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N.C. State pushes super regional series to third and deciding game

POSTED: June 18, 2008 5:01 a.m.

ATHENS — Jeremy Synan hopes Georgia pitchers continue to struggle with their control.

The Bulldogs allowed a season-high nine walks, five of which led to runs for North Carolina State.

"Leadoff walks usually mean that you are going to score, and we did today," Synan said. "They certainly helped us out a ton today."

Synan was one of four N.C. State hitters with two RBIs, helping the Wolfpack avoid elimination with a 10-6 NCAA Super Regional victory over Georgia on Saturday.

N.C. State, seeking its second College World Series appearance and first since 1968, used a four-run seventh inning to take a 10-3 lead that proved too much for the Bulldogs, who ended a five-game winning streak, to overcome.

The winner of the best-of-three series advances to face the Arizona-Miami winner next week in the College World Series at Omaha, Neb.

"We just have to play like we have all season," Wolfpack designated hitter Russell Wilson said. "We have to step up, make plays and realize that it could all end tomorrow, but we battled back and showed great effort."

Synan, Wilson and Tommy Foschi had RBI singles that gave the Wolfpack a 4-1 lead in the third.

Georgia, which won the Southeastern Conference regular season title, is attempting to make the College World Series’ field of eight teams for the third time in five years. The Bulldogs are 15-0 in NCAA elimination games at Foley Field, 4-0 this year.

"It definitely helps that we’ve been here before," shortstop Gordon Beckham said. "We have our backs against the wall, just like last week, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to give the effort we need to get back to Omaha."

After outscoring opponents by a combined 38 runs over the last five games, Georgia managed just three runs and 11 hits entering the ninth.

Bulldogs starter Nathan Moreau (4-3) pitched just 2 2-3 innings, giving up four runs, five hits, two walks and striking out two.

The walks, not surprisingly, disgusted Georgia coach David Perno.

"They helped them out tremendously, just like they helped us out yesterday," Perno said.

Jake Buchanan (3-2) earned the win after allowing six hits, three runs, one walk in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander, making just his fourth start of the season, won for the first time since May 10.

Alex Sogard pitched the next 3 1-3 innings before Eryk McConnell recorded the final out.

Georgia scored three runs in the ninth, the last two coming on Massanari’s two-run single off McConnell.

No Bulldogs pitcher struggled worse than Dean Weaver, who gave up one hit, three walks and four runs in just one-third of the seventh inning. Ryan Pond had a sacrifice fly, Synan drew a bases-loaded walk and Wilson’s had a fielder’s choice RBI before Foschi’s RBI double made it 8-3.

Synan also made two standout plays in left, but the harder accomplishment for him was enduring a heat index of 96 degrees.

"The heat is tough, and I’m not sure how it affected us today," Synan said. "We started a little slow, which could’ve ended things for us, but we battled back and showed real good effort."

Ryan Peisel hit his fourth leadoff homer of the year to give Georgia its only lead. After getting just two hits in his previous 20 at-bats, Peisel finished 3-for-4. He singled to begin the seventh, but never advanced past second.

Right-hander Nick Montgomery (3-2) will make his fourth start for Georgia. The senior, who pitched an 8-0 shutout against Georgia Tech last Sunday, was a reliever his entire career before beating the Yellow Jackets at Turner Field on May 13.

Avent wouldn’t say which starter he would use, though Eric Surkamp (5-2) is a possibility. Each of Surkamp’s 15 appearances this season are starts.



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