The NC State Baseball team jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on Sunday in the series finale with Bucknell, but needed a huge 7th inning comeback to top the Bison and secure a series sweep. Trailing 7-4 after Bucknell plated four runs in the top of the 7th, NC State put together a big rally in the bottom half of the inning, highlighted by a Lawson McArthur grand slam, to take the lead and then held on for the victory.
Following a Will Wilson groundout to start off the bottom of the 7th, Evan Edwards (2-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI) crushed a solo home run over the rightfield fence to cut the deficit to 7-5. Patrick Bailey worked a walk, Tyler McDonough was hit by a pitch, and Brad Debo (1-for-2, 2 BB, R, RBI) singled up the middle to drive in Bailey (1-for-4, 2B, BB, R) and cut the lead to 7-6. David Vazquez then walked to load the bases for McArthur, who had come in the game in rightfield as a replacement for starter Terrell Tatum (2-for-3, R, RBI, SB). On a 2-2 count, McArthur (1-for-1, HR, BB, R, 4 RBI) unloaded on a breaking ball up in the zone to clear the bases and put the Wolfpack ahead 10-7; a lead they would not relinquish.
The Wolfpack hitters had one other big inning in the bottom of the 2nd inning, pushing across four runs with two outs. Tatum drove in McDonough, who had reached on a single, with a single of his own to score the first run of the game. Vojtech Mensik followed up with a two-RBI triple, scoring Brad Debo (who had walked earlier in the inning) and Tatum, and then came around to score on a single by Jonny Butler (1-for-4, BB, RBI) in the following at-bat.
Mensik (3-for-5, 2 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI) paced the Wolfpack offense in hits on the day, turning in an all-around excellent performance. The freshman third baseman had an overall fantastic series.
NC State tacked on an additional run in the bottom of the 8th on a McDonough (2-for-4, HR, HBP, 3 R, RBI) solo home run to just under the scoreboard in right-centerfield. The home run is the first of the freshman’s career.
Nick Swiney started the game on the mound for NC State and cruised through the first two innings before losing control and running into trouble in the 3rd, assisting with Bucknell scoring three runs in the inning. Swiney (2.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) ended up being charged for all three runs that the Bison plated in the inning. Reid Johnston made his 2019 debut coming in for Swiney in the 3rd with the bases loaded and two outs. Johnston (3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K) pitched through the 6th inning without allowing a run of his own, although he did allow all three inherited runners to score in the 3rd.
Kent Klyman was credited with the win for the Wolfpack, pitching well aside from leaving a flat pitch up in the zone that Bucknell OF JohnPaul Bell hammered for a two-run homer that pushed the Bison lead at the time to 7-4. Klyman went 2.1 IP, allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits with no walks and one strikeout. Dalton Feeney made his second appearance of the season to close out the game, allowing a walk before inducing a game-ending flyout to centerfield.
Bucknell starting pitcher Jack Simpson (6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) weathered the storm that was the NC State 2nd inning to put forth a solid overall effort. Bell finished 3-for-5 on the day for Bucknell, driving in 5 runs and scoring on his round-tripper. Bison 3B Dominic Toso (3-for-4, BB, 2 R, RBI) and 1B/P Tyler Wincig (2-for-3, 2B, 3B, 2 HBP, 3 R, RBI, SB) also had excellent days at the plate.
NC State returns to action Tuesday with their first away game of the year, facing the Elon Phoenix on the road at 4:00pm.