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Bearcats drop opener to NC State, face Ole Miss in elimination game Saturday

RALEIGH, N.C.  Top-seeded and seventh-ranked NC State (45-14) hit a pair of home runs and defeated fourth-seeded Binghamton (30-24) 4-1 in the second game of the NCAA Raleigh Regional Friday night at Doak Field at Dail Park. With the loss, BU will face 23rd-ranked Ole Miss in an elimination game at 2 p.m. on Saturday. William & Mary beat Ole Miss 4-2 in the opening game of the day.

The hosts withstood a solid showing from the Bearcats, who strung together eight hits and came within a showcase diving catch of grabbing a lead midway through the game. Binghamton put its leadoff runner on base in six of the first seven innings and just lacked a few two-out hits. The Bearcats stranded seven in the first seven innings and had another baserunner thrown out trying to steal home. The Bearcats had eight of their first 21 batters reach base but had 12 of their final 14 retired to end the game.

Junior starter Jack Rogalla (5-5) went 6 2/3 innings and scattered eight hits and four runs. He struck out four and didnt walk a batter before giving way to freshman Jake Cryts, who went the final 1 1/3.

Sophomore Zach Blanden, who went 3-for-4, started the game with a single but after classmate Jake Thomas sent a fly ball to the warning track in right, Blanden was forced out at second to end the first. Blanden punchd a 2-2 pitch to right field for BUs first hit. After a strikeout, Thomas just missed sending it out of the park, jumping on an off-speed delivery and giving it a ride to deep eight field.

The Bearcats got on the board in the second inning after putting their leadoff hitter on for the second straight frame. Junior designated hitter Shaun McGraw singled up the middle on a 3-2 pitch and went to third on a single to right field by classmate Brian Ruby. McGraw then scored in a 4-6-3 double-play grounder off the bat of junior shortstop John Howell to cut BUs deficit in half, 2-1.

Binghamton moved another runner into scoring position in the third after Blanden singled and moved to second on a groundout. Thomas hit the ball on the nose for a second-straight at-bat but his liner was caught by the Wolfpack first baseman to end the inning.
Sophomore catcher Nick Pancerella threw out an NC State baserunner to end the bottom of the third. After Rogalla got the first two hitters out, an infield single put a runner on but Pancerella erased him on a great throw to the bag at second. Pancerella also threw out another baserunner in the sixth.

The Bearcats nearly plated two runs in the fourth after a leadoff single by junior second baseman Daniel Nevares and a walk by Howell. Pancerella sliced a shot that was headed toward the corner in right field before the Wolfpack outfielder made an incredible full-out, highlight-reel diving catch to end the inning and preserve a 2-1 lead.

Binghamton loaded the bases in the fifth after two hits and a walk but a fly out to left ended the threat.

Rogalla was cruising along, having retired 12 of 14 before NC States All-American shortstop deposited a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left to lead off the sixth and extend the hosts lead to 3-1. Rogalla struck out the clean-up hitter to escape further damage.
The Bearcats final threat was squashed in the seventh when junior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz was caught trying to steal home. Bereszniewicz led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball and to third on a roundout. But with the leading hitter in the America East at the plate in Thomas (.382), Bereszniewicz tried to catch the Wolfpack pitcher napping before his delivery and was thrown out easily at the plate.

NC State added a final run in the seventh on a two-out, two-strike RBI single to left field. Cryts stranded two in the frame with a strikeout and added another inning-ending strikeout in the eighth.
Cryts struck out three and allowed just one hit in his relief showing.
Six different Bearcats registered hits, led by Blanden (3-for-4), who recorded his 19th multi-hit game of the season.

(Courtesy Binghamton Athletics)

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