Alex Sogard worked a career-high 5.2 innings with four strikeouts to help No. 25 N.C. State to a 7-6 victory over No. 23 East Carolina Tuesday night at Doak Field. With the win the Pack improves to 24-11 while the Pirates drop to 26-10.
Trailing 7-6 in the top of the ninth, Jimmy Gillheeney fanned freshman Trent Whitehead with the bases loaded to seal the win for the Pack. Harrison Eldridge led off with a walk then moved to second on a passed ball. After Gillheeney got Ryan Wood to fly out to right field, he struck out Stephen Batts before walking Corey Kemp and Brandon Henderson to load the bases.
Sogard, who improved to 2-1 on the season, allowed two runs on three hits with two walks before giving way to Kyle Rutter in the sixth who lasted 1.1 innings allowing three runs on two hits with one walk and one punch out. Gillheeney picked up his eighth save of the season working the ninth inning where he allowed three walks and two strikeouts.
Sthil Sowers (3-3) got the loss after working two innings where he allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits with one walk. Bailey Daniels made his 11th appearance of the season in the third facing two batters where he allowed one run on two hits with one walk before being relieved by Brad Mincey in the third. Mincey pitched five solid innings allowing two runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Josh Ruhlman (0.2 IP) and Brett Butts (0.1 IP) closed out the eighth frame for the Pirates.
N.C. State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks three two-out singles. Matt Payne drew a two-out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and trotted home on Jeremy Synan's single. Marcus Jones followed Synan with a single to left center putting runners on the corners before Pat Ferguson drove in Synan with a single up the middle.
The Pack extended its lead to 4-0 in the second inning with a pair of two-out hits. Dallas Poulk reached on an infield single then moved to third on Ryan Pond's single to right-center. Payne reached on a throwing error that scored Poulk and moved Pond to third. Pond scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch.
Batts' two-RBI double in the third pulled the Pirates within two, 4-2. With two outs, Harrison Eldridge and Ryan Wood each drew walks setting up Batts' at-bat.
Jones put the Pack up 5-2 in the third with a solo shot to dead center field off of Bailey.
Tommy Foschi's two-RBI single up the middle gave the Pack a 7-2 lead in the fifth inning. Synan singled to left to start the frame which was followed by a Jones walk. After a Ferguson sac bunt moved the runners to second and third, Nick Stanley was intentionally walked to load the bases for Foschi's single that plated Synan and Jones.
Kyle Roller pulled the Pirates within one, 7-6, in the eighth with his first career grand slam. Batts drew an opening frame walk then moved to second on Kemp's single to left-center before Henderson loaded the bases after reaching on catcher's interference setting up Roller's at-bat.
The Pirates will be back in action Wednesday night when they play host to The Citadel at Clark-LeClair Stadium with a first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.
Corey Kemp extended his current hitting streak to 13 games with his single to left-center in the eighth inning.
Jamie Ray collected two hits on the night marking the 30th time in his career he has had a multi-hit game.
Stephen Batts drove in two runs for his 29th career multi-RBI game.
Kyle Roller smacked his ninth home run of the season, a grand slam, and his 20th of his career. His four RBI marks the 18th multi-RBI game of his career.