NC State evens series with Duke after 6-2 win at DBAP
Posted April 12, 2014
Durham, N.C. — NC State built a 5-0 lead and Wolfpack pitchers Ryan Williamson, Eric Peterson, and D.J. Thomas combined to punch out 14 Blue Devils as NC State baseball rolled to a 6-2 victory on Saturday, evening its series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The first five batters in the Wolfpack lineup drew at least one walk, seven combined. Logan Ratledge went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. Andrew Knizner scored twice in a 2-for-3 effort with an RBI. Preston Palmeiro contributed a 2-for-4 outing with a run and an RBI. Chance Shepard had the Pack’s only extra-base hit, a two-out RBI double to the wall in left. Carlos Rodon had a pinch-hit RBI single in his only at-bat.
Duke (19-17, 8-9 ACC) had its chances early but the Blue Devils were unable to come up with the key hit.
“It’s been our hang up all year,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “In certain ball games, we get runners in scoring position and we just don’t get that key hit. We gave ourselves chances early. We gave ourselves a chance in the first. Gave ourselves a real good chance in the third and the fourth, and we just didn’t come up with the hit. That was the difference.”
The teams (20-14, 6-11 ACC) remained locked in a scoreless tie while Williamson no-hit Duke through three. Peterson (3-2) relieved him and scored the win by holding the Devils to two earned on three hits over the next 4 2/3. Peterson retired his first six batters faced and 11 of his first 12. His nine strikeouts were one shy of his career-high of 10, set in 2013 during Peterson’s time at Temple.
“I thought Peterson was really, really good for them,” Pollard said. “He was very good and he was tough to hit.”
Thomas picked up his second save of the year by retiring the last batter of the eighth and working through the ninth in order.
Trea Turner manufactured a run in the fifth to wake up the Wolfpack offense. Turner led off with a walk, and took second by tagging on a fly ball to right. He advanced to third with one away by baiting an errant pickoff throw behind him at second. Knizner’s RBI single down the left field line scored Turner to make it 1-0. Knizner moved to third after Ratledge’s single to center and Shepard’s walk to load the bases. Palmeiro sent a sac fly to left to make it 2-0.
Andrew Istler suffered the loss after yielding two runs on two hits and two walks over 1.1 innings.
State scored three more in the sixth. Garrett Suggs reached on a fielder’s choice, took second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on a fly to center. Brett Austin was walked intentionally, and Knizner was hit by pitch to load the bases with two gone. Ratledge provided a line drive two-RBI single smashed up the middle. Shepard followed with an RBI double that skipped off of the left field wall on a hop to make it 5-0.
“I don’t think we necessarily pitched poorly, but we gave them some free offense.” Pollard said. “We walked some guys. We hit some guys. Therefore we extended innings so when they did get that hit, there were runners on.”
Duke Senior Jordan Betts ricocheted his team-leading 13th double of the year off the wall in left center to begin the eighth, and crossed home plate two batters later on a Ryan Deitrich RBI double. Drama ensued as the umpires overturned what was originally ruled an Andy Perez two-run homer in favor of an RBI ground-rule double.
In the ninth, the Pack tacked on one for insurance after Palmeiro reached third on a single and a two-base error in center. Rodon drove him in with a pinch hit single through the right side.
The teams close the sries at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Sunday at 1 p.m.