Carlos Rodon struck out eight of the first nine men he faced en route to a career high 16 strikeouts against Florida Atlantic, but N. C. State needed extra innings to dispatch the pesky Owls in a 2-1 final that moved the Pack to 2-0 in the Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach tournament. The win was the ninth in a row for N. C. State (9-1).
Trea Turner, who had a pair of doubles in a 2-for-5 day at the plate, led off the bottom of the 10th with a two-bagger and went all the way to third on an error. After the Owls (5-5) intentionally walked the bases loaded, Turner scored the game winner when second baseman Sean Murrell threw wildly to home on Terran Senay's ground ball against the drawn in infield.
Rodon, who combined with Karl Keglovits to no hit La Salle in his last outing, did not allow a hit until a one-out single in the sixth. Nathan Pittman's single, which plated the Owls' lone run, snapped a string of 47 consecutive batters faced for Rodon without allowing a hit. The sophomore lefty fanned 29 batters in that 47-batter stretch and now has 38 total Ks in 20 innings this season.
The Pack pen continued its stretch of nearly flawless work with three shutout innings behind Rodon. Grant Sasser went an inning and a third, and Ryan Wilkins picked up the win after an inning and two thirds of shutout relief. Neither Sasser nor Wilkins allowed a hit, and, after surrendering just two hits against the Owls, Wolfpack opponents have been held to a .138 batting average this season. The bullpen has not allowed an earned run in seven straight games, a span of 33 innings (and they only allowed one unearned run in that stretch).
The bullpen went eight and two thirds innings in the tournament opener, a 5-3 come-from-behind win over UMBC. After starter Josh Easley needed 29 pitches to get one out (while giving up a couple of walks, hits, and runs), John Olczak, D. J. Thomas, and Chris Overman shut down UMBC while their teammates climbed out of the hole. Thomas got the win and Overman picked up his first save of the season.
Turner had a triple and pair of runs scored against UMBC. Brett Williams drove in the go-ahead run and also stole a base. While the Pack bats have sputtered in the tournament, there is some good news offensively as Brett Austin seems to be emerging from his season-long slump. Austin is 3-for-6 with a pair of walks and a stolen base so far in the weekend event.
The Pack look for their 10th straight win in the finale of the tournament Sunday at 5 p.m. when they square off against the host Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.