A pair of Virginia pitchers held NC State to just one run over the first eight innings of the game, while the Cavaliers offense small-balled a couple early runs in getting out to 4-0 lead by midway through the 5th inning. The Wolfpack would cut the lead to 4-3 with no outs in the 9th inning on a two-run home run, but couldn’t complete the comeback as they lost just their second game of the season.
The loss drops NC State to 25-2 overall and 8-2 in ACC play. Virginia improves to 16-10 overall, 6-4 in the ACC.
Cavaliers starting pitcher Griff McGarry came out pitching as well as he ever has, striking out five of the first six NC State hitters he faced. McGarry (4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 8 K) would run out of steam in the fifth inning when he lost control (and stopped getting the generous strike zone from the home plate umpire), and was forced from the game. Unfortunately for NC State, his replacement was just as good.
LHP Andrew Abbott came on in relief of McGarry and also pitched as well as - if not better than - he ever has in a Cavaliers uniform. Abbott (3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) would get in the win before giving way in the 9th after allowing NC State SO 2B David Vazquez to lead off the inning with a double to right-center field. Virginia closer Kyle Whitten would “earn” the save, but not before giving up a two-run home run to Wolfpack pinch-hitter FR Luca Tresh.
JR RHP Andrew Blake was fantastic on the mound in a relief appearance for the Wolfpack, keeping NC State within striking distance for the entirety of his outing. Blake (4.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 6 K) probably should have been brought on sooner as starter JR RHP Jason Parker (4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K) didn’t have his normally solid stuff today. The NC State coaching staff has been quick on the hook with pitchers all season except for tonight, and it came back to bite them. The good news is that thanks to Blake going the rest of the way in this game, the bullpen remains fresh for the rest of the series.
JR LF Jonny Butler (1-for-4, BB), SR 1B Evan Edwards (1-for-3, BB, SB), Vazquez (1-for-2, 2B, 2 BB, R), and FR 3B Vojtech Mensik (1-for-3, BB, R) each reached base multiple times in the game. SO C Patrick Bailey had a double and Tresh had his aforementioned two-run home run in his only at-bat of the game.
Game 2 of the series is slated for a 6:30pm first pitch Saturday night with SO RHP Reid Johnston on the hill for NC State.