The Pack nine snapped a three-game losing streak Sunday afternoon as three pitchers combined to shutout UMASS Lowell in an 8-0 final. Making his first career start, freshman Dalton Feeney worked the first six innings and allowed just a pair of hits. Joe Dunand homered for a Pack club that outhit the River Hawks 10-5.
The Pack were hitless until a Brock Deatherage leadoff bunt single in the third. Josh McLain bunted him over and Deatherage scored on a double by Stephen Pitarra. It was just Pitarra’s second hit of the season. Brad Debo plated Pitarra with a sac fly.
State got a good bit of help to add three more in the fourth, all with two out. Evan Mendoza and Deatherage were on after walking when McLain fisted a flare into shallow left. A failed dive by the leftfielder and a bobble by the centerfielder allowed Deatherage to score all the way from first and for McLain to take second. McLain scored when Pitarra’s routine ground ball to short was thrown away.
A Deatherage sac bunt attempt that he beat out led to a Will Wilson RBI in the sixth. Wilson had a pair of hits in the game and even his outs were loud. Dunand hit a solo shot in the seventh and Debo doubled home Wilson with a wall banger in the eighth.
Feeney, making a push for a weekend rotation spot with injuries to Cody Beckman and Brian Brown (and the inability to throw strikes for Cory Wilder, among others), walked two and fanned four in his six innings. He got nine of his 18 outs on groundouts.
Speaking of Brown, he made his 2017 debut with an inning behind Feeney. It started well with a backwards K, but Brown gave up a couple of hard hit balls and walked a batter before wiggling out of a jam. He may not be ready when NC State opens ACC play at Wake Forest next weekend.
Tim Naughton gave up a pair of hits and fanned two in completing the team’s second shutout of the season.
The River Hawks do have a win over an ACC opponent this season, a blowout over what would appear to be an extraordinarily bad Notre Dame club that’s just 2-8 this season. Even if the competition wasn’t stellar, it was good to finally post a “W” and perhaps rebuild some confidence with a difficult week ahead. State hosts Western Carolina tomorrow, travels to Wilmington Wednesday, and then has a weekend set in Winston-Salem.