May 30, 2010
Wolfpack outlasts Tech to advance to ACC title game
Tech falls 10-9 in 10-inning affair
NC State (38-21) 014210001110142
(18) Virginia Tech (38-20) 10070010009135
  • Greensboro, NC - 4,456

GREENSBORO, N.C. Pratt Maynard’s RBI single in the top of the 10th inning scored Kyle Wilson from second base, capping a back-and-forth battle and lifting seventh-seeded NC State to a 10-9 victory over sixth-seeded Virginia Tech in the 12th game of the ACC Championship on Saturday night at NewBridge Bank Park.

With the victory, the Wolfpack (38-21) clinched Division B to advance to Sunday’s title game against fifth-seeded and Division-A winner Florida State. Virginia Tech fell to 38-20 with the loss.

The 18th-ranked Hokies held a 9-8 lead heading into the ninth inning, but NC State had one last-ditch effort to complete a day which also saw them defeat Georgia Tech in the completion of contest that began on Friday night. With Tech closer Ben Rowen in to go for the save, Wolfpack right fielder Drew Poulk led off with a single. Third baseman Andrew Ciencin then laid a sacrifice bunt down the first-base line, but Tech first baseman Ronnie Shaban had the ball jarred loose as he attempted to tag Ciencin for the unassisted putout. The error allowed Poulk to scamper to third. An intentional walk to Harold Riggins loaded the bases to set up a double play, but Rowen then hit pinch-hitter Danny Canela with a pitch to force home Poulk for the tying run.

After Tech went three up, three down in the bottom of the ninth, Wilson drew a leadoff walk from Rowen in the 10th and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Dallas Poulk, setting up the decisive hit by Maynard.

Rowen took the loss for the Hokies to fall to 5-2 on the season, having allowed two runs (one earned) over the final two frames. He struck out four. Earning the win for the Wolfpack was usual starter Jake Buchanan, who improved to 8-6. The NC State ace came back on short rest after pitching Wednesday’s game to toss six innings in relief of Cory Mazzoni. Buchanan allowed just one unearned run on six hits, while fanning five, in his time on the mound. Grant Sasser retired the final batter to register his fifth save.

Riggins paced NC State’s 14-hit attack by going 4-for-5 with a homer, while left fielder Andrew Rash led the Hokies’ 13-hit onslaught by going 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Second baseman Michael Seaborn also tallied three hits in four at-bats.

Though the final run occurred during the wee hours of Sunday morning, the first run of the game came nearly four hours earlier on Saturday night. The Hokies scored in their first at-bat for the third-straight day, picking up a run in the bottom of the first. Leadoff batter Sean Ryan took the second pitch he saw to right field for a double, and then moved to third on a bunt single by Seaborn. Catcher Steve Domecus followed by grounding into a double play to second base, but it was enough to get Ryan home from third for the game’s first run.

The Wolfpack evened things up in the top of the second, getting an RBI single from catcher Chris Schaeffer that brought Riggins in to score. Riggins had reached on a single of his own and moved up to third on a pair of wild pitches by Virginia Tech starting pitcher Jesse Hahn.

NC State took a 5-1 lead in the top of the third thanks to four runs aided by a pair of Tech errors. Shortstop Matt Bergquist led off the inning by reaching on a miscue by Seaborn, and eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Drew Poulk. Wilson, who singled, and Dallas Poulk, who was hit by a pitch, both touched home on a base-hit up the middle by Ciencin. In an attempt to nab Dallas Poulk at home, Rash’s throw from center got away from Domecus, allowing Ciencin to advance all the way to third. Maynard capped the outburst by driving in Ciencin with a sacrifice fly to right field.

NC State built its lead to 7-1 in the fourth inning, with the first coming on a leadoff home run by left fielder John Gianis, just his third of the season. The second tally came from Wilson, who reached on an error by Shaban and advanced all the way to third when the ball scooted into foul territory. He later crossed home on an RBI single from Dallas Poulk.

As quickly as the Hokies fell behind, they reclaimed the lead even faster, plating seven runs in the bottom of the fourth. The first three runs came on a bomb by Rash that hugged the left-field foul pole. Mazzoni had walked both Shaban and shortstop Tim Smalling, and Rash made him pay by hitting his second homer of the tournament and sixth of the year. After Mazzoni issued his third walk of the frame to third baseman Tony Balisteri, Ryan ripped a triple into center field to cut the deficit to three. Seaborn promptly brought home Ryan with a base knock, and then scored on a moonshot to left-center field by Domecus. It was Domecus’ team-leading 12th round-tripper of the season, and it gave Tech a brief 8-7 advantage.

Riggins erased Tech’s lead for NC State in the top of the fifth with a solo home run that cleared the scoreboard in right field. It was Riggins’ 12th homer of the year, and it tied the contest at 8-8.

Tech took its last lead of the game with one run in the bottom of the seventh. Shaban led off the inning with a chopper over Ciencin’s head that turned into a double. Two batters later, left fielder Buddy Sosnoskie reached on throwing error by Bergquist, moving Shaban to third. Rash followed with a single up the middle for third hit of game, driving in Shaban.

The Hokies will now await their NCAA Tournament fate, while NC State will take on Florida State for the ACC Championship trophy on Sunday at 1 p.m. The 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Monday on ESPN at 12:30 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).

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