June 9, 2013


NC State Prevails in 17, Heads to Omaha

By Phil Stanton

CBI Co-Founder @roadtoomaha


RALEIGH, N.C. – It took 17 innings and 45 years to get back to Omaha.


Tarran Senay had a leadoff single and scored the game-winner in the top of the 17th inning as NC State edged Rice 5-4 Saturday to win the Raleigh Regional in front of a sellout crowd of 3,051 at Doak Field at Dail Park.


The Wolfpack (49-14) advances to the College World Series for the second time in program history and the first time since going 2-2 and finishing third nationally in 1968. The Owls conclude their season at 44-20.


Senay was 1 for 6 before a base hit to right started the 17th. After a failed sacrifice attempt, Brett Williams (pictured) doubled to right to advance Senay to third. Michael Ratterree mishandled the ball in right, allowing Senay to score the winning run.


Rice would not go quietly in the bottom of the frame. Michael Aquino had a leadoff base hit to left and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. With two away, Aquino advanced to third on an infield single by Ford Stainback. Christian Stringer sent a fly ball to left for the game’s final out, ending the 5:10 marathon that included a 77-minute rain delay.


“It’s a heart-breaking loss,” Rice head coach Wayne Graham said. “We had our opportunities and didn’t quite make them. They finally got one.”


This was the longest Super Regional game ever, eclipsing the 5-2 win by Houston over San Jose State in 14 innings on June 3, 2000 in Houston.


Ethan Ogburn (5-3) earned the victory, scattering three hits over five scoreless innings with no walks and six strikeouts. He was the ninth pitcher of the contest for the Wolfpack.


“Ethan Ogburn has been here for four years and pretty much been a four-year starter,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said. “Last year I think he started just about every Friday night game. And that’s a pretty big role and he was very successful at it. This last half of the season it hasn’t always gone his way. He came out in relief tonight and pitched the game of his life.”


John Simms (8-4) suffered the loss, allowing three hits and one run in 7.2 innings with three walks and eight strikeouts.


“Our pitching was outstanding,” Graham said. “Simms did a marvelous job.” 


Stringer had two home runs to start the scoring for the Owls, a solo shot with one away in the first and a leadoff dinger in the sixth as Rice took a 2-0 lead. Stringer has three homers in the Super Regional after one in his first 61 games this season.


NC State missed a great chance to score in the second. Grant Clyde and Williams had consecutive singles to start the frame. Bryan Adamatz attempted to sacrifice the runners over, but pitcher Jordan Stephens threw Clyde out at third. On an attempted double steal, Williams beat the throw but slid past the bag and was called out. Jake Armstrong drew a walk before Logan Ratledge flew out to right to end the threat.


The Wolfpack dented home in the top of the seventh. Armstrong, Ratledge and Turner had consecutive singles to load the bases with none out. Jake Fincher hit a fielder’s choice to second, scoring Armstrong to make it 2-1. Stephens exited (6.1 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 97 P) and Zech Lemond took the mound for the second straight day. Brett Austin flew out to shallow center. Leon Byrd made the catch and fired to the plate, where Hunter Kopycinski made the tag on Ratledge to end the inning.


Aquino belted a leadoff homer in the bottom of the seventh, his ninth, to push the Rice advantage to 3-1.


The Owls added a run in the eighth. Keenan Cook launched a one-out double to left center and moved to third on a base hit by Shane Hoelscher. Byrd bunted back to the mound for a single, bringing in Cook to make it 4-1.


NC State tied it in the top of the ninth. Armstrong was hit by a pitch to start the inning and was erased on a fielder’s choice by Ratledge. Turner singled to put two on. Jake Fincher ripped a ball down the right field line to bring home Ratledge and Turner to make it a one-run contest. Fincher moved to third on an error to put the tying run 90 feet away. With the infield in, Austin hit a hard grounder to first that forced Turner to stay at third. Senay doubled to right to bring in Fincher with the tying run. Clyde was intentionally walked before Williams popped out to short.


In the bottom of the ninth, Aquino had a leadoff single and moved to second when Ewing walked. Kopycinski moved both up 90 feet with a sac bunt. Stainback grounded out to short as both runners held. Stringer was walked intentionally before Cook popped out to pitcher Grant Sasser on a bunt attempt to finish the frame.


NC State had another rally in the 10th as Armstrong doubled with one away and went to third on a base hit by Ratledge. Turner lined a ball back to Simms on the mound, who threw on to first to double off Ratledge.


Play was halted at 8:49 p.m. due to heavy rain in the bottom of the 12th.


Fincher finished with two hits and two RBI, while Williams and Turner had three hits each for the Wolfpack.


Aquino had four hits for the Owls.


(photo courtesy of NCSU Media Relations)