Rodon pitches NC State past rival UNC at CWS
Sophomore lefty strikes out eight, walks two in complete-game victory
OMAHA, Neb. -- Carlos Rodon only needs a little bit of run support. When he gets a lot, look out.
Rodon was brilliant in recording his third complete game of the season as North Carolina State defeated rival and No. 1 overall national seed North Carolina, 8-1, in Game 3 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Sunday. It was the series opener for both teams.
The hard-throwing left-hander was a runaway winner in a hyped pitching matchup with UNC lefty Kent Emanuel, who was a third-round pick by the Houston Astros in the First-Year Player Draft earlier this month. Rodon has a 1.37 ERA in 26 1/3 innings of the NCAA tournament this year.
"This is the College World Series," Rodon said. "It doesn't get any better than this, so why not bring your A game? Of course I try to bring my A game every time. When I come out, I'm going to compete. And stages like this, I'm going to compete even more, give it more than I can. But you always give it 100 percent and [hope] things go your way."
Emanuel struggled from the start and was knocked out quickly, allowing five runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings.
That continued a recent trend for Emanuel, who has scuffled since the start of NCAA tournament play. He has allowed 19 earned runs in 15 innings over five appearances (three starts) for an 11.40 ERA.
"When Kent doesn't have the command of his offspeed pitches like he normally does, [it's a problem]," said UNC coach Mike Fox. "You know, that's his strength, to be able to throw his changeup and his breaking ball at any time at any count, keep the hitter uncomfortable, be able to pitch in with his fastball. And he hasn't had that the last few starts."
There were no such problems for Rodon, who walked the leadoff batter and then wasn't touched again for a long time. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and took a shutout into the ninth.
Rodon, who led all of Division 1 in strikeouts in 2013, struck out eight, walked two and needed only 108 pitches to finish the job. The sophomore left-hander is already regarded as one of the top prospects for the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Tarran Senay put NC State ahead with a first-inning RBI single, and a four-run third put the Wolfpack in firm command. Grant Clyde, Brett Williams, Bryan Adametz, and Logan Ratledge all had run-scoring hits in the uprising.
Clyde was also hit by pitches three times, tying a CWS single-game record. Tar Heels pitchers hit five batters .
The team designated as the visitor has won each of the first four games in this year's CWS.
NC State will play UCLA, who defeated LSU, 2-1, in Game 4 on Sunday night, on Tuesday night in a winner's bracket game. UNC will face LSU on Tuesday afternoon in an elimination game.
Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.