It took a balk, but N.C. State finally pushed home a run Monday to break a 24-inning scoring drought that dated to last season. Once the first run came, the Pack plated them in bunches en route to an 11-4 win over Canisius that evened their record at 1-1 on the season.
The Golden Griffins struck first, taking advantage of two walks issued by State starter Logan Jernigan to lead 1-0 after the opening half of the first frame. Brett Austin, who was in right field after catching the opener, led off the bottom half of the inning with his first of four hits. A couple of outs later, Austin moved to third on a single by Bubby Riley and trotted home on a Devon Stewart balk. Austin is batting a robust .556 in the early going.
Surprise designated hitter Carlos Rodon sparked a two-run rally in the second, singling through the right side to open the frame. After Andrew Knizner was hit by a pitch, Jake Armstrong moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. Rodon came home on an Austin single and Trea Turner took care of Knizner with a sacrifice fly. Turner finished 1-for-3 with a walk and three runs batted in to go with his second steal of the season. His two-run single highlighted the five-run third that chased Stewart from the game. Turner is off to a .571 start after singling three times in the season opener.
Jake Fincher (2-for-3, 2B, HBP, run, RBI), Riley (2-for-4, BB, run), and John Mangum (2-for-5, 2B, two runs) joined Austin among Pack players that enjoyed multiple hit games. Armstrong, who rode the pines in the season opener despite coming off a strong season that saw him post a .440 on base percentage, played first and batted ninth. He did what he does, which is find a way on with walks and hit by pitches (he had one of both). Logan Ratledge, who is an excellent baseball player but one that seems miscast at the top of the order, batted fourth after starting in the three-hole in the opener and went 0-for-4 for the second straight game.
Preston Palmeiro, son of Rafael, made his collegiate debut and scored a runner on a groundout in the eighth. Matt Vernon also made his debut as a pinch hitter and walked and scored a run. The Pack drew six walks as a team and struck out just once after fanning nine times in the opener.
D.J. Thomas turned in the Pack's second straight three-inning relief outing, as he followed Andrew Woeck's three shutout innings from the season opener with one-run ball over his three frames. The senior lefty and three-time ACC honor roll awardee fanned six batters and picked up the win since Jernigan's latest bout of wildness kept him from going five innings. Jernigan walked five and hit a batter in his four frames; he was charged with two earned runs and struck out two.
The Golden Griffins hopped on a bus to Durham after the game and took on North Carolina Central in a rare two-different-opponents-in-two-different-cities doubleheader. Canisius pounded Central 15-7 to improve to 2-1 on the year. The Pack will play their third of four games in four days Tuesday when they travel down I-40 to take on Elon. They're back home for North Carolina A&T on Wednesday.