NC State, Rodon handle Boston College, 5-1

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 18, 2014 

— Carlos Rodon didn't know when his last win for N.C. State was.

"I figured it was February or one of those earlier months," the junior pitcher said.

Rodon knows the answer now. The lefty worked eight innings in the Wolfpack's much-needed 5-1 win over Boston College at Doak Field on Friday night.

The last win for the Wolfpack star had been on March 8 in his first ACC start. Rodon (3-6) pitched a complete game in a 5-3 win over Notre Dame but that was almost six weeks ago.

Since then, Rodon had dropped four of five starts before Friday's win. This for one of the top pitchers in college baseball who entered the season with 19 wins in 22 career decisions.

Some of Rodon's record this season can be chalked up to bad luck and poor run support. The Wolfpack (21-15, 7-12 ACC) had scored a total of three runs in his previous five starts.

"Thankfully we actually gave him some run support," freshman third baseman Andrew Knizner said. "I'm sure he enjoyed that."

Knizner drove in a pair of runs on a double in the sixth inning to give Rodon the cushion he needed.

The Pack led the last-place Eagles (12-25, 3-16) 2-0 after the first inning. Preston Palmiero had an RBI single and then Logan Ratledge scored on a passed ball.

It was a virtual windfall of support for Rodon, who had not gotten more than one run in any of his previous five starts.

"It was nice to have two runs early and work with the lead," said Rodon, who lowered his ERA to 2.15.

Rodon moved quickly through the BC order for the first four innings. He only needed seven pitches in the third against a BC lineup which ranks last in the ACC hitting (the Eagles entered the game hitting .228).

The Eagles got an RBI single from Blake Butera in the fifth inning to cut the Pack's lead to 2-1. They had the bases loaded with two outs but Rodon threw a pair of fastballs, both 94 miles per hour, by shortstop Joe Cronin to get out of the inning.

Knizner's double in the bottom of the sixth extended the Pack's lead to 4-1.

The combination of Knizner's bat and Rodon's arm gave the Wolfpack, on the outside of the ACC tournament and looking in, what it needed to kick off a 15-game homestead.

"We know our backs against the wall," N.C. State coach Elliott Avent said. "We understand that."

Boston College starter John Gorman was solid through the first five innings and then got two outs in the sixth. Eagles coach Mike Gambino pulled him for reliever Luke Fernandes.

Knizner, the team's leading hitter, yanked Fernandes' first pitch into the gap in left-center to score Trea Turner and Jake Fincher (2-4, RBI).

Boston College didn't threaten again until the ninth, when Jon Olczak had already replaced Rodon.

The Eagles got their first two runners on and then John Hennessy popped a ball into left field. N.C. State's Jake Armstrong settled under the ball but dropped it. Armstrong was still able to throw out Tom Bourdon at third base on the force play.

Nick Sciortino grounded into a double play to end the game and give the Wolfpack and Rodon the win and a shot of confidence.

"We put it all together," Rodon said. "Heading into (Saturday) we should have momentum."

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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