RALEIGH, N.C. – Second baseman Logan Ratledge broke a 7-7 tie with a one-out RBI-double in the eighth and No. 19 N.C. State held on to beat Duke 8-7 on Sunday afternoon at Doak Field.
With the scored tied at 7-7 entering the bottom of the eighth, N.C. State got a leadoff single from right fielder Brett Austin. Austin would then steal second to get into scoring position. Two batters later, Ratledge delivered the eventual game-winning double to left field.
Duke jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. Right fielder Grant McCabe drew a leadoff walk and left fielder Andrew Istler singled up the middle to start the inning. After both runners moved up a base on a passed ball, McCabe would score on a wild pitch. Catcher Mike Rosenfeld followed with an RBI-single to right to plate Istler.
N.C. State (30-12, 16-8 ACC) answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first, scoring on sacrifice flies from catcher Danny Canela and first baseman Andrew Ciencin to tie the game at 2-2.
Canela gave the Wolfpack a 3-2 lead with a solo homer to left center in the third.
Center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms responded with a solo home run of his own in the fourth, blasting an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left to tie the game at 3-3. It was the fifth homer of the season for Piwnica-Worms and the 16th of his career.
Istler doubled off the top of the wall in left with one out in the fifth, coming just a few inches short of hitting his first career home run. Third baseman Jordan Betts then moved Istler to third with a groundball to the right side. Rosenfeld followed with an RBI-single up the middle, giving the Blue Devils a 4-3 lead.
Designated hitter Jeff Kremer and shortstop Angelo La Bruna both singled to begin the top of the sixth. First baseman Ryan Munger would then move both runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Istler sent a two-run triple down the right field line. Betts followed with an RBI-double down the left field line, giving Duke a 7-3 lead.
The Wolfpack scored four times in the bottom half of the sixth to tie the game at 7-7. The four-run inning started with Canela hitting his second long ball of the day.
Vance Williams (2-2) earned the win after tossing 4.1 innings out of the State bullpen.
Istler finished 3-for-5 with a triple, a double, two RBI and three runs scored. Istler’s three hits marked a new career high for the freshman outfielder. Rosenfeld had two hits and two RBI, while Piwnica-Worms had a solo home run. Kremer and La Bruna both went 2-for-4 with a run, Betts had an RBI-double and McCabe scored once for Duke (16-29, 7-17 ACC).
Drew Van Orden (0-4) took the loss after allowing Ratledge’s RBI-double in the eighth.
Duke will have this week off for final exams. The Blue Devils return to the field next Sunday with a game at Longwood at 2 p.m.
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