RALEIGH, N.C. - Matt Bergquist's eighth-inning heroics propelled NC State to a 6-5 win over Vanderbilt Sunday night at Doak Field at Dail Park to stave off elimination and force a Monday night championship game at 7 p.m.
Ryan Mathews handed the Pack (42-18) a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a solo shot, and State added two more on a Trea Turner home run in the third to build a 3-0 lead. Vanderbilt (35-27) broke the seal in the fourth with a run, but the Wolfpack responded with runs in the fourth and fifth to leap ahead 5-1. The Commodores chopped that lead in half with two runs in the sixth, then tied the game with two more in the seventh, but Bergquist came up with the pivotal hit in the eighth to set the final at 6-5.
Bergquist went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run, putting a stamp on a huge day for the junior. In two games Sunday, Bergquist pieced together a 5-for-8 afternoon with a home run and seven RBIs. Danny Canela and Brett Austin had the Pack's two other multi-hit games, each going 2-for-4 with Austin driving in one and scoring the game-winning run.
Mathews hit his 17th homer of the year to put the Wolfpack on top in the first, his ninth in the last 14 games and third of the Raleigh regional. Turner's two-run shot represented his fifth of the season.
NC State starter Anthony Tzamtzis went 6 2/3 innings, the second-longest outing of his career, striking out five batters while allowing four earned for a no decision. Reliever Ryan Wilkins (4-2) scored the win with two shutout innings to seal the deal, holding the Commodores to one hit and striking out two in the ninth.
Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek lasted 3 1/3 innings and left with the loss, but came away with a no decision. Ziomek surrendered four earned on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Reliever Drew VerHagen pitched the next four innings, giving up two earned on five hits. Will Clinard shut out the Pack over the final 2/3.
The Wolfpack improved its run total to 47 for the regional, good for a school record in NCAA postseason play. State scored in 10 of its first 13 innings at bat in the two games Sunday.
For the second time Saturday, NC State scored in the bottom of the first. Mathews granted the Pack a 1-0 lead with a solo shot to left, his 17th of the year and third of the Raleigh regional. Vanderbilt threatened to answer with a run in the second, but Tzamtzis gunned a 3-2 pitch past Connor Castellano to end the inning with runners on second and third.
The Pack added two more in the third on Turner's two-run blast. Bergquist led off the inning with a walk, then Turner sent a 1-1 pitch sailing over the left field wall with a towering shot that seemed to hang for a lifetime. State put two on with one out, but Ziomek killed the rally by striking out a pair to end the threat.
Vanderbilt broke through in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-1. Conrad Gregor doubled to the wall in right center with one away, then advanced to third on a passed ball. Spencer Navin's sac fly brought in the Commodores first run of the game.
The Wolfpack came back with one run in the fourth and fifth. Logan Ratledge came aboard with a one-out double in the fourth. Bergquist followed him with a double that fell in front of the charging right fielder, and an errant relay throw allowed Ratledge to score. In the fifth, Austin hit an RBI single with two outs, bringing Andrew Ciencin home from second.
The Commodores cut the lead in half with two runs in the sixth. Tony Kemp drew a walk as the lead-off, and scored one batter later when Mike Yastrzemski tripled on a screamer down the right field line that just missed Ciencin's glove on the way out of the infield. Yastrzemski scored on a groundout by the next batter. Vandy kept the pressure up, putting two in scoring position with one away, but Tzamtzis induced a foul pop and a fly out to preserve the 5-3 lead.
Vanderbilt tied the game 5-5 with another two in the seventh. Castellano led off with a single to left, moved to second on a groundout, and took third on a wild pitch. Kemp walked, then stole second to put two in scoring position with one out. Yastrzemski grounded out to score the first run, and Anthony Gomez doubled down the left field line to tie it. Reliever Travis Orwig entered after the double and induced a grounder from the only batter he faced, ending the inning.
In the eighth, the Commodores looked to take the lead, but a key defensive play kept the score deadlocked. Navin singled through the left side as the lead-off, and Riley Reynolds pushed him into scoring position with a bouncer to second. With one out, Turner fielded a grounder at third and fired across the diamond to get the second out. On the throw, Navin made his move for third, but Ciencin picked Turner's throw and winged the relay back to third in time for a 5-3-5 double play.
The Pack carried that momentum into the bottom half to secure the win. Austin reached on a single up the middle, and a hit batsman to put Ratledge on behind him. Bergquist came up with the clutch RBI single to left, Austin beat the throw home, and Ratledge wheeled into third. Ratledge tried to score on a chopper to the right side during the next play, but was tagged out at the plate.
That insurance run turned out to be moot, as Wilkins rolled through the ninth in order, striking out the first and last batters of the inning.
NC State returns to the diamond Monday night at 7 p.m. for the Raleigh regional championship game. The winner of tomorrow's contest will advance to the super regionals in Gainesville, Fla.