NC State Advances To Championship Game
May 27, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.(AP) - Caleb Mangum and Ramon Corona each stroked four hits to pace a 16-hit NC State attack and lead the Wolfpack to an 8-7 win over Florida State and gain a spot in Sunday's championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Tournament taking place at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
NC State earned its third trip to the tournament finals in the past six years and will meet the winner of Saturday's late game between Clemson and Georgia Teach. The No. 7-seeded Wolfpack will seek its second league title (1992) since 1975 and will attempt to become the first league member with a seed higher than five to win the tournament.
The Wolfpack (38-20) showed why they ranked as the league's top hitting club this year as they pounded out 16 hits and scored in five of the first seven innings. Mangum and Corona spearheaded the offensive attack, combining for half of the team's hits, scoring three times and driving in three runs. The only out that they made in 10 total at-bats was Mangum's fly out in the second inning.
NC State turned a 5-3 deficit into a one-run advantage in the fifth inning as the first four batters hit safely. Jonathan Diaz opened the inning with a single, Matt Camp brought him home with a triple and Corona and Aaron Bates followed with singles for another run. The final run of the inning came in on a double play grounder.
Florida State (42-19) tied it at 6-6 in its half of the inning on a hit, a walk and a run-scoring single from Danny Diaz.
NC State then took the lead for good, scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to hold an 8-6 lead in the seventh inning. The score remained that way until the ninth inning when Florida State used a walk, ground out and single from Shane Robinson to shave the margin to 8-7.
FSU's bid to reach its second final in the last three years, ended a batter later when, with Robinson running on the play, Jack Rye sent a liner towards left field. Wolfpack freshman third baseman Drew Martin - inserted into the game as a defensive replacement that inning -- made a lunging dive to snare Rye's bid for a hit and end the game.
Matt Payne (2-0) allowed one run on five hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief to gain the win while Travis Burge (1-1), who allowed one run in
1/3 of an inning, took the loss.