Walk-Off Walk Caps Wolfpack Comeback

NC State took a one run deficit into the bottom of the ninth, but rallied to capture a 3-2 walk-off victory over Miami in the Wolfpack's ACC Tournament opener Wednesday at NewBridge Bank Park.

Chantz Mack put the Hurricanes (34-20) on top 2-0 in the top of the sixth with his first home run of the year, before the Pack (39-15) narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom half on Jake Fincher's RBI. The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the ninth, when State pushed two across for the 3-2 win.

Andrew Ciencin matched his season high with three hits on the afternoon, going 3-for-4 with a double in the win. Chris Diaz went 3-for-5 and drove in the game-tying run. Trea Turner had a pair of hits in a 2-for-4 outing. Brett Austin started the Pack's game-winning rally with a single through the left side, and John Gianis came up with a crucial pinch hit single behind him.

Ethan Ogburn ended up with a no decision, but his 6 2/3 inning effort played a massive role in the Wolfpack win. Reliever Vance Williams (3-3) won on 2 1/3 shutout innings, limiting the Canes to two hits and two walks. Ogburn held the Hurricanes to two earned on five hits, striking out five and walking one to keep State's hopes alive against Miami starter Eric Erickson.

Erickson also took a no decision after scattering nine hits over seven innings to hold NC State to one earned. Eric Nedeljkovic (0-2), the fourth of five pitchers used by Miami in the game, was tagged with the loss on two runs, one earned, on three hits over 2/3.

The ACC's longest active hitting streak came to an end as Ryan Mathews went 0-for-4 on the game, but his patience at the plate resulted in an RBI on the game-winning walk. Mathews also contributed in the field, gunning down a runner at the plate in the eighth to prevent a run that would have made it 3-1.

Miami broke a scoreless tie in the top sixth with Mack's two-run homer to right. Dale Carey came aboard on a one-out double to the left center gap, setting the table for Mack's home run. Through 6 1/3 innings, Ogburn had retired 16 of 19 batters faced and allowed only two hits.

State trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the bottom half on Fincher's RBI groundout. Danny Canela sent a one-out single bouncing up the middle to get the inning going. Ciencin doubled to the left field corner behind him, putting two in scoring position. Fincher hit a chopper to the right side to bring in Canela, but the inning came to an end one batter later.

The Hurricanes loaded the bases with two away in the seventh, but Williams entered an extinguished the potential rally. Ogburn hit a batter and gave up a single after getting the first two outs of the inning. Williams relieved him there, and walked Stephen Perez to fill the bases, but struck out the next swinging at a high fastball to strand three.

The Pack roared back in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth to take the win. After a called strike three for the first out, Austin and Gianis hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. Turner drew a walk to load the bases with the Wolfpack down a run. Diaz hit a towering chopper to third, allowing Austin to score, and made it to first when a low throw across the diamond squirted free of the first baseman's glove. With the bases still loaded, Mathews drew a walk on five pitches to push across the game-winning run.

NC State returns to action Thursday to meet seventh-seeded Wake Forest at 7 p.m. RSN will handle the television broadcast, and ESPN3.com will stream the game. Radio coverage will be provided by 88.1 WKNC, fans can follow Twitter updates from @NCStateBaseball, and live stats will be available at GoPack.com.

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