Wolfpack Put Out Flames
Lincoln --- Center fielder Matt Camp capped a three-run ninth inning with a two-RBI single to put NC State ahead 9-7 and three-time All-ACC reliever Joey Devine made it hold up, as the Wolfpack staved off elimination against a gritty UIC ballclub to advance to play Sunday at the Lincoln Regional at Hawks Field.
NC State, which is competing in its third consecutive NCAA Tournament and the 19th in program history, improved to 41-18 on the year and will face the loser of tonight's Nebraska-Creighton matchup on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The Flames fell one win short of tying the school record, as UIC ended its season with a 38-21-1 mark as the first team eliminated from the regional.
After a pair of walks and a single loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, Jonathan Diaz laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate pinch runner Chris Engle and tie the score at 7-all. Camp then singled to left to score Matt Devine and Jake Muyco for the two-run cushion and NC State's first lead of the game.
The two-run gap is all Joey Devine needed as the star closer picked up his fifth win of the year by going 3.1 innings without allowing a hit. Devine walked two and struck out four.
Devine's heorics came after NC State starter Andrew Brackman and reliever Phillip Davidson struggled. The UIC offense collected 11 hits and seven runs over the first 5.2 innings before Devine came out of the bullpen.
Brackman opened the game looking strong, as he struck out the side in the bottom of the first inning. But UIC continued its scrappy play from the first day of the regional and pounded out three hits -- and two runs -- in the second.
Designated hitter Ted Rosinski, who just missed hitting for the cycle in the Flames' opening-round game Friday against Nebraska, got UIC started with a single to lead off the inning. Rosinski moved to second when catcher Bryan Nolte was hit by a pitch, and then scored on Mike Bruszer's single. The Flames added another run when Nolte came home on Shane Crowder's sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
The Wolfpack cut the lead in half in the third when Ramon Corona blasted a two-out solo home run to left field. The round tripper was his fourth of the season.
UIC added a two-out run of its own in the third and two more in the fourth to stake starter Zach Peterson to a 5-1 lead.
Mark Hallberg lined a single to left with one out and moved over on a ground out before coming home on Rosinski's RBI single. In the fourth, Brackman got two quick outs before the Flames rallied, starting with Jeff Gremley's single and stolen base. Gremley came home on Crowder's single to the gap in left center field. Larry Gempp Jr. then doubled off the fence to bring home Crowder for a four-run cushion.
The Wolfpack cut the lead to 5-3 by plating two runs in the fifth. Matt Devine opened the frame with a single and Diaz followed with another base hit to put two on. Camp then grounded into a 5-4 double play as Peterson looked to get out of the jam, but Corona, Aaron Bates, Ryan Pond and Brian Aragon connected on four consecutive singles to drive in a pair of runs.
UIC added single runs in the fifth and sixth while NC State plated another run in the seventh to pull within two, 7-5, before the Wolfpack rallied for a run in the eighth and the game-winning runs in the ninth. NC State scored in each of the final five innings -- a total of eight runs -- to earn the win.
Rosinski finished the game going 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI for the Flames while Crowder, who also just missed hitting for the cycle Friday, was 1 for 3 with two RBIs and a run. The Flames pounded out 11 hits on the day, including roughing up Brackman for seven hits and five runs -- four earned.
NC State's offense was just a little more potent as the Wolfpack pounded out 18 hits -- its most since recording 21 in the season opener against Delaware State. NC State improved to 33-0 this season when out-hitting its opponent.