NC State opened play in the Raleigh Regional with a 4-1 win over fourth-seeded Binghamton on Friday night. First baseman Tarran Senay opened the scoring with a two-run blast to right center field in the bottom of the first inning, and that was all the Wolfpack needed. All-American shortstop Trea Turner tacked on another run with a shot that easily cleared the left field wall in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Senay and Turner now share the team lead with seven round-trippers apiece, and it marked the first time in 39 games that NCSU had multiple homers in the same game. In the 39 games since the Pack's last multi-homer effort, a 12-6 win over Wake Forest on March 15, the team knocked just nine balls over the outfield wall.
"It's good to get off to a good start in this regional," head coach Elliott Avent said. "Getting a win in the first game is always tough. I thought Binghamton played very, very well. It's pretty obvious why they're here. Their starting pitcher was tough. I thought when Senay hit that home run in the first inning — it got us off to a good start — and then Trea's home run to keep us off a one-run game was equally huge."
Senay finished the night tied for the team lead with two hits, while the duo helped the Pack's first through fourth hitters combine to go 7-of-16 with three RBI and three runs scored.
The squad added the final run of the game with a Logan Ratledge RBI single in the bottom of the seventh that scored Brett Williams.
Wolfpack starter Ethan Ogburn last just 3.2 innings and allowed an earned run before he gave way to the bullpen, which has been one of State's strengths all year. Pack relievers threw over five innings of shutout ball, and allowed just four base runners.
Andrew Woeck threw one full inning in relief, before being replaced by senior Josh Easley, who picked up the win to improve his record to 6-2 on the year. It is his third win in the Pack's last six games, and the NCSU bullpen has earned the victory in 28 of the team's 45 games this season, while the relievers' combined ERA is 2.54.
Although there was timely hitting - the Pack scored three of their four runs with two outs - and some great pitching for NC State, one of the game's biggest plays came in the fourth inning, when Binghamton catcher Nick Pancerella knocked a fly ball down the right field line, and Jake Fincher had to fully extend to make a diving catch. The grab was named the best on Sportscenter's Top 10 plays on Friday night, but it also prevented two runs from crossing the plate when the Pack held a one-run lead.
"The only thing I can say is wow," Avent remarked after the game. "We've made great plays all season; it was an unbelievable play by a great player. Jake Fincher is a guy that makes plays. He's a playmakers. Big-time players make big-time plays in situations when it matters the most.
"He's just that guy that loves to be in the moment and he's that guy that can channel his focus and adrenaline into positive things. I can't believe he made that play."
Around the bases
- Sophomore right fielder Jake Fincher singled to right center in his first at-bat; he has reached base in 57 of the team's 59 games this season.
- Dating back to last year, Senay recorded four straight hits in Regional at bats. In his last two trips to the plate last season and his first two this year, he recorded hits. During that span, Senay had two homers, a double and a single with seven RBI.
- Avent confirmed that ace pitcher Carlos Rodon would take the mound for NC State tomorrow night against William and Mary.