow
and shaded a bit to the line, raced back a little and toward the
line before a full-extension leap that turned into dive to the
turf on the right-field line to haul in Pancerella’s bid for
Fincher’s highlight-reel catch, coupled with a
two-run homer from Tarran Senay and a solo shot from Trea Turner
helped the Wolfpack open Regional play with a 4-1 Friday-night
win the Bearcats.
NC State (45-14) advances to meet William & Mary,
which surprised Ole Miss earlier in the day at Doak Field.
Binghamton (30-24) will play an elimination game against the
“It’s good to get off to a good start in the
Regional,” said Avent, NC State’s coach. “Winning the first game
is always tough.”
Fincher’s catch made things a little easier for
the Wolfpack, who just missed out on claiming one of the final
national seeds to the NCAA Tournament.
“The only thing I can say is ‘wow,’” Avent said.
“We’ve made great plays all season. It was an unbelievable play
by a great player. Jake Fincher is a guy that makes plays…That’s
what he’s done since he’s been here.
“I can’t believe he made that play.”
Turner, NC State’s stellar shortstop, thought
Fincher may have been beaten.
“I’m not going to lie, I got a little scared,”
Turner said. “I saw how shallow he was playing, but he’s made
big plays for us all season. It’s not a surprise that he did
that, but I got scared for a second that it might have been out
of his reach. Big play by him. That definitely gave us some
And it turned out to be the last real shot the
Bearcats had at upsetting the Wolfpack.
“That’s potentially a game-changer, we go from
being down 2-1 to probably up 3-2 at that point,” said Sinicki,
Binghamton’s coach. “I watched him the whole time and I thought
he had a bead on it and was going to get it. I thought our only
chance was that it would hopefully bounce off his glove.”
Senay (2 for 4), NC State’s cleanup hitter, hit a
towering fly that cleared the wall with ease in right-center for
a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Bearcats (30-24) scratched back in the top of
the second when Shaun McGraw scored on John Howell’s 4-6-3
Binghamton, led by Zach Blanden’s three hits, had
runners on early and often against State’s Ethan Ogburn – the
Bearcats put the leadoff runner on three of the first five
innings. Ogburn was lifted after 3.2 innings and in the middle
of an at-bat in favor of Andrew Woeck with the Wolfpack clinging
to a 2-1 lead. After Woeck, who inherited a 2-0 count, walked
Howell to load the bases, Pancerella’s chance to be a hero was
stymied by Fincher’s heroics.
“I give a lot of credit to that young man for
making that play and giving his team a lift when quite possibly
we could have taken the lead,” Sinicki said.
Turner opened the sixth with a solo homer to left
to give NC State a little breathing room, which was more than
enough for Josh Easley (6-2), who finished with 4.1 innings of
one-hit, scoreless relief with four strikeouts.
Jack Rogalla (5-5) threw well in defeat for
Binghamton, which will meet Ole Miss Saturday afternoon. Rogalla
allowed eight hits – four coming in the sixth and seventh
innings – and four earned runs in 6.2 innings with no walks and
four strikeouts. Between the homers to Senay and Turner, Rogalla
retired 12 of 14 batters.
“He definitely had good stuff,” Senay said. “He
was a good competitor and pitched his butt off.”
Logan Ratledge added a RBI single for the
Wolfpack in the seventh. Fincher and Brett Austin joined Senay
in finishing with two hits for NC State.