NC State will need to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader against Wake Forest to extend its recent dominance in the series. The Pack entered Friday’s ACC opener against the Demon Deacons with a six-game winning streak against their rivals from Winston-Salem and hadn’t dropped a series to them since 2002, but the Deacs took the opener 6-4 behind homers from Grant Sheets and Johnny Aiello and a lights out relief outing from Griffin Roberts.
Sheets and Aiello, who both finished with two hits and two RBI, homered off State starter Sean Adler in the third to put the Pack in a 5-1 hole. Adler coughed up five earned runs in four frames to take the loss.
Shane Shepard brought the Pack most of the way back with one swing of the bat, blasting a three-run homer in the top of the fourth to make the score 5-4. Shepard also drew a pair of walks in the game. Brad Debo, who doubled and walked, drove in State’s first run. The team totaled just six hits.
A Sheets fly to left sent Brett Kinneman crashing into the wall in the seventh. Kinneman appeared fine after taking on the wall but was unable to make the grab; Sheets ended up at third for an RBI triple that pushed the Wake advantage to 6-4.
Roberts didn’t really need the extra support. Wake’s sophomore closer went three overpowering innings, striking out five. Parker Dunshee wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing four runs in six innings, but did enough to get the win.
The teams will try to get two games in before a wintry mix descends on Winston-Salem tomorrow. The twin bill begins at 1 p.m. Brian Brown is slated to make his first start of the season for the Pack; Dalton Feeney will has also been tabbed for a start.