Nick Swiney was dominant on the mound Friday afternoon as the Wolfpack baseball team took home the win in their season opener against James Madison. The junior lefty struck out the first two hitters he faced en route to striking out 11 Dukes hitters in his 7.0 innings of work.
Swiney is transitioning from being a key bullpen arm the last two years to the front of the rotation this year, and he showed exactly why the coaching staff is going that route with this performance. He allowed just four baserunners all day (two hits, two walks), with two of those being wiped off by double plays, and another getting caught stealing. James Madison DH Kyle Novak was the only Dukes hitter to make solid contact on Swiney all game.
Junior outfielders Devonte Brown (2-3, 2 2B, R, RBI, BB) and Jonny Butler (1-4, HR, R, RBI, BB) paced the offense, with Butler’s 2nd inning home run to right-center proving to the be the game-winning RBI.
Brown smashed a couple doubles, looking very comfortable hitting from the clean-up spot.
Overall, it wasn’t a great day at the plate for the Pack. Wolfpack hitters struck out 11 times on the day while managing just five hits. Thankfully, State also worked five walks, which helped when coupled with three wild pitches from Dukes pitchers.
Sophomore RHP Baker Nelson pitched a three up, three down 8th inning, but ran into trouble in the 9th allowing a pair of two-out baserunners. Senior LHP Kent Klyman came on to strike out the only batter he faced to earn the save and secure the win. The save was the 7th of Klyman’s career, to go along with his 14 career wins.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 2:00pm (watch it here), with NC State sending FR RHP Matt Willadsen to the mound for his first appearance in a Wolfpack uniform. The Dukes will counter with rJR RHP Michael Bechtold.