NC State aced their first test of the young 2023 season, going on the road to Conway, SC, and beating the pants off Coastal Carolina by a final score of 16-4. The Wolfpack used a 13-2 run in the middle three innings to blow the game open and improve to 4-0 on the year.
Will Marcy (2-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB) staked the Pack to an early lead with a 2-run home run in the top of the 1st inning, driving in Trevor Candelaria who led off the game with a single.
Candelaria (3-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI) is the third different Wolfpack hitter to bat leadoff in the first four games for State.
Coastal scratched across a run in the 2nd inning to cut State’s lead to 2-1 via a no-out, bases loaded sacrifice fly, but Pack starting pitcher P.J. Labriola (3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HBP) was able to escape any further damage in the inning. The outing marked Labriola’s NC State debut. He would run into trouble in the bottom of the 4th, allowing a pair of runs (one scoring after he departed the game) to make it a 7-3 game, but the rout was on by then.
NC State scored five runs in the 4th and four runs in each of the 5th and 6th innings to put the game away. Five Wolfpack hitters tallied multiple hits on the day, including the aforementioned Marcy and Candelaria. Payton Green (2-5, 2B, R, SB) continued his hot start to 2023 and Kalae Harrison (2-4, 2 R) notched his second multi-hit game of the year.
The day, though, belonged to Parker Nolan (4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI), who obliterated Coastal pitching all game long. Nolan grounded out in his first at-bat, but then there was this:
Then a single in his next at-bat. Then this:
And then this to top it all off:
Nolan went from hitting .167 before the game to batting .455 afterwards. Gotta love dramatic early season stat swings!
In addition to all the multi-hit performances above, Jacob Cozart (1-4, 2B, 2 R, BB) and Eli Serrano (1-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB) each reached base multiple times on the day.
The other big storyline for the game was the season debut of Sam Highfill, making his first game appearance on the mound for State since April 3rd of last year. Highfill (1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) was efficient and effective in his outing. He did allow an inherited runner to score via a single to the first hitter he faced, but set down the next four hitters in order on just 12 pitches.
Freshman Andrew Shaffner (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K) followed, making his second appearance in as many games, while fellow freshman Derrick Smith (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP) made his Wolfpack debut. Creed Watkins (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) finished off the game with a clean 9th inning.
NC State returns to Raleigh this weekend for a three-game series against Belmont (2-3). Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 3:00pm.