Valparaiso’s bid for a late-inning comeback against North Carolina State fell short, with the tying runs left on base in the ninth on Tuesday afternoon as the Wolfpack defeated the Crusaders 5-2 in Raleigh, N.C.
Trailing by four entering the ninth, Valpo loaded the bases after two were out. Andrew Quinnette (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) walked to force home Jeff Greco (Mundelein, Ill./Carmel Catholic H.S.) to plate one run, but a flyout to centerfield ended the game with the tying runs stranded on base.
Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games, including the final four of 2007, with a lead-off double in the eighth inning, and, after advancing to third on a balk, scored on a wild pitch for Valpo’s first run of the afternoon.
North Carolina State jumped in front in the second inning with an unearned run scoring on a passed ball. Devon Cartwright led off the fifth with a homer to increase the hosts lead to 2-0.
A three-run seventh, all with two outs gave the Wolfpack a 5-0 lead. Nick Stanley’s two-run single capped the inning, setting the stage for Valpo’s late comeback bid.
Rodeghero was the lone Crusader to register two hits on the afternoon, as Valpo was limited to just six on the day. Russell Wilson went 3-for-4 for North Carolina State (5-2) to lead the Wolfpack’s 13-hit attack.
Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) was solid in his first collegiate start, working four-and-one-third innings and allowing just one unearned run. The freshman suffered the loss (0-1). Kyle Rutter earned the win (1-0) for the Wolfpack, working 1.1 innings of relief.
“We did lots of things well today and Gulbransen pitched well,” Valpo head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We just didn’t get the big hits when we needed them. We seemed a little nervous out there at times.”
Valparaiso (2-5) will head down the road to Durham, N.C. on Wednesday afternoon to battle another Atlantic Coast Conference foe, Duke. First pitch against the Blue Devils is set for 2 p.m. CST with all the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.