A back-and-forth rubber match between NC State and Virginia Sunday afternoon ended with yet another come-from-behind, one-run victory for the Wolfpack. Trailing 7-4 entering the bottom of the 7th inning, NC State plated four runs, capped by a go-ahead massive two-run home run from FR CF Tyler McDonough, to clinch their fourth straight ACC series this season. The 8-7 win now puts the Wolfpack at 27-2 overall, 10-2 in ACC play. Virginia falls to 16-12 on the season, 6-6 in the ACC.
The game seemed destined to go the Cavaliers way. Virginia capitalized on almost every opportunity, including scoring runs thanks to bloop seeing-eye hits and NC State miscues, while NC State worked Virginia’s pitchers all game but couldn’t make the most of several advantageous situations. However, when the Wolfpack needed it most, it calmly did what it’s done all year: make the comeback and win the game.
JR LF Jonny Butler led off the bottom of the 7th with a triple to right-center. After a Virginia pitching change, JR SS Will Wilson doubled down the left field line to score Butler and cut the Wahoo lead to two. After SO C Patrick Bailey moved Wilson over to third on a groundout, SR 1B Evan Edwards singled home Wilson to cut the deficit to a single run. The Virginia lead would last for all of two more pitches as McDonough destroyed an 0-1 pitch off the scoreboard in right field, making a Ken Griffey Jr-esque strut out of the batter’s box to top it off. It was, needless to say, a no-doubter.
JR RHP Michael Bienlien (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K), Jr LHP Kent Klyman (0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K), and RS-FR RHP Cam Cotter (SV, 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K) would combine to shutout the Virginia bats over the final two innings to finish things off.
RS-SO RHP Dalton Feeney made his first start of the season - and his first start since 2017. He looked fantastic on a pitch count abbreviated outing, going 3.1 IP, allowing one run (earned) on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts. The start was a promising one for Feeney, and could be a sign of the future Sunday starter plans for the Wolfpack; a position that has been up for grabs since the beginning of the season.
Butler (2-for-5, 3B, 2 R), Wilson (3-for-5, 3 2B, R, 2 RBI), and McDonough (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) all collected multiple hits on the day, while Edwards (1-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R, RBI) reached base twice and SO 2B David Vazquez (1-for-3, SacF, 2 RBI) drove in a pair of runs.
The Wolfpack return to action on Tuesday in Charlotte with a neutral-site game at BB&T Park versus the South Carolina Gamecocks of the SEC. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 7:00pm.