RALEIGH, N.C. – No. 13 NC State blanked UNC Greensboro 7-0 in its regular season home finale Tuesday at Doak Field at Dail Park behind a sensational pitching performance from Logan Jernigan, and a mammoth two-run homer by Ryan Mathews.
Jernigan (5-1) retired 20 of the 23 batters he faced, striking out eight to come up one short of tying his career high. The freshman from Four Oaks, N.C. allowed just one hit over 6 2/3 innings of work.
Mathews extended the ACC’s longest active hitting streak to 18 games with his 11th home run of the year, a two-run blast to dead center in the Wolfpack’s three-run first inning. The senior seems to be finding a groove as the regular season winds to a close, having smashed three home runs over the Pack’s last four games.
Chris Diaz led the Wolfpack (37-13) with a 3-for-5 performance that included a double, two RBIs, and two runs. Danny Canela went 2-for-3, driving in a pair as well.
Trea Turner scored twice, marking the 16th time in the last 17 games the freshman has crossed home plate, in a 2-for-3 outing with a stolen base to take over second on the ACC’s single-season list, 12 short of Brian Roberts’s record from 1997. Turner scored in the first inning for the seventh time in the Pack’s last 10 games. For the first time all season, Turner was thrown out by a catcher on an attempted steal of second base. Turner’s total stands at 51-for-54 heading for the Florida State series.
Jernigan scored the win, but relievers Ryan Wilkins and Gary Gillheeney also contributed solid efforts. Wilkins came out of the pen first, delivering one shutout inning, allowing one hit and striking out two. Gillheeney fanned two and gave up a hit over 1 1/3 to preserve the shutout in his first appearance of the season.
Greensboro (24-25) trotted out six pitchers, with starter Adam Boghosian (0-2) taking the loss on four runs, three earned, over the first inning. Eric Kalbfleisch gave up the rest in the sixth, finishing with three runs allowed on three hits over 2/3.
Tuesday’s game marked the first of a three-game suspension levied against NC State head coach Elliott Avent for his actions in Sunday’s game at Virginia Tech.
State leapt out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom first thanks to Mathews’s two-run homer. Turner led off the game by ripping a single by the UNCG third baseman playing in on the grass. Diaz followed with a double into the right field corner to put two in scoring position for Canela’s RBI groundout to the right side. With Diaz on third, Mathews pounced on a 1-2 pitch, sending it soaring over the wall in dead center for his 11th of the year.
The Pack added another in the second to make it 4-0. Logan Ratledge reached as the lead-off man on a throwing error by UNCG’s shortsop. Turner walked behind him to put two on and chase Boghosian from the game. Reliever Dominique Vattuone struck out the first batter he faced, but allowed Canela’s RBI single up the middle.
Three more Wolfpack runs came home in the sixth to extend the lead to 7-0. Brett Austin reached on an infield single as the lead off man. Jake Fincher’s sac bunt moved him over, and a wild pitch pushed him to third with two away. Turner walked and stole second to put two in scoring position, and Diaz plated them both on a single to center. Canela singled next to put runners on the corners, and back-to-back walks brought in the third run.
NC State travels to Tallahassee Thursday to take on top-ranked Florida State in a three-game set Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. All three games will stream live on ESPN3.com. Radio coverage for the series will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available at GoPack.com.