Rodon Leads Pack Past Heels, 7-3

RALEIGH, N.C. -- No. 6 N.C. State evened its series with the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels with gritty,7-3, win at Doak Field on Saturday night.

The Pack improved to 34-11 overall and 15-8 in the ACC. The Heels fell to 41-4 on the season, 19-3 in conference play.

With the win, the Wolfpack have defeated a top-ranked opponent in three straight seasons (UVa in 2011, FSU in 2012, and UNC in 2013).

Sophomore lefthander Carlos Rodon was the winning pitcher, improving 5-2 on the campaign. Rodon went 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with 10 strike outs and four walks.

"We played well tonight," N.C. State head coach Elliott Avent said. "(Rodon) kept a really good hitting team at bay."

"As I was walking out there (to remove Rodon), I heard the most thunderous ovation," Avent added. "I was really proud of our knowledgeable fans."

Rodon did not have his best stuff, but he used toughness to escape several jams. The Holly Springs-native struck out a Tar Heel batter for the third out of the inning four times on the evening.

"You just try to reach back for some more," Rodon said. "I was just trying to throw strikes to get us out of the inning."

Sophomore Travis Orwig pitched the final 1.2 innings for his first save of the season.

With the win, N.C. State handed North Carolina starter Benton Moss his first defeat of the season. Moss fell to 7-1 overall, going 4.1 innings on the night. The sophomore yielded six runs (five earned) on eight hits. Moss struck out two, walked three and hit one batter.

The Tar Heels had a golden chance to get on the board in the fourth inning. Trailing by only one run, freshman second baseman Mike Zolk singled to centerfield with two Tar Heels on base and two outs. On the play, senior outfielder Brett Williams gunned down Colin Moran at the plate to end the inning.

"It is awesome," Williams said. "That play was so big. I think it came at a point in the game when the momentum changed."

"I have seen a lot of good plays at N.C. State," Avent said. "I don't know if that is the best play but it would (at least) tie the best play."

N.C. State will seek to win the series Sunday at 7 P.M. at Doak Field. Starting on the mound for the Pack in the rubber match will be freshman lefty Brad Stone (2-1, 6.23 ERA) while toeing the rubber for the Tar Heels will left-handed junior Hobbs Johnson (2-0, 2.45 ERA).

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