NC State sweeps Virginia Tech to earn ACC tourney berth
Posted May 16
Blacksburg, Va. — With a postseason bid on the line, NC State swept a doubleheader Friday at Virginia Tech, dropping the Hokies 9-4 in the opener before clinching a spot in the ACC tournament with a 6-5 win in the nightcap at English Field.
NC State clinched no worse than the No. 10 seed in the conference by virtue of their sweep and a loss by Pittsburgh at Notre Dame Friday.
Every batter in the Wolfpack order contributed at least one hit to pull off a 9-4 comeback win in the first game of the twin bill. Virginia Tech opened a 2-0 lead in the second, before State rallied to tie the game 2-2 in the third. The Pack scored twice more in the fourth to make it 4-2, but the Hokies knotted the score 4-4 in the bottom half. Two runs in the fifth, and another deuce in the seventh helped State build an 8-4 advantage. An insurance run in the ninth set the final at 9-4.
Brett Austin went 3-for-4 with a homer, three, runs, an RBI, and a walk. Chance Shepard scored three times as well in a 2-for-4 game with a double, an RBI, and a walk. Jake Armstrong provided the only other multi-hit effort with a 2-for-5 outing including a run.
Carlos Rodon (6-7) scored the win in blustery conditions, fanning six while allowing four earned on eight hits and two walks. Eric Peterson earned his third save in four shutout innings of relief, scattering three hits and striking out three while walking none.
The Pack held strong against a nerve-wracking Hokie comeback bid to take the nightcap 6-5. State broke a scoreless tie with its five-run fourth, but Virginia Tech clawed back with three runs in the bottom half. The Wolfpack played through four more scoreless innings before making it 6-3 in the top of the ninth. Tech scored twice in the ninth and put the winning run on first before sophomore Will Gilbert struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the 6-5 victory.
Logan Ratledge paced the Pack with a 3-for-5 effort including an RBI. Brett Austin tripled in his 2-for-5 outing with a run. Trea Turner stole his 24th base of the year, pulling within 16 of tying the ACC’s all-time career record in a 1-for-4 contest with two runs. Andrew Knizner drove in a pair with his only hit. Garrett Suggs went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two outfield assists from right.
Freshman Cody Beckman (1-0) turned in a career performance, setting highs with 4 1/3 innings pitched and five strikeouts, while holding the Hokies to two earned on five hits and two walks. Logan Jernigan started and punched out four over the first four frames while allowing three earned. Jon Olczak pitched 1/3 of an inning in the ninth before Gilbert earned his second save of the year by striking out the final batter to end it.
NC State returns to action for the series finale on Saturday at 2 p.m.