RALEIGH, N.C. – Jake Fincher’s diving catch in right-center for NC State in the ninth ended East Carolina’s late rally, which propelled the Wolfpack to a 3-2 victory Wednesday night at Doak Field.
Trailing 3-0 heading to the ninth frame, ECU (17-12) pushed across a pair of runs pulling within one, 3-2 with two outs. Luke Lowery and Charlie Yorgen laced back-to-back singles with one out putting runners on the corners for Garrett Brooks, who singled home Lowery with a shot through the right side for the Pirates first run. Two batters later, Dylan Brown ripped a single through the right side plating Yorgen and cutting the lead to one, 3-2.
Drew Reynolds stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on the corner set to face Andrew Woeck, but the Wolfpack (17-11) went to the pen brining in the left-hander Gilbert. On a 1-0 offering, Gilbert threw high and tight hitting Reynolds on the forearm loading the bases for the Pirates. Houchins, who was down 0-2 in the count, sent a lazy fly ball to right center but Fincher made a diving grab thwarting the rally and snapping ECU’s seven-game win streak.
Ryan Williamson (1-0) picked up the win after tossing 4.1 scoreless innings of relief allowing just one hit. At one point, he retired 10-straight before allowing a leadoff single to Reynolds in the eighth. Starter Logan Jernigan scattered six hits over 3.2 scoreless frames, while Woeck allowed two runs (both earned) in two-thirds of an inning. Gilbert notched his first save face two batters and recording one out.
Tyler Bolton (1-3) took the loss surrendering two runs (both earned) on four hits with a pair of strikeouts in three full innings. Ryan Williams made his 16th appearance out of the pen working four innings where he gave up one run (unearned) on four hits with one strikeout. Luke Bulka (0.0 IP), Brett Mabry (0.2 IP, K) and Reynolds (0.1 IP) combined to work the eighth frame.
Brett Austin staked NC State to an early 1-0 lead in the third on a sac fly to center, which easily scored Preston Palmeiro from third. Palmeiro reached when he tripled off the bottom of the wall in right-center before trotting home on Austin’s ninth RBI of the season.
Palmeiro’s RBI single in the fourth extended the Pack’s lead to 2-0. With runners on the corners and no outs, ECU went to the bullpen. Williams entered the contest getting Carlos Rodon to roll over on pitch sending a ground ball to Bryce Harman at first, who immediately fired home to Lowery making the tag on Bubby Riley for the first out. Jake Armstrong moved the runners up 90 feet on a ground out back to Williams, but Palmeiro’s base knock to left field scored Andrew Knizner. NC State had a chance to open the frame with a couple more runs, but Ian Townsend’s throw home off Fincher’s single to right nailed Rodon at the plate limiting the scoring to just one run.
State plated a single run in the seventh, which proved to be the game winner, pushing its lead to 3-0. Austin sent a shot to left-center over the head of Brown and stretched a sure-fire double into a triple. On the relay throw in, Harman snagged the ball and fired over to third trying to make a play at the bag, but a low throw wound up in the dugout allowing Austin to score.
The Pirates had ample opportunities to score in the contest having left 10 runners on base – seven of those in scoring position. Both runners in the first were stranded at second and third, while one was left in scoring position in the second. The fourth and ninth innings ended with the bases loaded accounting for four of the seven in scoring position.
Eight of ECU’s nine starters collected one hit with a trio (Lowery, Reynolds and Yorgen) each posting multi-hit games. Brooks reached bases three times drawing a pair of walks to go with his RBI single in the ninth.
The Pirates will continue their four-game road trip when they head to Houston, Texas for a three-game series against the nationally ranked Rice Owls. First game of the series is slated for 7:30 P.M.
East Carolina's 9th inning rally came up short against N.C. State Wednesday. The Wolfpack hung on for a 3-2 win.
The Pirates trailed 3-0 heading into the 9th. They put up 2 runs and had the bases loaded with 2 outs. Zach Houchins hit a shot into the gap but Jake Fincher made a diving to catch to end the rally and the game.
The Wolfpack win is their 6th out of the last 7 meetings against ECU, including 4 straight. The two squads will hold a rematch April 9th in Greenville.