NC State scores 2 in 9th to top Rice 4-3
Jake Fincher's two-out single in the bottom of the ninth capped a rally and lifted N.C. State to a 4-3 victory over Rice on Saturday in Game 1 of the Raleigh Super Regional.
Rice (44-19) had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth, but N.C. State (48-14) tied it when Brett Williams slid under a tag after a bunt by Logan Ratledge. Williams singled to start the inning, stole second, and went to third on an error by pitcher Zech Lemond.
Two batters later, Fincher's single to left scored Jake Armstrong with the winning run.
Christian Stringer had doubled in the go-ahead run for Rice, pulling a ball down the left-field line to score pinch-runner John Williamson. Hunter Kopycinski had three hits, including the one that put Williamson on base.
Austin Kubitza of Rice and N.C. State's Carlos Rodon were locked in a duel for the first seven innings, with each starter allowing two runs before leaving the game. Rodon was removed in the ninth with runners on first and second, setting up Stringer's go-ahead RBI.
Rodon's streak of 26 2-3 innings without giving up an earned run was snapped in the fourth when an RBI single by Skyler Ewing cut the Wolfpack's lead to 2-1. Stringer tied it in the fifth with a solo home run to right field.
The Wolfpack scored two runs in the first when Trea Turner, who led off with a double, scored on a groundout. Fincher came home on a wild pitch.
Kubitza gave up five hits and struck out eight before leaving the game in the eighth with runners on first and second. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, Lemond retired the next two batters to escape the jam.
Rice had 11 hits against Rodon, the most the Wolfpack ace has allowed this season. Rodon struck out nine in 8 1-3 innings, the fifth straight start in which he worked at least eight.