And now we get a Sunday rubber match for the first time this season.
NC State and Virginia were tied at two each heading into the 7th inning on Saturday when the Wolfpack cranked up the power and cranked out a couple long balls to take the lead and then put the game away. Patrick Bailey led off the top of the inning with his team-leading 6th home run of the season, a no-doubter way over the right field wall to break the tie.
With the Wolfpack still holding onto that one-run lead in the top of the 8th inning and with a man on 1st, Jose Torres cranked a blast to left field that wasn’t even close, pushing the State advantage to 5-2.
NC State would score another run later in the inning on a Bailey single that scored Austin Murr from 2nd, providing the final score of 6-2.
Virginia struck first in the bottom of the 1st on a leadoff double and an RBI sacrifice fly. NC State responded with a two-out RBI single by Torres that scored Vojtech Mensik who had reached on a fielder’s choice and moved up on a J.T. Jarrett single.
The Pack took a brief lead in the top of the 5th on a leadoff home run by Tyler McDonough. Like Bailey’s and Torres’ home runs, McDonough’s shot also left the yard without much drama to it.
Unfortunately, the Cavaliers tied the game in the bottom half of that frame on a leadoff home run of their own by Chris Newell.
NC State got another great outing from Nick Swiney (7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), who kept a lineup littered with future MLB Draft picks relatively quiet for most of the day. Sam Highfill (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) followed up Swiney’s successful outing by silencing the Wahoo bats himself and finishing out the game.
The Wolfpack defense turned three double plays on the day, including in the bottom of the 9th to finish off the game.
Torres (3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI) and Bailey (2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB) of course had themselves quite the day at the dish. Jonny Butler (2-5, 3B) and Luca Tresh (2-5) also tallied multiple hits on the day while McDonough (1-4, HR, R, RBI, BB) reached base safely twice. Mensik scored two runs on the day.
Newell (2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI)was the only Virginia hitter to tally multiple hits on the day. Devin Ortiz (0-1, 2 BB) was the only other Cavalier to reach base safely multiple times.
Virginia starter Mike Vasil (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) pitched well before having to hand the ball over to a bullpen that had used its top three arms in Friday’s game. That’s not to say State didn’t earn this one against quality arms; the last four runs of the game were scored on Kyle Whitten, the Cavalier’s closer from a year ago who had nine saves in 2019.
The third and final game of the series will be Sunday at 3:00pm. NC State will send lefty David Harrison to the mound for his first weekend start of the season, while Virginia will roll out freshman sensation Nate Savino.