RALEIGH, N.C. – Tied at 3-3 heading into the eighth inning, No. 25 NC State scored four unearned runs against the Hokies in the frame and took the final game of the three-game ACC series over No. 22 Virginia Tech, 7-3, on Sunday at Doak Field.
It was the first time the Hokies were beaten in the third game of the ACC series this season and dropped the team to 21-12 overall and 7-8 in the ACC, while the Wolfpack improved to 24-10, 8-7 in the conference.
It was déjà vu again on Sunday, as the Hokies jumped out to a 2-0 lead – as they did in both Friday’s and Saturday’s game – only to see their lead eliminated a few frames later.
Tyler Horan and Mark Zagunis both reached base to lead off the second and then Horan, who looked to be picked off by NC State starter Brad Stone on a double steal attempt, actually made it to third and scored as Stone’s throw went wide. Zagunis, who took second on the play, scored on a two-out single by Chad Morgan and Tech led 2-0.
The Wolfpack answered with three in the third, on an RBI single by Logan Ratledge, a sac fly from Brett Austin and an RBI single by Bryan Adametz to take a 3-2 lead.
Stone kept the Hokies off the scoreboard over the next three frames, but it was Horan and Zagunis again, that helped tie the game at threes in the seventh. Each singled to put runners on the corners and Brendon Hayden hit a sac fly to score Horan and the game was knotted.
Tech starter Joe Mantiply worked 6.2 frames and struck out four in his time on the mound, but was relieved by Clark Labitan with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh. Labitan ended the frame with a strikeout, but a pair of miscues by the Hokie defense in the eighth plated the deciding runs.
Labitan suffered the loss and is now 0-2, while Wolfpack reliever Ryan Wilkins, who allowed just one hit over the last 2.2 frames improved to 4-1 with the victory.
The upcoming week will see Tech host Longwood on Tuesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m., before welcoming the No. 1 team in the nation, North Carolina to English Field for its next ACC challenge.
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