NC State falls to Georgia Tech 1-0 despite dominant Rodon performance

CorrespondentApril 25, 2014 

— Carlos Rodon couldn’t have been much more dominant for N.C. State on Friday night.

But in what has become a familiar story involving the big lefty from Holly Springs, the Wolfpack couldn’t get him any run support.

Rodon struck out 15 batters with only two walks in a six-hit complete game, but Georgia Tech starter Josh Heddinger was even more effective as the Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 win in the opener of their three-game series at soggy Doak Field.

Rain delayed the start of the game by an hour.

With the win, the Yellow Jackets improved to 26-17 (12-10 in ACC) while N.C. State fell to 22-19 (7-15 in ACC) and saw its odds of making the conference tournament get just a little longer.

Rodon, who was just one short of his career strikeout high, had at least 10 strikeouts for the 18th time in his three seasons. But because of no run support he fell to 3-7, with no victories over winning teams this season.

“It was Friday night,” Avent said. “We were told Heddinger was one of the best pitchers in the country and that was right. Carlos may be the best. Fifteen punchouts is dominating. We played very, very well. We may have played as good as we’ve played all year.

“We probably hit about nine balls on the screws, but that’s just the game of baseball. To their credit, they didn’t walk anybody, they didn’t make any errors and they didn’t hit anybody.”

Heddinger (3-2) did exactly what his team needed, going 7 1/3 innings and allowing two hits while striking out four without a walk. Sam Clay picked up his fourth save for Tech.

“Josh was very good,” Tech coach Danny Hall said. “We kind of knew going in we’d have to have a performance like that. Carlos Rodon is an outstanding pitcher and an outstanding competitor. We’re fortunate that we got one run and made it hold up.”

Rodon struck out the side in the first, surpassing the 400 career strikeouts mark by fanning No. 2 hitter Daniel Spignola to become just the fourth ACC pitcher to surpass the milestone.

He faced the minimum through 3 2/3 innings – walking Thomas Smith to lead off the second before Smith was erased on a steal attempt – before giving up a single up the middle to Matt Gonzalez.

“I threw a lot of fastballs early on,” Rodon said. “I wish I had thrown more changeups, but we threw them when we needed to. I think I threw one for a ball. The slider was there.

“I pitched well and the defense was good behind me. Gonzalez just had my number tonight. He had three hits and punched (the winner) through the middle.”

Logan Ratledge, who extended his hitting streak to eight games with a first-inning single, was the only Wolfpack player to reach safely until Jake Fincher doubled with one out in the fifth.

“Rodon struck out (10 of the first 11 batters),” Heddinger said. “You don’t have to be perfect when you face him, but you have to let your defense work and I really thought I did that tonight.

“I was a little off in the beginning, but they hit the ball at people. I mixed pitches really well tonight and that helped me there.”

Tech got on the board with its run off a three-hit rally in the sixth. Brandon Gold led off with a single, followed by Arden Pabst’s sacrifice bunt. Mott Hyde followed with a single to right, and with two out Gonzalez – who finished with three hits – deposited a single into left center.

“That was the best I’ve seen Carlos throw all year,” State catcher Brett Austin said. “He was getting ahead with his fastball and worked in more changeups. That was as good as he’s ever been and he couldn’t get any run support.”

State leadoff man Trea Turner singled with one out in the ninth to extend his hitting streak to seven games.

Game 2 is Saturday at 1 p.m. (Fox Sports Carolinas), with Patrick Peterson (1-1, 3.79 ERA) taking on Tech’s Devin Stanton (3-2, 2.68 ERA) in a battle of junior southpaws.

The finale is on Sunday at 1, with junior Logan Jernigan (5-3, 4.01 ERA) squaring off with the Jackets’ junior Matthew Grimes (4-1, 3.73 ERA).

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service