Fincher's walk-off web gem preserves 3-2 win
Posted April 3
NC State baseball edged in-state rival East Carolina by the narrowest of margins on Wendesday night at Doak Field at Dail Park, thanks to Jake Fincher’s walk-off web gem with the bases loaded to preserve the 3-2 win.
The Wolfpack (17-11) cruised to a 3-0 lead with single runs in the third, fourth, and seventh. ECU (17-12) responded in the ninth by scoring twice and loading the bases with two outs, but Fincher made his remarkable diving grab in the right center gap to end the game.
NC State freshmen Preston Palmeiro and Ryan Williamson were the story of the game beyond Fincher. Palmeiro went 3-for-3 with a triple in his third start for the Wolfpack at first base, scoring once and driving in one. Williamson (1-0) looked dominant for 4 1/3 innings of relief, holding the Pirates to one hit while striking out seven and walking none. The freshman lefty retired 10 in a row after hitting the first batter he faced in the foot with an 0-2 breaking ball.
Brett Austin went 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI, his sixth double, and second triple of the year. Andrew Knizner scored once in a 1-for-3 outing. Carlos Rodon and Logan Ratledge supplied one hit each.
Logan Jernigan started and scattered six hits over 3 2/3, striking out three and walking a pair. Andrew Woeck struck out two in the ninth, before Will Gilbert collected his first career save by facing the last two batters of the game.
Palmeiro led off the Wolfpack third with his triple off the wall in right center. Austin sent a one-out sac fly to center to score him. In the fourth, Bubby Riley led off with a walk and motored to third on Knizner’s single through the right side. East Carolina caught Riley at home on a fielder’s choice, but Palmeiro knocked a two-out RBI single to left to score Knizner and make it 2-0.
The Pack extended its lead to 3-0 in the seventh on Austin’s one-out triple to left center. The junior captain recognized a throw coming into second and never stopped, cruising to third. A relay throw to third was errant, and found its way into the ECU dugout to send Austin home on the play.
NC State hits the road to Clemson to open its series with the Tigers on Saturday at 1 p.m. All three games are televised, with RSN carrying the first and ESPNU covering the final two.