Mazzoni Fans 12; NC State Stays Alive with 5-2 Win
June 4, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Third-seeded North Carolina State remained alive in the 2011 NCAA Columbia Regional as righthander Cory Mazzoni struck out 12 in a 5-2 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday afternoon at Carolina Stadium.
The Wolfpack improved to 35-26 on the season and will advance to play the loser of tonight's South Carolina-Stetson contest. Georgia Southern's season comes to a close with a 36-26 record as the Eagles scored just three runs over two games in the Columbia Regional.
Mazzoni (6-6) lived up to his billing as the Wolfpack ace, striking out 12 batters in 8.0 innings of work to earn the victory. It was the seventh time this year he eclipsed the 10-strikeout mark, which sets an NC State school record. He only allowed two runs, both earned, on four hits while walking just one. Chris Overmann, after being charged for the loss in Stetson's walk-off win on Friday, came back on Saturday to record his seventh save of the year, striking out two of the four batters he faced in a scoreless ninth.
Chris Beck (9-5) was charged with the loss after allowing two earned runs in 5-plus innings of work, despite giving up just two hits and striking out three. Matt Murray pitched three solid innings in relief, allowing just one run on three hits, but Jarret Leverett was touched up for a pair of runs in the ninth on three NC State hits as the Wolfpack put the game out of reach.
NC State spread their eight hits around as seven different players registered a hit today. Tarran Senay led the way with a 2-for-4 effort. For Georgia Southern, slugger Victor Roache had a 2-for-4 afternoon with an RBI; that gives him 84 runs driven in for the season.
The Eagles struck first with their biggest weapon coming through in the first inning. After Shawn Payne led off the game being hit by a pitch, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Eric Phillips, Roache hit a rope off the top of the wall in left-center for an RBI double to score Payne and give GSU a 1-0 lead.
Neither team was able to get much going offensively for the next three innings, but one swing from NC State's Danny Canela tied things up in the fourth. He laced a Beck offering over the right-field wall for the Wolfpack's first hit and tied the game at 1-1. It was Canela's second homer of the regional and fifth of the year.
NC State was able to chase Beck from the game in the sixth, and the Wolfpack capitalized on the GSU bullpen early. Brett Williams led off the inning with a walk to end Beck's day, and after he stole second, Pratt Maynard delivered an RBI single to give NC State its first lead at 2-1. The Wolfpack would score their third run on a strange play - with Harold Riggins at first and Maynard on second, Senay singled through the right side to ostensibly load the bases. But Riggins continued toward third, thinking Maynard would try to score, when the latter had, in fact, held at third. Riggins would be tagged out after a brief rundown between second and third, but the play would allow Maynard to score from third and increase the NC State lead to 3-1.
Georgia Southern would continue to battle, scratching out another run in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to 3-2. Phillips led off with a single and stole second to give the Eagles just their third runner in scoring position of the day. After Roache struck out and Cochrane flied out to deep right to advance the runner to third, Phillips took advantage of Mazzoni's first wild pitch of the day to score the run and cut the NC State lead in half.
But the Wolfpack put the game out of reach in the ninth, all with two out. With Andrew Ciencin at first, Cameron Conner roped an RBI double to the wall in left-center to bring Ciencin all the way around to make it a 4-2 game. Just three pitches later, Matt Bergquist singled through the middle to score Conner and give NC State its final run. Overmann would then hold Georgia Southern to one hit in the ninth to preserve the victory.
Game four of the Columbia Regional gets underway at 7 p.m. ET as South Carolina will face Stetson in a winner's bracket contest. Live video and live stats will be available through GamecocksOnline.com.