Stanford (33-25), the three seed in the regional, moves on to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament, and will play Oregon State at Corvalis, Ore. NC State's season ended with the defeat. The second-seeded Wolfpack finished 40-23. Stanford won its fourth regional championship in the last six years with the victory.
Stanford set season highs for runs (17) and hits (24) in the onslaught, and the Wolfpack pitching staff gave up the most hits and runs it has allowed all season. Chris Engle (1-1), the fourth of a season-high eight pitchers used the the Pack, took the loss. He was charged with two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings. Austin Yount (4-0) got the win for Stanford after throwing 3 1/3 innings in relief and allowing two runs on one hit. He walked three and struck out two. Erik Davis picked up his fourth save with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
The Cardinal jumped to a 4-0 early lead. Minaker, who was named the tournament's most outstanding player, got the Cardinal going with a two-out double in the top of the first inning. Michael Taylor grounded to third baseman Drew Martin, who booted the ball for an error, putting runners on the corners. Chris Lewis made it 1-0 with a single up the middle.
Brent Milleville led off the top of the second and doubled into the right-field corner. Cord Phelps sacrificed the runner to third base and Jim Rapoport gave Stanford a 2-0 lead with an RBI groundout to second base.
John Hester led off the top of the third, singled and stole second. Minaker belted a triple to straightaway center field to drive in Hester and drive Wolfpack starter Eric Surkamp out of the game. Joey Cutler came in to face Michael Taylor, who doubled to left-center to drive in Minaker and give Stanford a 4-0 lead.
Ramon Corona and Aaron Bates hit two-out singles in the bottom of the third, and Jon Still drove an opposite-field homer into the trees beyond the right-field fence, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Minaker and Taylor led off the top of the fifth with singles, and Chris Lewis singled through the right side of the infield to drive in Minaker and give Stanford a 5-3 lead. Engle came out of the bullpen for the Wolfpack and got Jason Castro to ground into a double play, and ended the inning by getting Phelps to ground into a force play.
NC State tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Camp led off with a double to right-center and went to third on Corona's fly ball to right. Bates singled up the middle to drive in Camp and went to third on Still's double to left-center. Yount came in to pitch for the Cardinal, and Ryan Pond hit a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Bates.
The tie was short-lived. Rapoport led off the top of the sixth with an infield single and Ryan Seawell singled up the middle. With one out, Kyle Rutter came in to pitch and walked Minaker on four pitches to load the bases. Joel Brookens replaced Rutter and Taylor lined a single into the hole between shortstop and third base that Diaz made a diving stop on to prevent more than one run from scoring. Rapoport did score on the play, and the Pack could only get one out on Lewis's grounder to shortstop. Seawell scored on that play to make it 7-5. Brookens struck out Jason Castro to end the inning, but not before uncorking a pair of wild pitches to allow Minaker to score and give the Cardinal an 8-5 lead.
Escue singled up the middle leading off the seventh, went to second on Randy Molina's groundout, and scored on Seawell's two-out single to right. Bates belted a solo homer to left field to cut the lead to 9-6, but Taylor trumped that with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth, putting Stanford on top 11-6.
The Wolfpack got one run back in the bottom of the eighth. With two down, Yount hit Matt Mangini and Camp with pitches and walked Corona to load the bases. Davis came from the bullpen and gave up a line-drive single to right field by Bates. Mangini scored on the play to make it 11-7, but the ball was struck too sharply for anyone else to advance one more base. Still smoked a chopper back through the box that Davis somehow deflected enough for Lewis to grab as he crossed second base for the force out, ending the inning.
Stanford blew the game open in the top of the ninth inning. Branden Knapp hit Molina with a pitch leading off and Mangini's throw on Rapoport's sacrifice bunt was wide of the bag for an error, putting runners on first and second with none out. Travis High came in to pitch for the Wolfpack and Seawell drove a two-run triple into the right-field corner. Hester and Minaker made it 15-7 with RBI doubles. Minaker went to third on a groundout and scored on Lewis's sacrifice fly to right. Castro tripled to left field and scored on pinch-hitter Brendan Domaracki's double down the left-field line making it 17-7 with the final run of the inning.