Pack Falls To Heels, 4-0

GREENSBORO, N.C. - NC State came up one win shy of playing for the ACC Championship after dropping a 4-0, 12-inning battle with second seeded North Carolina, Saturday at NewBridge Bank Park.

Freshman Carlos Rodon dazzled a crowd of 10,229, the largest ever to witness a college baseball game in the state of North Carolina, with nine shutout innings and 12 strikeouts to tie his career high, but left with the no decision at the end of regulation.

With its championship hopes on the line, the Wolfpack (39-17) clawed its way through 11 scoreless innings before the Tar Heels (44-14) managed to push four across in the top of 12th.

Six NC State pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts, a season-high for the team which tied the ACC Tournament record set by Wake Forest in 1985. Rodon finished with four hits and two walks allowed while striking out 12 over nine shutout innings. D.J. Thomas (2-2) ended up saddled with the loss on three earned over 1 1/3 innings after leaving with the bases loaded in the 12th.

North Carolina reliever Michael Morin (6-3) claimed the win over the final five innings, holding the Pack to one hit and striking out five. Starter Benton Moss lasted 5 1/3, striking out five as well and giving up two hits.

Jake Fincher represented the only Pack hitter to reach base twice, knocking a pair of base hits in a 2-for-4 performance. Trea Turner, Chris Diaz, and Ryan Mathews each hit singles for the rest of State's offensive output.

Diaz and Fincher also flashed their talents in the field to preserve the scoreless tie. In the top of the sixth, UNC's Michael Russell hit a two-out triple to the left center gap. The next batter sent a flare to shallow center that should have scored the go-ahead run, but Diaz dove to make an acrobatic catch over his shoulder.

In the ninth, Jacob Stallings fell victim to Fincher's arm after a two-out walk. With Stallings on first, Cody Stubbs smoked a single to center. Stallings rounded second and Fincher came up firing to gun him at third by inches, ending the Tar Heel threat.

In the 12th, the dam finally burst. Singles by Colin Moran and Stallings, followed by a Stubbs walk, loaded the bases with nobody out. NC State brought the infield in, and UNC took advantage, threading three RBI singles in a row through. A sac fly to center brought in the last run to set the final margin at 4-0.

NC State awaits tomorrow's regional site announcement at 3:30 p.m. ET, and Monday's NCAA Tournament selection show at noon on ESPNU.

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