NC State Outlasts North Carolina, 6-5

RALEIGH, N.C. - Matt Devine's one-out single to left field drove in pinch-runner Ryan Johnson with the game-winning run Friday night as NC State defeated North Carolina 6-5 in front of a sellout crowd of 2,517 at Doak Field. The game was the first of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series between the two old rivals.

The win was the eighth victory in the last 10 games for NC State, which improved to 31-12 overall, 12-10 in the ACC. The Tar Heels fell to 35-9-1 overall and 14-5-1 in the conference. Junior righthander Joey Devine (4-2) got the win after pitching 1 1/3 innings, surrenduring two runs, neither of which were earned. He walked one and struck out four. North Carolina reliever Jonathan Hovis (5-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up two earned runs on five hits and walking five in 2 1/3 innings. Three of Hovis's five walks were intentional.

As for the starters, righthander Andrew Brackman had the longest outing of his college career, pitching seven innings. He was charged with three runs, all earned. He walked two and struck out a career-best 12. The 12 punchouts marked the most by an NC State pitcher all season, and the most since Vern Sterry fanned 14 against Princeton on March 16, 2003. Wolfpack reliever Jason Duncan also worked 2/3 of an inning without allowing a run. He walked one and struck out two while running his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 19 1/3. Brackman, Duncan and Devine combined to strike out 18. Tar Heels starter Andrew Miller allowed four runs, three earned on six hits in six innings of play. He walked two and struck out five.

North Carolina struck first in the top of the second inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Chase Younts connected on a single to right-center field, scoring Chad Flack from third. UNC's Jay Cox doubled to left leading off the top of the fourth. Justin Webb grounded out to shortstop to move Cox over to third, and Cox scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Younts to give the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead.

The Wolfpack got on the board in the bottom half of the fourth when Mike Jensen hit a one-out bomb over the wall in right field to cut the deficit to one.

Jake Muyco led off the bottom of the fifth and struck out, but was safe on a passed ball. Matt Devine sacrificed him to second, and Jonathan Diaz got him to third with a grounder to second base. Matt Camp doubled down the left-field line with two outs to cash in the run, tying the game at 2-2.

But the tie didn't last long. Cox grounded out to second base in the UNC half of the sixth, scoring Mike Daniel from third in the process. Daniel reached third on a bunt-single to the first baseman, a balk and wild pitch by Brackman before Cox could bring him home.

With two on and one out in the bottom of the sixth, Muyco singled up the middle to bring in Jensen, who singled up the middle leading off the inning.

The Wolfpack took its first lead in the bottom of the seventh. Camp led off and was hit by a pitch. That was all for Miller, who gave way to Hovis. Corona greeted Hovis with a single to ledt to put runners on first and third. Aaron Bates bunted the runners into scoring position, and pinch-hitter Aaron Cone was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring Ryan Pond to the plate. Pond foiled the strategy with a two-run double to right-center, giving the Wolfpack a 5-3 lead.

North Carolina tied the game in the top of the ninth off of Joey Devine, who blew his second save opportunity in as many games. Justin Webb led off and struck out, but Chase Younts reached on an error, and Greg Mangum hit an infield single. Josh Horton then capped a nine-pitch at-bat with a double down the line, right over the first--base bag and into the shallow right field after the ball kicked off the bullpen wall. Younts and Mangum scored to knot the score at 5-5.

The winning rally began when Lee Mezistrano led off the bottom of the ninth and drew a pinch-hit walk. Johnson pinch-ran and moved to second on Brian Aragon's sacrifice bunt. Devine followed by driving a 1-2 pitch through the left side of the infield for the game-winning hit.

The two teams will continue the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and on through Yahoo's subscription service. Live in-game stats will be available on through the Gametracker.

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