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No regular Joes: Dunand, O’Donnell shine in NC State win over Virginia Tech

Johnny was no slouch either; Piedmonte remained undefeated with a solid start against a strong offense.

NCAA Football: Clemson at North Carolina State
A friendly reminder that Saturday night is First Responders night.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping the first game in four straight ACC series, NC State finally got off on the good foot Friday night behind Johnny Piedmonte and Joe O’Donnell; the two combined to hold a potent Virginia Tech offense to five hits and a pair of runs. Joe Dunand stayed blisteringly hot with his league-leading 16th home run in the 5-2 win at the Doak at Dail.

Two of those Hokies hits came in the first, with a Tom Stoffel double putting runners on second and third with one out. Piedmonte, making his first Friday night start of the season, limited the damage to a run.

Dunand’s fourth homer in three games knotted the score in the fourth. Will Wilson’s liner over the left-centerfield wall put the Pack up 2-1 later in the frame.

The Hokies answered with a solo shot off the bat of Ryan Tufts, who went 3-for-3 and scored both of his team’s runs, in the fifth to even the score, but that would be it for their offense.

State hung a crooked number in the bottom of the sixth to take the 5-2 lead that would stand as the winning margin. Brett Kinneman blooped a single to right to lead off the frame, and, an out later, Evan Mendoza walked. Following the second out of the inning, Brock Deatherage fisted one towards short that died in the grass for an infield hit, loading the bases. Stephen Pitarra appeared to be so far out in front of a pitch that he actually got it off the cap of the bat, and Tufts, the shortstop, took a step in the wrong direction as the ball squibbed between short and third into leftfield to plate a pair.

The Pack didn’t hit one ball remotely hard in the inning and didn’t even need contact to get the third run of the frame, which came on a first and third steal when the catcher uncorked a throw into centerfield.

Dunand, Kinneman, and Pitarra each had a pair of hits, with Dunand adding a double to go with his long ball and Pitarra getting a two-bagger on a shot down the rightfield line. State outhit Virginia Tech 9-5 and hasn’t lost a game this season when it tallies more hits than its opponent.

Even with a couple of homers and a couple of well-placed and timely hits for the offense, it was the Pack pitching that was the story. Piedmonte worked 6.2 innings, allowing four hits, two runs, and just one walk. He fanned five. He moved to 4-0 in his redshirt senior season. O’Donnell, also a senior, worked 2.1 innings for his second save of the season. He got four of the seven outs via strikeout, including three looking, while surrendering a hit and a walk.

The two teams square off again tomorrow night at 6:30 on the ACC Sports Network Extra.