Brian Brown was efficient and effective on the bump, and Shane Shepard and Brock Deatherage went yard, propelling NC State to an 8-4 win over Seton Hall in the first half of a season-opening twin bill at the Doak. Brown, Shepard, and Deatherage are all seniors.
Brown needed just 85 pitches to work six innings. He allowed a lone run and just one hit; the southpaw walked two and fanned five. He was credited with his 19th career win.
Deatherage staked the Pack to a 1-0 lead with a solo shot in the second. Shepard’s blast, a two-run opposite field shot, came as part of a five-run sixth that broke the game open. State added two more in the seventh on Deatherage’s two-run single to lead 8-1 before coughing up some meaningless runs late.
Brad Debo was 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBI before being lifted for a pinch runner. Patrick Bailey spelled him behind the plate and was one of five players to make their Wolfpack debut. Bailey was hitless at the plate but did score twice. Evan Edwards, a JUCO transfer, found his way on three times with a hit, walk, and hit by pitch. Devonte Brown singled in his first career at bat. David Vazquez was hitless in his lone trip to the plate.
Dillon Cooper solved the mystery of who’s on third but went hitless in four trips to the plate. Vazquez would appear to be next in line for a shot at the hot corner if Cooper’s bat doesn’t come around, as he played third, pushing Cooper to second base, after he made his debut.
Reid Johnston, who was also making his debut, got one of the uglier saves you’ll see. He worked the last three frames and gave up five hits and three runs. You get a save if you inherit the lead and maintain it over the last 3+ innings no matter how many runs you’re up by or you allow. Johnston did strikeout three, so hopefully there are quieter outings in his future.
There was beautiful weather for game one, but rain is expected at some point this afternoon or early evening, putting the second half of the doubleheader in jeopardy (and thus my decision to get this up now rather than combining both games into one post).