(Raleigh, NC) – The Sacred Heart Baseball team fell to the NC State Wolfpack 16-5 at the Raleigh Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament Friday night at Doak Field.
Things started well for the Pioneers, when Hunter Phillips (Monroe, CT) gave SHU a 2-0 lead with a two-out two-run double to the right-field warning track in the first inning. However, the hosts of the regional site quickly jumped on top the next half inning on a towering three run homerun to left by Ryan Mathews and a sacrifice fly to deep left by Brett Austin.
NC State pushed two more across in the third on a bunt RBI single by Jake Fincher and another sacrifice fly by Austin. The Wolfpack ran away with the game in a sloppy fourth for the Pioneers. Mathews made good on a second chance after a dropped foul pop by singling home a run on the next pitch, which was followed by a run-scoring passed ball and run-scoring wild pitch to open up a 9-2 NC State lead.
Phillips got one back for the Pioneers with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but the Wolfpack countered the next half-inning with seven runs. Austin brought home one with an RBI single and Brett Bergquist drove in two on a single as part of the big rally.
The Pioneers tacked on two in a strange ninth in which the teams were pulled off the field under dry skies for about 20 minutes with lightening reported in the area, only to return to the field just as heavy rains came down. Through the stormy weather, Kenny Byram (Ponte Verde, FL) knocked in a run with an RBI single and Keaton Flint (Charlton, NY) brought home another with an RBI double, while only a few of the 2495 originally in attendance watched from the stands.
Flint and Dave Boisture (Highland Mills, NY) both finished with two hits. John Hermanson (Milford, CT) allowed one unearned run in 1.2 innings of relief, while Chris Dionisio (Smithtown, NY) pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
Sacred Heart will take on UNC-Wilmington in the loser's bracket of the double-elimination regional at 2:00 pm Saturday afternoon, with Nick Leiningen (Millwood, NY) on the mound.