Holy crap I don't even know how to react to all of this. Rice pulled ahead 3-2 in the top of the ninth and with its closer already in the game, not to mention the general tenor of the contest, it felt like that would be the difference.
NC State has taken advantage of its good speed throughout the season, and that proved especially crucial here. Brett Williams walked to start the ninth inning, and he took second on the very next pitch--it was a failed hit-and-run, but the Rice catcher made a poor throw. Bryan Adametz struck out looking for the first out, though Williams was able to move to third on a botched pickoff attempt during Jake Armstrong's at bat. Armstrong was hit by a pitch, putting runners at the corners with one down.
Logan Ratledge then laid down a decent bunt to score Williams--without his speed, Rice may have gotten the guy at the plate. Instead, Williams was safe, and so was Ratledge, and that's what ultimately doomed Rice. Trea Turner followed by grounding out but moved Armstrong to third and Ratledge to second, which set up Jake Fincher's game-winning line shot to left.
Just as Armstrong crossed the plate with winning run vine.co/v/bLjevlghxI0— Ryan Tice (@RyanTice) June 8, 2013