NC State scored 25 runs in a twin bill against visiting Notre Dame Saturday to win its fourth straight series after dropping the opening game. It was the ninth straight ACC series win for the Pack dating back to last year.
Despite all the offense, if we’re handing out game balls mine goes to senior lefty Brian Brown, who went the distance in State’s 12-2 win in game one. Brown’s 120-pitch effort helped save the bullpen, which was heavily taxed (and largely ineffective) in Friday night’s 12-8 loss. Brown, who had never previously worked into the ninth in his Pack career, scattered eight hits, allowed just one earned run, walked two, and struck out eight in going the distance. His previous career-long outing was 7.2 innings.
Offensively, Evan Edwards was perfect at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBI. Edwards also drew a pair of walks and was hit by a pitch.
Freshman Terrell Tatum continued to cement his position in the lineup by going 3-for-3 with a walk, a sac fly, and five RBI. He entered the contest with an impressive on-base average but just one run batted in on the season.
Patrick Bailey and Stephen Pitarra added two hits apiece for the Pack; the club banged out 13 hits in the game while collecting nine walks and wearing three HBP’s. State struck out just twice.
Behind a huge performance from Will Wilson, State jumped to a 9-1 lead in the rubber match by the end of the third. Wilson’s mammoth three-run shot highlighted a six-run third inning. The ball reportedly burned up upon reentry after its second orbit around the world. Wilson added a solo shot in the seventh and has reached double figures in long balls with 10.
Every State starter had a hit in game two except Edwards, who walked three times. Dillon Cooper was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI, and two walks. Brock Deatherage had three hits, including his seventh home run, and drove in two.
State’s advanced approach at the plate netted 18 walks in the double dip compared to just seven strikeouts.
Michael Bienlien was far from dominant on the mound, allowing nine hits and four earned runs in five innings. He also walked three and plunked his eighth batter in 25 innings pitched on the season. Reid Johnston allowed a run in his 1.2 innings and was in a mess in the seventh, when the game was still in doubt at 9-5, but Joe O’Donnell came in to clean things up and finished the game to earn his seventh save of the season. O’Donnell was more hittable than usual, allowing three hits in 2.1 innings, but fanned four to keep his slate clean and lower his season ERA to a miniscule 0.60.
Unfortunately, O’Donnell needed 56 pitches to earn the save so he’s likely not available for State’s rare midweek rivalry game against UNC. The Pack play the Heels Tuesday at 6:30 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The game will air on ESPNU.
Speaking of the Heels, we would be remiss not to tip our caps to the Wolfpack softball team, which run-ruled Carolina in Chapel Hill Saturday afternoon, 10-1 in six innings (the softball run rule is eight runs after five). State will try to take the series, which is tied at one game apiece, Monday night at 7 p.m. The rubber match will also air on the U.