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NC State tops Pittsburgh, 6-5, sweeps series

The win bumps up the program-best season-opening win streak to 15 games, Chris Baird

It wasn’t another 18-run win for NC State, but it was a win - one in which the Wolfpack never trailed - and that’s all that matters. SO RHP Reid Johnston (5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 K) was masterful on the mound and the relievers behind him did just enough to hold off Pittsburgh and keep alive the 15-game win streak to open the season. If you haven’t heard yet - yeah, that’s a program record.

With Tennessee dropping the second game of their double-header today, NC State is one of just two D1 teams (Arizona State) still undefeated.

NC State jumped out to a quick lead, plating two runs in the bottom of the first inning. JR LF Jonny Butler led off the game with an infield single to third base, with JR SS Will Wilson following him up with a walk. With one out in the inning, SO C Patrick Bailey drilled a double into left centerfield to drive in both Butler and Wilson.

The Wolfpack added to their lead in the second, pushing across another run to extend the lead to 3-0. SO 2B David Vazquez reached on a one-out single, advanced to third base on a single to right field by Butler (2-for-4, BB, R), and scored on a balk by Pittsburgh pitcher Billy Corcoran.

The game stayed knotted at three until the 6th inning, when SO LHP Nick Swiney came on in relief of Johnston after Johnston hit the Pitt leadoff hitter with a pitch. Swiney allowed a single to the first hitter he faced, then recorded two outs via a 2-6 fielder’s choice on a sacrifice bunt attempt and a swinging strikeout. Unfortunately, on a 3-1 count, Swiney grooved a high fastball out over the plate which Pitt SS David Yanni cranked out to right field to tie the game.

FR 3B Vojtech Mensik would walk to kick off a two-out rally in the bottom of the 6th. FR DH Luca Tresh would follow Mensik with a walk of his own to chase Pitt reliever Chase Smith from the game. JR RF Lawson McArthur would pinch-hit for Vazquez and come through with a big two-strike RBI single up the middle to score Mensik and advance Tresh to third base. Butler and Wilson followed with walks, with Wilson’s walk driving in Tresh.

The Wolfpack would push across their final run in the 7th inning. Bailey (2-for-4, 2 2B, BB, R, 2 RBI) led off with a deep drive double to centerfield and advanced to third on a single by FR CF Tyler McDonough (4-for-5, 2B). JR PH Brad Debo walked to load the bases, and McArthur (1-for-1, BB, 2 RBI) walked on a 3-1 count to push across Bailey.

Swiney (2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) settled in after allowing the 6th inning home run, retiring the next five hitters he faced before allowing a double with one away in the 8th and handing the ball off to RS-SO RHP Dalton Feeney. Feeney (1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) gave up a single to Pitt LF Ron Washington Jr to allow the inherited runner to score, then a double to Yanni to allow Washington to score, although the run charged to Feeney was unearned due to an error on Washington’s single that allowed him to advance an extra base.

Feeney worked around a lead-off single in the 9th to record outs on the next three at-bats and earn his third save of the season.

The Wolfpack have Monday off before returning to action in a Tuesday match-up under the lights (7:00pm) at BB&T Park in downtown Charlotte against the Charlotte 49ers.