June 9, 2013
NC State Prevails in 17, Heads
By Phil Stanton
CBI Co-Founder @roadtoomaha
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
“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
“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
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