RALEIGH — During the 2012 season, Carlos Rodon gave up a total of two home runs in 114 2/3 innings. By the end of the fourth on Friday afternoon, that number had been eclipsed after three early Appalachian State homers as N.C. State dropped the season opener 6-3.
The preseason All-American pitcher finished with eight strikeouts and surrendered just five hits, but a three-run home run by Mountaineers freshman Jaylin Davis quickly deflated the excitement for the 2,396 fans at Doak Field and an undisclosed amount in the parking deck behind the stadium.
It was a tough day out there, Rodon said. Obviously theyre a good club. I was leaving balls up and they were making contact I was just trying to paint the outside corner and it seemed like they got the bat out there and just hit it out.
After calming down in the 5th and 6th innings, Rodon still came out of the game in line for a loss for the first time in his collegiate career. The sophomore had not lost a game since his junior year at Holly Springs High School on May 21, 2010 and had been 20-0 since.
While the outing was rough for Rodon, fellow preseason All-American shortstop Trea Turner went 2-for-4 with a single, double and two stolen bases. The double was off of a chopper that got over the third baseman and Turner hustled himself into scoring position.
Turner said he was pleased with his performance, but wanted to do more to get the win for the fans.
(The crowd) was awesome, Turner said. We didnt have that many people for very many of the games last year. It was awesome and I hope they keep coming out. Sorry to disappoint with a loss, but it was fun.
Both of Turners hits led to runs, but N.C. State wasnt able to find many more scoring opportunities in the contest. In fact, until the sophomores double in the fourth, Mountaineers pitcher Jamie Nunn had not allowed a base runner.
N.C. States starting 2-3-4-5 hitters finished a combined 1-for-12 and scored just one run. Relief pitcher Josh Easley, who pitched two scoreless innings in his first game since undergoing Tommy John surgery, said he could tell the teams confidence was a bit shaken after getting down in the first inning.
The atmosphere in the dugout was a little down today, he said. Thats something you didnt see a lot of last year, so thats something weve got to work on. When you get down, it doesnt mean anything especially in the first inning.
The Wolfpack continues its opening series against the Mountaineers on Saturday and Sunday with the first pitch set for 1 p.m. both days.