NC State and Coastal Carolina played a back-and-forth game on Wednesday night. Every time the Chanticleers would pull ahead, NC State would have a response. It looked like the Wolfpack were going to be able to pull out another one-run victory, but Coastal had the last retort in this contest, with a two-run home run in the top of the 9th providing the visiting team with the victory.
The loss drops NC State to 29-5 on the season, while Coastal Carolina improves to 23-11-1. The Wolfpack are just 2-3 in their last five games, but those three losses have come by a total of four runs.
Coastal jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a solo home run by DH Jake Wright, the first of four Chanticleer home runs on the night. The Wolfpack would respond in the bottom of the frame to tie it up. After loading the bases on walks by RF Jonny Butler, C Patrick Bailey, and CF Tyler McDonough, LF Luca Tresh was hit by a pitch to drive in Butler and knot the game.
The Chanticleers scored again in the top of the 3rd on a sacrifice fly by RF Kieton Rivers, driving in Raleigh native 2B Corey Wood, who led off the inning with a double. NC State again responded in the bottom half of the inning, this time taking the lead. Bailey led off the inning with a solo home run. The Wolfpack would then load the bases with no outs. 1B Evan Edwards walked, McDonough singled, and Tresh walked. DH Brad Debo drove in Edwards on a sacrifice fly to give State it’s first lead of the game, but unfortunately that would be the only other run State scored in the inning. The lack of capitalizing on the bases loaded, no out scenario would come back to haunt the Pack.
The visitors tied the game up in the top of the 4th with a leadoff home run from 1B Zach Biermann and would take the lead back in the top of the 5th with another lead off home run, this one from Rivers. NC State responded quickly to erase the deficit, plating a run in the bottom of the 5th. Tresh led off the inning with a double and was moved to third on a Debo single. 2B David Vazquez grounded into a double play, with Tresh scoring on the play.
Coastal again responded quickly, playing small ball to retake the lead. Wood led off the inning with a single, stole second base, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Rivers then put an 0-2 hanging pitch up the middle to drive in Wood and give the Chanticleers a 5-4 advantage. In the bottom half of the inning, Edwards would blast a two-out two-run home run to give State the lead. The home run also scored Bailey, who had reached on a two-out single.
That 6-5 State lead would last until the 9th inning as RHP Cameron Cotter kept the Coastal bats off the board in the 7th and 8th innings.
In the top of the 9th, Cotter struck out Wright to start the inning and was then pulled after allowing a full count walk to Rivers despite being at just 32 pitches. That decision proved costly as LHP Kent Klyman threw an up-and-in fastball on a 2-1 count to CF Parker Chavers who deposited it deep in right field for a 7-6 Coastal lead. NC State had no response this time, with all three Wolfpack hitters going down on strikes in the bottom of the 9th.
Bailey (3-for-4, HR, BB, 2 R, RBI), McDonough (2-for-3, 2 BB, SB), and Debo (2-for-4, SF, RBI) each collected multiple hits on the day, while Edwards (1-for-3, HR, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI), Tresh (1-for-2, 2B, BB, HBP, R, RBI), and Vazquez (1-for-4, BB) also each reached base multiple times. NC State’s “Johnny Wholestaff” approach to the game didn’t work out as well as planned, with seven of the Wolfpack’s nine pitchers allowing a run on the day.
NC State is back in action Friday at 6:30pm with a home contest against Louisville.