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NC State Struggles to Score in Savannah

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The Pack managed a split but only plated four runs in two games.

The Rat is back at the second sack.
The Rat is back at the second sack.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

NC State scuffled to a 1-1 mark and lost two games to inclement weather this weekend in an odd event in Savannah, Georgia that featured nothing but teams from North Carolina. I guess the point was to find some better weather, but Mother Nature had other ideas. The Pack was shutout 1-0 in its first game Friday against the Charlotte 49ers and had to rally to beat UNC-Greensboro 4-2 on Saturday. They were supposed to play both teams again Sunday but rain had other plans.

The games were played at historic Grayson Stadium, home of the Mets' Savannah Sand Gnats farm club.

Sean Geoghegan, a sophomore lefty who entered the season with one career win and a 4.67 ERA, stymied the Pack in the 49ers' 1-0 win. Geoghegan went six innings and allowed just three hits but walked three and hit a batter. NC State left the bases loaded in the first and stranded a total of six men in scoring position. Micah Wells went two clean innings to set up Logan Sherer for the shutout preserving save.

Sherer, who also bats cleanup and plays first base, led off the second with a walk and eventually came around to score the game's lone run off Cory Wilder, who again struggled with his command. Though he only allowed one run in five innings, Wilder walked three, hit a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch. USC-East transfer Cory Britt threw four hitless innings in relief of Wilder.

Chance Shepard, now seeing time at DH with Logan Ratledge healthy enough to play the field, had two of the Pack's four hits.

NC State snapped a 14-inning scoring drought when it plated three in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead against the Spartans. The Pack benefited from a couple of UNCG errors but also had hits from Jake Fincher, Brock Deatherage, and Ratledge in the frame. Deatherage got the nod in the leadoff spot and stole his second base of the season.

A Ryne Willard triple helped the Pack tack on an insurance run in the seventh.

On the mound, freshman lefty Brian Brown continued his impressive start to his career. He worked six innings and surrendered just one earned run on three hits, a walk, and a hit batter. He struck out four and is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA through two stats. Jon Olczak was dominant in relief, fanning six of the 10 batters he faced to earn the three-inning save.

One interesting development in the abbreviated series was the emergence of Tommy DeJuneas as a two-way player. The freshman, who had previously had just one at bat all season, got two starts in left field and went 2-for-7 with a double and a walk. DeJuneas has been impressive on the mound, working four hitless, shutout innings with a 7-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

The Andrew Knizner experiment behind the plate seems to be progressing well; the converted third baseman has gunned down four of five would-be base thieves and has yet to be charged with a passed ball.

NC State hosts East Carolina Tuesday night at the Doak. It's the last game for the Pack before conference play begins. The 6 p.m. game will be broadcast on ESPN3, as will this weekend's entire series against Clemson.

The NC State softball team had its entire series against Syracuse weathered out. They will try it again this weekend against nationally ranked Notre Dame.