RALEIGH, N.C. - New Bern native Brett Williams tore the ACL and MCL in his knee in the opening game against Marshall and will miss the rest of the season. The senior centerfielder will seek a medical redshirt. But his teammates picked up the slack against UNC-Wilmington Tuesday.
Carlos Rodon and Ethan Ogburn combined for a shutout and the Wolfpack offense provided a 10-run explosion in the bottom of the eighth to carry NC State to a 10-0 win over UNC Wilmington Tuesday evening at Doak Field at Dail Park.
"It was a tough game, and that's the way games will be in and out of league play for us," said NC State head coach Elliott Avent. "UNC Wilmington played us well, and they have a talented team. Those guys, and Elon, and all the teams we play in North Carolina are tough, they could all be in our league, and it prepares us because playing them is just as challenging as the conference schedule."
Chris Diaz's two-run single opened the flood gates for the Pack as NC State (3-1) nearly batted around twice in a 10-run eighth inning that sealed the victory. Diaz finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored to extend his season-opening four game hit streak with a team-leading 9-for-18 start.
Andrew Ciencin contributed a 3-for-5 showing with three RBIs and two runs. Freshman Trea Turner started his fourth-straight game at third, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs in the lead off position. Danny Canela submitted a 2-for-5 outing with one run and one RBI.
Ogburn (1-0) threw four perfect innings to pick up the win, striking out six in the process. Rodon made his first career start, but ended up with a no decision after five shutout innings, scattering five hits, striking out three, and walking one.
"I tried to stay focused on throwing strikes," said Ogburn. "I knew that if I could continue to make good pitches, that I have a great defense behind me that can make plays to keep us in it."
Rodon ran into some trouble early when Wilmington's Tyler Molinaro doubled down the left field line in the top of the first with one out. After emerging unscathed from that jam, Rodon allowed Wilmington (2-2) to load the bases with no outs in the top second. The freshman struck out Micah Jarrett, and induced a groundball double play from Dillon Bass to escape without a run surrendered. Rodon settled in from there, allowing only two hits over the next three innings before leaving the game to start the sixth.
In his first relief appearance of the season, Ogburn completely shut down the Wilmington attack, retiring 12-straight batters to finish the game, including two strikeouts in the ninth to seal the game.
State struggled to break through against Wilmington starter Tyler McSwain. McSwain threw seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits, striking out two, and walking two.
"Their starter pitched an outstanding game," said Avent. "We have to find ways to make adjustments against guys like that, but it's encouraging to see the way our team settled in and had a big time eighth inning to put the game away."
In the eighth, McSwain left the scoreless game to reliever William Prince (1-1), and the Pack offense finally clicked. Turner led off with a walk, then stole second before Brett Austin singled to center, moving Turner to third. With runners on the corners, Wilmington's first baseman struggled to come up with Ciencin's grounder, plating the first run. Prince would take the loss after giving up one hit and three runs, one earned, against three batters.
Kelly Secrest entered for Prince with runners on first and second and immediately gave up a bunt single to Canela to load the bases. One out later, the Seahawks managed to get the lead runner out at home on Bryan Adametz's grounder, but the bases remained full. With two outs, Diaz hit his single up the middle to give the Wolfpack a 3-0 lead and usher Secrest out of the game.
The new pitcher, Jack Lane, hit Matt Berquist to reload the bases. Jake Fincher drew a walk to make it 4-0. Turner followed that with a single to score two more, and advanced to second on the throw. Wilmington finally brought in Tom Bradley who walked Austin to set up Ciencin's single to left that made it past the fielder to the wall to score another three runs. Canela capped the inning with a double to right center to set the final margin, 10-0.
NC State travels to Myrtle Beach this weekend for games against George Mason, West Virginia, and Coastal Carolina. Radio coverage will be handled by WKNC 88.1, live updates will be provided by NC State's twitter account @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available on GoPack.com.