N.C. State Baseball Notebook

Ole Miss’s Wahl bonds with Wolfpack’s Rodon

csmith@newsobserver.comMay 31, 2013 

— Last summer, Carlos Rodon, Trea Turner and Bobby Wahl were teammates on the USA Baseball Collegiate National team, travelling to Miami, Cuba and the Netherlands together.

Rodon and Wahl became such close friends that the Wolfpack sophomore texted the Ole Miss pitcher to offer him a spot on he and Turner’s couch during the time he’s in Raleigh for the regionals.

When asked whether he would take Rodon up on the offer, Wahl responded, “I don’t think so, I’m just gonna stay in the hotel. … Hopefully I’ll get to see them, hang out and maybe go get something to eat. But other than that it’s business here.”

Wahl has exceeded expectations this year with a 9-0 record and a 1.99 ERA. The junior enters the weekend allowing one run or less in 11 of his 15 appearances.

As for Rodon, many have seen his season as a down year when comparing his numbers to his freshman season, in which he won ACC Pitcher of the Year. But Rodon earned All-ACC first team honors thanks to outings like the one he had against North Carolina last Saturday, going 10 innings, giving up just one unearned run on one hit.

Coming into the regional, a would-be matchup between Rodon and Wahl on Saturday night was the potential highlight of the weekend, even for Turner. But when he spoke about his former USA teammate, he drew comparisons to his roommate.

“Playing with Bobby last summer, I figured out he’s just as competitive as Carlos is,” he said. “He’s pretty emotional on the mound. I think that’s part of what makes both of them so good.”

Third time’s a charm: The win over Ole Miss on Friday afternoon was William & Mary’s first in program history. It was the third time the Tribe made it to regional play, but they went 0-2 in 1983 in Chapel Hill and 2001 at Clemson, S.C.

William & Mary also moved to 38-22, setting a new school record for wins. In just his first year at the helm, coach Jamie Pinzino also led the Tribe to 17 wins in the Colonial Athletic Association – also the most in program history.

“We’re proud of these guys and what we’ve accomplished,” Pinzino said. “But as we continue playing these games, I think our guys are starting to realize that there’s not a whole heck of a lot of time to worry about what records were set because we’ve got another big game tomorrow.”

All four runs scored by the Tribe can in the fifth inning, none of which were earned. Ole Miss third baseman Andrew Mistone committed two errors and Mike Mayers gave up three walks, losing his first game against a team outside of the SEC.

Inghram the incomparable: William & Mary has not struggled offensively during postseason play, but the pitching staff has been shelled lately. On Friday, the Tribe got another consistent start from sophomore Jason Inghram when they needed it.

Inghram finished with a line of eight innings pitched, two earned runs, eight hits, three strikeouts and one walk on 110 pitches before Matt Wainman closed things out in the ninth.

“We have all the confidence in the world in him,” Pinzino said. “He wouldn’t be starting game one of the regional if we didn’t think he was going to give us a chance to win. We didn’t really think about taking him out through the first eight.”

The Tribe came into the contest allowing an average of 12 runs over their last four games, including two games of 19 or more runs allowed. The two runs allowed was their lowest total since their final regular season game when they shut out Georgia State, 14-0.

Inghram, who has been the No. 2 starter for the Tribe this season, gave the bullpen valuable rest and allowed his team to save their ace, senior John Farrell for Saturday night’s contest.

Farrell is one win shy of a school record at 11-2, holds a team-leading 2.80 ERA amongst starters, and is holding batters to a .259 average with a 7.08 K/9 rating.

Smith: 919-829-4841; Twitter: @RCorySmith

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