NC State looked like it was going to cruise to an easy win on Saturday afternoon against James Madison, jumping out to an early 4-0 lead through two innings, but the Dukes scored the next six runs of the game leaving NC State with a 6-4 deficit heading into the bottom of the 8th inning. Thankfully, the Woflpack put up a five spot in the that frame, clinching the victory and the series.
Austin Murr staked the Wolfpack to an early 1-0 lead, jumping on the first pitch of the bottom of the 1st inning and hammering a line drive home run out to right field, his first as a member of the Pack.
State added one more run in the frame when Patrick Bailey scored on a Jonny Butler fielder’s choice.
Terrell Tatum started off the bottom of the 2nd inning with a walk and after stealing second base, came around to score on Jose Torres’ first career hit - an opposite field single. Torres would score on a wild pitch later in the inning to push the early Wolfpack lead to 4-0.
Unfortunately, things fell apart for State in the middle innings, going five straight frames without scratching a run while James Madison took the lead, including pushing four runs across in the fourth inning alone.
After the Dukes scored a run in the top of the 8th inning to push their lead to 6-4, the Wolfpack responded in a big time way in the bottom half of the frame. J.T. Jarrett lead off with an infield single to second base, and Marek Chlup followed him up with a pinch-hit single to right field. After a balk moved the runners up a base each (with Vojtech Mensik running for his fellow countryman Chlup), Murr tied things up with a double to right-center field.
Tyler McDonough singled to put men on the corners with no outs, then stole second base, and Patrick Bailey walked to load the bases. After a fielder’s choice force out at home kept the game tied and the bases loaded with one out, Butler sneaked a ground ball past the first baseman for a two-RBI single.
B8 | BACK IN THE LEAD!@jonnybutler333 drives in two runs with a single through the left side. He steals second so it's runners at second and third with one out.— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) February 15, 2020
https://t.co/5BQtCBJJI4#Pack9 8 | JMU 6 pic.twitter.com/XTqtTv4drs
The hit proved to be the game-winning RBI, with Butler now being responsible for such in each of the Pack’s two games this year.
Butler would steal second base before moving up on a wild pitch that scored Devonte Brown for the Wolfpack’s ninth run of the game.
Kent Klyman came on in the 9th inning and set down the JMU hitters in order to earn his second save of the season.
James Madison had four players with multiple hit outings on the day: Chase DeLauter (3-4, R, 3 RBI, BB, SB), Kyle Novak (2-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI), DaVonn Griffin (2-2, BB, SAC, SB), Josh Jones (2-5).
Murr (3-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI), Butler (3-5, 3 RBI, SB), and Brown (2-5, R) paced the Pack on the day with multiple hits each. Bailey (0-1, 4 BB, 2 R) and Tatum (0-0, 2 BB, R, SB) also reached base safely multiple times.
Freshman RHP Sam Highfill earned the win for the Wolfpack in his first career appearance, turning in 3.0 innings of relief, allowing one run (earned) on three hits and two walks (plus a HBP) with one strikeout. Fellow freshman RHP Matt Willadsen (2.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) earned the start, working two scoreless frames before running into trouble in the four-run third inning for the Dukes.
The series finale will be Sunday at 1:00pm. NC State will send Chris Villaman to the mound while JMU will also run a freshman lefty out to the mound in the form of leadoff hitter Chase DeLauter.