NC State got off to a hot start on Friday afternoon in Blacksburg and never looked back as the Wolfpack evened the series with Virginia Tech in emphatic fashion, beating the Hokies 14-2. The Wolfpack improve to 22-5 (8-3) while the Hokies fall to 11-14 (5-6). The win sets up a winner-take-all series finale Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm.
The Wolfpack bats came alive early and often in this one, scoring three runs before Virginia Tech could even register an out. Josh McLain and Brett Kinneman lead off the game with back-to-back singles before Will Wilson drove them home on a home run to left field. All told, the Wolfpack offense plated runs in six separate innings, with five of those six innings accounting for multiple runs.
Johnny Piedmonte was brilliant on the mound in this one, carrying a perfect game into the 5th inning and a no-hitter into the 7th inning as he earned his fourth win of the season. Piedmonte’s final line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 6 K on 99 pitches. Evan Justice pitched the last two frames to finish out the game, striking out three Hokie batters.
Five Wolfpack hitters registered multiple hits on the day, with Brock Deatherage and Josh McLain leading the way. Deatherage finished a perfect 4-for-4 on the day with a HR, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI, and a SB for good measure. McLain finished 3-for-6 with a 2B, 2 R, and 4 RBI. Brett Kinneman (2B, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI), Patrick Bailey (2 BB, 3 R), and JT Jarrett (2 R) all finished with two hits each.
Thanks to Piedmonte’s performance Friday and Mathieu Gauthier’s five-inning showing in relief on Thursday night, the Wolfpack bullpen will enter the series rubber match Saturday with all their top arms ready to go. Even with Brian Brown (4-0, 0.48 ERA) getting the start on the mound, the State bullpen will have Kent Klyman, Joe O’Donnell, Reid Johnston, and Nick Swiney all fresh and ready to go should they be needed.