State's Season Comes To An End

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - NC State traded blows with the top-seeded Gators for 10 innings, but the Pack's sensational 2012 campaign drew to a close with a 9-8 loss at McKethan Stadium, Sunday.

The Wolfpack (43-20) took a 1-0 lead immediately after a two hour, 23 minute rain delay in the middle of the third that shelved NC State starter Carlos Rodon. Florida (47-18) feasted with Rodon out of the game, scoring four in the fourth. The Pack rallied over the next four innings, scoring two in the fourth, one in the fifth to tie, and another in the seventh to take a 5-4 lead. State's second lead of the game triggered a wild finish that saw momentum change hands every half inning. Florida took a 6-5 lead in the top eighth before the Wolfpack tied the game in the bottom half. State fell behind 7-6 in the top ninth, then sent the game to extras by tying it 7-7 in the bottom. Florida scored twice in the 10th, but the Pack could only muster one more to fall 9-8.

Danny Canela cemented his role as one of the Pack's most reliable bats, going 2-for-5 with RBIs in the seventh and the ninth. Jake Fincher hit his first career home run in a 2-for-5 game with two runs scored. Brett Austin claimed responsibility for the Wolfpack's early runs, scoring in the third and hitting a two-out, two-RBI double in the fourth, part of a 2-for-4, two double game.

Matt Bergquist plated Austin in the third in his 2-for-4, one RBI, one run day. Senior captain Andrew Ciencin scored in the first comeback in a 1-for-4 effort. Trea Turner went 1-for-4 with an RBI in the 10th and a run scored in the ninth. The run in the ninth was set up by Turner's school-record 57th stolen base of the year.

Rodon ended up with a no decision after no-hitting the Gators for three innings with three strikeouts. Ryan Wilkins delivered another career-long relief effort, lasting 5 1/3 innings allowing three earned on eight hits. Vance Williams (4-4) ended up with the loss on two earned in the 10th.

Florida needed seven pitchers to get the job done, with reliever Karsten Whitson (4-0) securing the win after pitching the bottom ninth. Keenan Kish (1) recorded the save by facing the last two batters.

Neither starter gave up a hit before the rain halted the game in the middle of the third. When play resumed, NC State broke the scoreless tie with back-to-back doubles from Austin and Bergquist. Austin led off the bottom third by sending a 1-2 pitch to the warning track in left to set the table. Bergquist followed one batter later with a one-out double to the wall in right for the RBI.

Florida answered with a huge fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead. Preston Tucker homered to right on the first pitch of the inning, tying the game. Mike Zunino and Brian Johnson hit consecutive doubles to put two runners in scoring position. Reliever Anthony Tzamtzis jammed the next batter to induce a pop out at third, but Casey Turgeon hit an RBI single to left to give the Gators a 2-1 lead. Wilkins entered with runners on the corners and one out. Justin Shafer's sac fly to center made it 3-1, and an RBI single from Vickash Ramjit granted Florida a 4-1 lead.

State responded with a two-out rally in the bottom fourth to cut the lead to 4-3. Ciencin gave the Pack hope by hammering a two-out single through the left side. Fincher followed with a single to center on an 0-2 pitch. Austin hit his second double in as many innings, this one over the center fielder's head, to score both runners.

With one out in the fifth, Diaz knotted the score at 4-4 with a solo shot over the left field bleachers. The home run marked the second of the year for Diaz, and the first given up by Florida reliever Greg Larson this season.

The Pack grabbed a 5-4 lead in the seventh on Canela's RBI single. Bergquist started the rally with a one-out single up the middle. Turner put two on with a bunt single down the first base line. With two outs, Canela split the outfielders in left center to plate the go-ahead run and chase Florida reliever Steven Rodriguez from the game.

The Gators came back with a pair in the eighth to take a 6-5 lead. Johnson hit a one-out homer to right to tie the game. Daniel Pigott followed with a single up the middle. Turgeon singled through the right side to put runners on the corners with one out, and stole second to move two into scoring position. Shafer singled through the left side to score the go-ahead run, but Tarran Senay came up firing from left field to gun the second runner at the plate.

Fincher rose to the occasion with his first career home run in the bottom of the eighth, tying the game 6-6 on a solo shot. With one away, Fincher took the first pitch he saw to deep left, sailing over the reach of the left fielder's glove at the wall.

Josh Tobias helped Florida retake the lead in the ninth with a lead-off double after fouling off countless two strike pitches. Fincher nearly tracked down the fly to center, but the ball squirted free of his glove as he hit the turf on a dive. A sac bunt moved Tobias to third, and Zunino brought him in with a sac fly to right center.

The Wolfpack stayed alive by tying the game 7-7 in the bottom ninth. Turner drew a lead-off walk and stole second. A grounder to short represented the first out, and held him there. Canela ripped an RBI single under the glove of the first baseman into right to bring in the tying run.

Once again, Florida snatched the lead back in response. Pigott homered on a full count, a ball that just barely creeped over the fence in right field. Turgeon followed with a single through the right side and moved to second on a sac bunt. Tobias singled to right with two outs to score the run, but was tagged out in a rundown when the throw home was cut off.

State made a valiant comeback effort in the bottom of the 10th, but fell short of tying the game. Austin walked as the lead off, and Senay was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Grant Clyde bunted the pair over, and nearly beat out the throw to first. Turner hit a sac fly to center to score one, but Senay could not advance on the play. Kish ended the game there, on a called strike three to end the Pack's season.

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