Appalachian State handed Carlos Rodon his first loss as a collegian in N. C. State's season-opening 6-3 setback. Apparently it made him angry. La Salle did not like him when he was angry. The sophomore lefty improved to 10-1 in his Wolfpack career, setting a career high with 14 strikeouts and combining with Karl Keglovits to no hit the Privateers Saturday at Doak Field.
Despite the dominating performance, it appeared for a while that Rodon would leave with a no decision as the Pack (3-1) failed to scratch until putting up a five-spot in the bottom of the sixth. Those five runs were all they would get but more than Rodon and Keglovits would need. Big ‘Los issued one free pass and saw one batter reach on an error in seven innings, and those two Explorer base runners were all that separated the Pack from perfection. Rodon fanned the last six men he faced before yielding to the Relatively Large Unit (Kegs is 6-foot-6), who efficiently recorded the last six outs of the no-no on just 13 pitches. It was an impressive debut for the freshman righty, who nailed down the Pack's first no hitter since Gib Hobson handcuffed Maryland in 2005.
Tarran Senay broke the 0-0 tie with a two-run home run in the sixth, scoring Jake Fincher, who had led off with a single and finished the game 2-for-5. Senay's blast was the Pack's first home run of the season. Matt Bergquist and Sam Morgan later added RBI singles in the sixth, and Trea Turner scampered home on a wild pitch. All five runs were charged to Mike McLeod, who managed to get just one out. (That 135.00 ERA is something, Mike). Ryan Donohue was much better for the Explorers (1-2), stranding seven Pack base runners over five shutout frames. The Pack left 14 on for the game.
Donahue was one of the few bright spots last year for a punchless La Salle squad that scored just 4.2 runs per game and went 20-33. He posted a solid 2.91 ERA and fanned nearly a batter an inning (62 Ks in 65 IP).
After registering a pair of hits in each of his first three games, Turner managed just an infield single Saturday and was intentionally walked with runners on second and third and two out in the seventh. Walking Turner in big spots could become a theme this season; the 160-pound Morgan, who has been batting behind Turner, is a lot less imposing in the on-deck circle. Morgan is batting .313 but has yet to record an extra base hit. Despite only getting one hit today, Turner is hitting .500 on the young season; Fincher is hitting .438; freshman Will Nance was 2-for-5 today and is batting an even .400 for the season as well.
The Pack have outscored their opponents 24-3 during a current three-game winning streak that includes a pair of combined shutouts. After today's no hitter, Pack opponents have registered a paltry .115 batting average. The staff also has an impressive 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Baseball is religion, and the Pack host Wagner Sunday at 11 a.m. for a twin bill.