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Senay, Wilkins Lead Pack to Doubleheader Sweep of BC; Rodon Struggles

A win is a win. And two wins is two wins.

Wilkins has given up just two runs in 12 innings as a starter.
Wilkins has given up just two runs in 12 innings as a starter.

Tarran Senay continued his season-long resurgence as N. C. State came from behind twice to sweep a doubleheader against Boston College in Chestnut Hill. Senay, who has hit in 12 straight games, went 4-for-7 in the twin bill with three RBI, two runs scored, a double, a stolen base, and a walk.

The senior first baseman batted just .222 last season but raised his average to .336 with his four-hit effort over the first two games of the series. Senay leads the Wolfpack (27-10, 10-7) with an impressive 36 RBI in 36 games played, and he is second on the squad with four home runs and a .514 slugging percentage.

Senay's efforts helped the Pack erase a 5-0 deficit to win game one 6-5; the Eagles (6-28, 0-16) held a brief 1-0 advantage in game two before eventually falling 6-2.

The Pack pen was also instrumental in both wins. After Carlos Rodon once again soiled the sheets, getting torched for five earned runs in just two innings in game one, D. J. Thomas, Josh Easley, and Grant Sasser combined to hurl seven shutout innings. Thomas improved to 2-0 as the Pack rallied to take the lead while he was on the hill with four runs in the top of the fourth and two more in the sixth. The first four men reached in the fourth-inning rally for the Pack, starting with a single from Trea Turner. After Turner stole second base, Jake Fincher walked. Brett Austin and Senay followed with back-to-back RBI singles. Sam Morgan added an RBI and a pair of BC errors also contributed to the Pack pulling to within one.

In the sixth, Sennay started the go-ahead rally with a leadoff single and the Eagles added two more fielding miscues to cough up the lead.

Sasser worked three hitless innings to earn his fourth save and lower his ERA to a scant 0.34 for the season.

In game two, converted reliever Ryan Wilkins worked a career high seven innings, surrendering just two runs en route to his team-leading fifth win of the season. Travis Orwig went an inning and two thirds of shutout ball but did run into trouble in the ninth, allowing a pair of two-out singles. Chris Overman came on to record the final out by strikeout for his team-high fifth save. The veteran Overman has yet to allow an earned run this season in 12 appearances spanning 14.1 innings. Overman's 18 career saves are the third most in program history behind Joey Devine (36) and Brian Bark (20).

After BC took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, the Pack loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third. Fincher delivered an RBI single, Austin followed with a two-RBI hit, and Senay doubled home two more to cap the scoring in the five-run frame.

But there was a good bit of bad news for the Pack on the weekend, starting with Rodon's Logan Jernigan-like implosion. He walked four batters and hit another in just two innings and has now yielded 36 base runners by walk or hit batter in 51.1 innings on the season. His strikeout rate would seem to suggest that he is not suffering from any injury issues; he is fanning an ACC-high 14.9 batters per nine innings. Rodon has simply lost his command, usually out of the zone, but sometimes in it as well (he has served up six gopher balls). His season ERA stands at 4.91. Hopefully he finds the cure for Steve Blass Disease, and soon, as the Pack's postseason hopes largely ride on his broad shoulders. With each outing, he looks more and more like the David Amerson of the baseball team, but at least he has the rest of this season and next year to try to redeem his draft stock. Get it together, man.

The other bad news for the Pack comes from down south, where Florida State has already swept its weekend series with Duke. Clemson is up 2-0 in its series against Wake Forest, so the Pack will not make up much if any ground on the teams above them in the Atlantic Division even if they do complete the sweep Sunday. The Pack are 2.5 games behind the Noles and a game behind the Tigers.

A long and effective outing from Ethan Ogburn would be ideal in the series finale, as the bullpen will be somewhat depleted. Thomas, Orwig, and Sasser's usage means Elliot Avent won't have many options from the portside in the pen. Overman only threw four pitches and Easley just needed six to get two outs, so both of them should be able to go. Andrew Woeck, who is second on the team with 17 appearances, should also be fresh, as he has yet to make an appearance on the weekend. Still, with Wilkins moving to the rotation, there is one less reliable arm to count on in the late innings.

Fincher will try to reach base safely for the 37th time in 38 games in the series finale, and Turner will look to equal (and perhaps surpass) Tom Sergio's career stolen base mark. Turner is just one steal shy of the record. As a team, the Pack will be looking for their 10th consecutive win. First pitch is slated for noon.