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Wofford ends postseason run with loss to N.C. State

Monday, June 04, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Southern Conference champion Wofford baseball team ended its postseason run with a 10-6 loss to North Carolina State Sunday afternoon in the elimination round of the Columbia regional at Sarge Frye Field.

N.C. State outfielder Jeremy Synan drove in three runs and scored twice while going 2-for-3 with a home run. Dallas Poulk and Mike Roskopf added two RBIs apiece while Clayton Schunick (6-3) picked up the win for the Wolfpack. Schunick held Wofford to just one run on three hits over the first five innings before Wofford tagged the right hander for four runs in the sixth inning.

Terrier shortstop Michael Gilmartin knocked a home run and scored twice while going 2-for-4 with a double. Designated hitter/infielder Shane Kirkley was a home run shy of the cycle and set a school record with his 41st career double. Utility player John Brandt also added two RBIs with a home run while Sterling Dye and Brandon Waring each added an RBI.

Wofford matched N.C. State with 13 hits, but could not figure out reliever Joey Cutler, who held the Terriers to two hits over the final 2 2/3 innings to pick up the save.

N.C. State claimed a 1-0 lead in the third inning before Wofford tied it at 1-1 in the same frame. The Wolfpack reclaimed the lead with two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth before rallying for five runs in the top of the sixth. Wofford cut the deficit to 9-5 with four runs in the bottom of the sixth but could only match N.C. State with one more run over the final three innings.

Wofford starter Austin Redwine cruised through the first two inning, facing six batters while allowing only one hit. The Wolfpack finally got on the board in the third, however, after a wild pitch allowed outfielder Synan to score from third. Synan legged out an infield single to begin the inning and advanced to second after Drew Martin was hit by a pitch. Leadoff hitter Dallas Poulk then moved the runners into scoring position with a groundout to the pitcher before Redwine misfired to the plate to allow Synan to score for an early 1-0 Wolfpack lead.

Gilmartin knotted the game at 1-1 with a solo homer in the bottom of the third. The blast to straight away center field was the 14th of the season for Gilmartin, who set a school record this season for the most home runs by a freshman. The round tripper also gave the Terrier leadoff hitter his 50th RBI of the season, becoming the fourth Wofford hitter this season to reach the 50-RBI plateau.

Roskopf broke the tie in the next half inning with a two-run shot off the scoreboard in right center field. The go-ahead blast drove in shortstop Ramon Corona after Corona squeaked a single through the left side to open the inning. Redwine then settled down and retired three of the next four batters to end the fourth.

Kirkley led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, but the Terriers could not capitalize on the opportunity as an inning-ending double play bailed N.C. State starter Clayton Schunick out of the jam. The two-bagger was the 41st of Kirkley’s career, which surpasses the previous school record of 40 held by Steve Casey.

A two-out RBI double by Corona put the Wolfpack up 4-1 in the top of the fifth. With Poulk on second following a bunt single and a throwing error, Corona roped a line drive off the center field wall to send the N.C. State second baseman across the plate. The base knock was the third of the game for Corona.

Synan added a two-run homer in the sixth to begin a five-run rally as N.C. State claimed a 9-1 lead. The shot to center field came after first baseman Pat Ferguson walked and prompted Wofford to bring in right-handed reliever Charles Vartanian. Following a walk to catcher Caleb Mangum, the Wolfpack strung together three straight doubles from Martin, Poulk and Marcus Jones to add three more runs. Senior Lance Player then took the mound for Wofford with one runner on base and struck out Corona before forcing Roskopf to ground out to end the inning.

Wofford reclaimed four of the runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to 9-5. Gilmartin started the rally with a leadoff double to right field before advancing to third base on a passed ball. Kirkley sent the Terrier leadoff hitter across the plate with a base knock up the middle before Brandt mashed a two-run homer to left center field. First baseman Adam Wood then ripped a single to center field while right fielder Sterling Dye mashed a double to right center to score Wood from first base.

N.C. State added another run in the seventh to reclaim a five-run lead. Wolfpack outfielder Ryan Pond reached second base on a double to begin the inning and moved to third on a single to left field by Ferguson. With runners at the corners and no outs, Wofford brought in southpaw Chip Hunt to get an out and the junior did his job by forcing Synan to fly out to left field. Pond scored on the sacrifice fly, however, and Wofford moved Gilmartin to the mound to face Mangum. Mangum ripped a ground ball through the left side to put runners at first and second, but Gilmartin forced ground ball to Eric Sturkie at shortstop and he flipped to Kirkley who converted the inning-ending double play.

Wofford’s All-American third baseman Brandon Waring knocked in a run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the deficit to 10-6. The RBI single drove in Sturkie from third after the shortstop singled up the middle to open the inning. Wofford threatened to score again with the bases loaded and one out, but N.C. State reliever Joey Cutler took the mound and ended the threat with two straight strikeouts to preserve the four-run lead.

Cutler worked out of another jam in the eighth as Wofford put two runners on base, but could not come up with a run. After Cutler retired the first two batters, Sturkie doubled and Gilmartin walked, but another strikeout ended the inning with the lead intact.

Waring singled in the ninth, but Wofford could not put together a rally as Cutler struck out the final two batters to end the game.

Redwine (7-6) took the loss for Wofford after allowing six runs on seven hits through 5 1/3 innings. Vartanian, Player, Hunt and Gilmartin all contributed inning out of the bullpen while Gilmartin was the most effective with 2 2/3 innings of one-hit baseball.