Wolfpack Baseball found themselves in yet another extra-inning affair with ACC Championship implications on Friday night. Two years ago State fell 2-1 to eventual champion Carolina in an 18 inning marathon, falling short of the Sunday Championship game. But on Friday night the Pack found answers every time they needed one, with the loudest STATEment coming off the bat of Preston Palmeiro in walk-off fashion, and the Pack outlasting the Miami Hurricanes in 12 innings, 5-4.
NC State knocks off Miami in 12, will play for ACC baseball title (NewsObserver.com)
N.C. State, which has won 12 of its last 14 games, clung to its last hopes after Miami reliever Bryan Garcia struck out Brock Deatherage to open the ninth inning. But Garcia walked pinch-hitter Shane Shepard. Jake Armstrong came on to run for Shepard and advanced to third on a single by senior Logan Ratledge. Armstrong scored on a fielder’s choice when Andrew Knizner bounced to short to tie the game at 4.
Palmeiro doubled to lead off the 12th inning, hitting the left field wall. Carl Chester’s throwing error, all the way into the foul side of first base, allowed Palmeiro to score and put the Wolfpack into the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
#Pack9 Walks Off Into ACC Championship Game (GoPack.com)
Palmeiro teed off on the second pitch for a high drive that glanced about halfway up the left field wall and was retrieved by the Hurricanes’ Carl Chester, who attempted to nail Palmeiro at second base. The throw was well off the mark, however, and Palmeiro received the green light as he never slowed up and rounded third.
Miami first baseman Christopher Barr ran the ball down and made a strong throw to the plate, but catcher Zack Collins could not come up with the ball cleanly as he attempted to make a sweeping tag on the sliding Palmeiro.
Tommy DeJuneas (3-3), the fifth NC State pitcher of the night, earned the win after a brilliant three innings of which he struck out six Hurricane batters and allowed just one hit. The Wolfpack got a similar effort in the middle innings by reliever Joe Olczak, who did not allow a hit while walking one and striking out a career-high tying six batters in 3.1 innings.
Papa Palmeiro was as stunned/happy as the rest of the Wolfpack faithful in attendance in Durham, btw…
— NC State Baseball (@NCStateBaseball) May 23, 2015
Successful Rally Cap of the night…
And Preston needed pads when he was greeted by his teammies…
— Jacob Bowes (@JBowes_3) May 23, 2015
The Pack now faces UVa Saturday night at 7pm in what has become a de facto exhibition game with their ticket to Sunday already punched. Regardless of Saturday’s results vs UVa, the Pack WILL move on to Sunday, where they will face the winner of Saturday’s matinee (11am) between FSU and Louisville for the 2015 ACC Baseball Championship.
Alert fans will recall that the Pack lost home series to both FSU and Louisville during the regular season, so a win over either would provide a measure of vengeance.
The Pack9’s NCAAT stock got a nice bump tonight as well. Bumping off Miami, which was #1 in the nation in RPI rankings before tonight’s game, has bumped the Pack all the way up to #26, making a strong case for a #2 NCAAT seed. Beating UVa (#21) and/or FSU(#10)/’Ville(#12) would help solidify that case even more.
So, crank up the volume so all your neighbors can hear, and let this rip…