Joe Dunand powered the Pack Nine to a pair of midweek wins in front of this weekend’s ACC home opening series against Miami. Dunand had a grand slam in today’s 7-3 win over George Mason; he hit a solo shot in Tuesday’s 6-2 win at Elon.
Pack pitching, particularly the pen, was also instrumental in the midweek wins. After Cory Wilder got yet another chance to overcome Steve Blass disease, only to get yanked after walking the bases loaded while only recording one out against the Patriots, Evan Braband, Michael Bienlien, and Ken Klyman combined to allow just two runs in 8.2 innings of relief. Though Braband did give up a pair of runs of his own, he did well to get out of Wilder’s mess with only one run scoring. Bienlien didn’t allow a run in 4.2 innings while striking out six.
Against Elon, Christian Demby rebounded from taking the loss in the extra inning affair with Wake Forest on Saturday to give State 4.1 solid innings with just one run scored. Joe O’Donnell is making a bid for a return to starting with his impressive work in the pen; he allowed a run in 3.1 innings and was credited with the win. O’Donnell struck out four. Austin Staley continued to grow into the closer’s role, fanning thee of the four batters he faced to notch his third save.
Evan Mendoza had the only multi-hit game against the Patriots, going 2-for-5 with an RBI. Dunand’s grand slam came in the first and staked his mates to a 5-1 lead. Andy Cosgrove got the start behind the dish in both games—that’s four straight—and drew a pair of walks. He hit a solo shot as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon against Elon. Brett Kinneman also had a pair of hits and drew a walk against the Phoenix.
There was all kinds of ugly in the Elon game, as the teams combined for seven errors, though somehow State’s hurlers escaped without allowing an unearned run. Speaking of ugly, despite the comfortable winning margins, the Pack managed just 13 hits in the two games. It was cold. They were coming off an emotional weekend series. But it’s gonna take more than that going forward.
It gets serious on Friday. Another 1-2 series (or worse) for the Pack and they’ll be fighting an uphill battle to make the ACC tournament, much less the NCAA tournament.