May 8, 2009

Courtesy of N.C. State Athletics

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Jimmy Gillheeney scattered seven hits over seven shutout innings Friday night, striking out a career-high 10 to lead NC State to a 3-0 victory over top-ranked North Carolina to open the weekend ACC series at Doak Field at Dail Park on Friday.

NC State improves to 23-27 overall and 9-16 in the ACC.  The loss drops North Carolina to 37-12 overall and 16-8 in the ACC.

Gillheeney pitched from the stretch much of the night. His only 1-2-3 inning was the second. He stranded seven runners in scoring position and allowed just one leadoff hitter to reach base all evening. Dustin Ackley and Levi Michael were the only UNC starters who did not go down on strikes against Gillheeney.

Cory Mazzoni threw the final two innings for the Pack to earn his first save of the season.  He went two innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.  He has not allowed a run in his last four appearances, covering nine innings of work.  Junior righthander Alex White (7-2) took the loss for the Tar Heels.  He allowed three runs on five hits in six innings.  He struck out five and walked five.

North Carolina threatened early against Gillheeney (6-4).  With two outs in the top of the first, Dustin Ackley singled to left and Kyle Seager walked.  Mark Fleury reached after Dallas Poulk mishandled an infield chopper for an error to load the bases for the Heels.  Gillheeney escaped damage inducing Levi Michael to fly out to right to keep the Tar Heels off the board.

NC State reached White for a run in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally.  Wade Moore and Kyle Wilson both walked to put two on for the Pack.  Devon Cartwright hustled out an infield grounder up the middle. Shortstop Ryan Graepel made the pickup on the ball, but Cartwright beat the throw to the bag. Moore, the Wolfpack’s fastest baserunner, never hesitated rounding third and scored without drawing a throw from Ackley at first base.

After three seemingly effortless innings by Gillheeney, the Heels tried to get something started with two outs in the fifth.  Garrett Gore and Ackley both reached on line-drive singles, but Gillheeney shut down anything further by striking out Seager to end the inning, preserving the 1-0 lead.

The Wolfpack used more two-out magic in the sixth to extend its lead.  Pat Ferguson singled to right with one out, but was thrown out at second on a Russell Wilson grounder.  Wilson beat the relay to first.  John Gianis worked a 10-pitch walk against White, and Dallas Poulk brought Wilson and Gianis home with a triple to the left-field gap, past a diving Ryan Norton in center field to give the Pack a 3-0 lead.  White hit Moore  on the foot with a pitch to put two on for NC State, but wiggled out of further damage striking out Kyle Wilson to end the frame.

North Carolina tried to rally one last time against Gillheeney in the seventh. Gillheeney struck out Matt Harrison to start the inning, but Ben Bunting hit a high chopper to Poulk’s right and beat the throw for an infield hit.  Gillheeney induced Garrett Gore to pop up to second base for the second out.  Consecutive walks to Ackley and Seager loaded the bases, but Gillheeney struck out the power-hitting Fleury to end the inning with NC State still holding a 3-0 lead.

The Wolfpack and Tar Heels will play the second game of the series on Saturday at Doak Field at Dail Park.  Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.  The game will be broadcast live on WKNC-FM (88.1) and over the internet on gopack.com via Pack Pass.