Though advance sales were light, the walk-up sales were brisk, and the ticket line still extended well into the parking lot when the first pitch was thrown. Wolfpack basketball coaches Herb Sendek, Larry Hunter, and Mark Phelps were spotted in the crowd. Despite traveling with the Wolfpack Club Spring Caravan to three separate cities on Thursday night, the coaches joined with 3000 other NC State fans in making the trek to Wilson.
Both hurlers were sharp early, rarely falling behind hitters, and the early innings passed quickly. Dustin Knight provided the only fireworks through the first third of the game with a solo shot in the second.
The game continued as a grind-it-out affair as both squads searched for ways to get through against stingy pitching. The Pack scraped out a run in the fourth when Joe Gaetti's single, stolen base, and a wild pitch set up Marc Maynor for an RBI single giving the Wolfpack a 2-0 lead. A hit batsman—the second of four total for Rogers—and an error allowed the Dolphins to get one back in the top of the fifth.
Clinging to the one-run lead, the Pack manufactured another in the bottom of the fifth with Justin Riley driving in Matt Camp on a single, balk, sacrifice fly, single sequence. Then Rogers gave one back on a hit-by-pitch, wild pitch, wild pitch, sacrifice fly sequence in the top of the sixth.
In forging yet another two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, the Wolfpack managed the first back-to-back hits of the evening for either team. Knight opening the inning by lacing a double down the right field line. A Maynor sacrifice bunt set up the consecutive singles by Adam Hargrave and Camp. The Hargrave RBI scored Knight for NC State's fourth run of the game. A stolen base and Camp's single put runners at the corners with one out, but Mattoon worked out of further trouble by assisting a putout at the plate and forcing a groundout to short.
Rogers worked a one-two-three top of the seventh to maintain his two-run cushion. Colt Morton led off the bottom with a comebacker up the middle that probably made Mattoon seriously consider his stance on the use of aluminum bats. Gaetti and Knight singles loaded the bases with one out. Mattoon limited the damage to one run—a result of the first walk of the game. Hargrave walked on a full count scoring Morton.
Rogers again created some trouble for himself by walking and hitting the first two batters in the top of the eighth. However, facing the potential tying run, he retired three consecutive batters. Mattoon's replacement, Chad Sidmore opened the bottom of the inning by walking Chad Orvella. A Riley fly out and Morton strikeout had him on the verge of giving his team one more run at it in the ninth. However, a first-pitch homerun by Gaetti diminished those hopes by making the score 7-2. After walking Lee Mezistrano, Sidmore was done, replaced by Shane Burke. David Hicks' RBI double ended the scoring. Jason Duncan came in for Rogers mixing a single in with three fly outs to center.
NC State advances to play Virginia Commonwealth Saturday. VCU advanced by beating Western Carolina 6-0. Western Carolina will face Le Moyne in an elimination game prior to the NC State/VCU match up.