Brian Brown had one of his worst starts in a Wolfpack uniform; it didn't matter. NC State has scored 46 runs in its last three games, including 15 Saturday afternoon in a beat down of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The 15-6 triumph gave the Pack eight straight in the W column, six of which have come against ACC foes.
One can forgive Brown, who entered the game with an ERA under two, for perhaps losing his focus a bit after his mates staked him to a 10-0 lead. The sophomore lefty surrendered six earned runs in six innings. The Chris Williams Story continued to write itself post-Brown. The redshirt senior, who had all of nine career appearances before this year, worked the final three innings for his first save (you get a save if you go three regardless of how big the lead is). Williams is unscored upon on the season in 12 appearances spanning 18.2 innings pitched.
The explosive offense was so explosively offensive as to warrant a slew of box-score mined bullet points, lest we write a novel:
- Stephen Pitarra and Josh McLain, batting 1-2 in the lineup, each had three of the hits in a 17-hit attack. Pitarra drove in a run and scored a run. McLain scored thrice and drove in a pair. McLain, who is up to .353/.413/.547 on the year, hit his 14th double of the season.
- Preston Palmeiro leads the club with 16 doubles, the 16th of which he collected in the 15-6 throttling of the Yellow Jackets. His double plated McLain with the game's first run as part of a 1-for-3 day. He added another RBI later, walked twice, and scored three times.
- Andrew Knizner (2-for-3, three runs, two walks, RBI) and Evan Mendoza (2-for-5, run, two RBI) enjoyed multiple-hit days.
- Brock Deatherage was the fourth Pack player to cross the plate three times. He had just one official at bat (and naturally got a hit), walked, and stole a base.
- Freshperson Jack Conley is now your small sample size team MVP. He got his first two career plate appearances, getting a hit and getting hit by a pitch in the process. If he can maintain that 2.000 OPS, I think we're going to like this kid.
- Georgia Tech used 10 pitchers; seven of them allowed at least one run.
On a less positive note, Florida State (23-10, 10-3) and Louisville (28-7, 12-5) both won today, so State (26-9, 10-5) failed to make up any ground in the standings.
The Wolfpack will shoot for their second straight ACC series sweep behind Ryan Williamson tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. The game is available for streaming on The Ocho and pop-up loveblogging on Backing the Pack.