Apparently digging an early hole in league play is a new annual tradition for NC State. Wouldn’t be my first choice, but hey, some people just like a little extra challenge.
The Wolfpack dropped two of three to Virginia and came perilously close to being swept, but a Cannon Peebles’ two-out, two-RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth pushed the Pack past the Wahoos in game three on Saturday.
THE COMEBACK PACK WALKS IT OFF!!!!#Pack9 | @cpeebs34 pic.twitter.com/BryLv1RqgD— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) March 18, 2023
NC State took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning but surrendered three runs on a couple of homers in the top of the frame to find itself in a 4-2 deficit. The Pack’s own ninth-inning rally happened almost entirely with two outs. Chase Nixon doubled with one out, and then with two outs, Kalae Harrison singled (scoring Nixon), Gino Groover singled, and Jacob Cozart walked to set up Peebles’ heroics.
State’s pitching this weekend was much better than it was in Miami, so there’s that—the Pack got good efforts from all three of its starters.
On Thursday night, State dropped a 2-1 nailbiter. An error on a sac bunt in the third inning helped UVA push across both of its runs, and sometimes that kind of mistake early in a game is enough to lose it. State got its run on a Cozart bomb in the fourth. The Pack out-hit UVA 8-4 but also struck out 14 times.
Logan Whitaker went 5-1/3 with five strikeouts and the two unearned runs allowed. Sam Highfill got the last 10 outs without allowing a hit.
On Friday, Matt Willadsen was outstanding, pitching seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball, with nine strikeouts against two walks. When he left the game, State was down 1-0; a bullpen implosion (Justin Lawson had a really tough couple of days) resulted in the 7-0 final score.
Coulda used just a smidge more offense this weekend. UVA’s pitching staff is no joke, though.
Up next: a mid-week trip to UNCW, then a series at Boston College. BC already has a win at Tennessee plus ACC series wins at Virginia Tech and FSU.