After a 1-8 start to ACC play this season, NC State found themselves in a hole with respect to postseason prospects. After a weekend sweep of a Virginia Tech squad that entered Raleigh leading the ACC Coastal Division, NC State has effectively climbed out of that hole, now sitting at 12-12 in the ACC with much sunnier postseason prospectus.
Saturday’s inclement weather forced a Sunday double-header between the Wolfpack and Hokies. NC State took momentum into the game having won the series opener on Friday, but the day off in between meant both teams would have their full arsenal of arms. That proved to be more necessary for the Hokies, but uneventful in the outcome of either game.
In the first game of the Sunday dual tilt, the Wolfpack jumped all over the Hokies pitchers, leading 8-1 by the end of the 3rd inning. Reid Johnston (6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) cruised on the mound before being lifted after the 6th. The lone base runners Johnston allowed happened to be back-to-back and followed by a pair of flyouts that allowed the run to score. After the Hokies plated a pair of runs in the 7th, Dalton Feeney (2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K) came on to shut them down through the remainder of the game. The final score: 11-3 Wolfpack.
As you’d expect of a team plating 11 runs, there were a lot of impressive offensive figures from the game for State:
- Jonny Butler: 4-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI
- Tyler McDonough: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI
- Austin Murr: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, BB
- Terrell Tatum: 2-3, 2 RBI
- Jose Torres: 1-4, 2 RBI, BB
Game Two was a much tighter affair, with Virginia Tech leading for the majority of the game. The Hokies used a leadoff single and back-to-back doubles to plate a pair of runs in the 2nd inning. The Wolfpack and Hokies would then trade putting up a run each over the next seven half innings, resulting in a 5-4 Virginia Tech lead after 5 innings.
That lead would maintain heading into the bottom of the 7th inning when McDonough led off the inning for State with a walk. Luca Tresh followed with a single, and after a strike out, Torres roped a 2-RBI double into the left field corner to give the Pack their first lead of the game. Devonte Brown followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Torres and give State a two-run lead.
That two-run cushion would loom large as the Hokies hit a solo home run in the top of the 9th, but were otherwise set down to provide NC State with their final victorious tally of 7-6.
Torres had an outstanding day at the plate, but especially so in the 2nd game, going 4-for-4 with a trio of doubles and a triple for good measure. McDonough was also fantastic with the bat all day, including blasting a pair of home runs in the 2nd game. His first home run was a big momentum changer for State, capping off a 13-pitch at-bat with a no-doubter off the hitters’ eye in dead center field.
Again, there were several standouts at the dish for the Pack:
- Jose Torres: 4-4, 3 2B, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI
- Tyler McDonough: 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB
- Vojtech Mensik: 2-4
- Luca Tresh: 1-3, R, BB
- Devonte Brown: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, SF
- JT Jarrett: 1-3, RBI, SacB
- Terrell Tatum: 0-0, BB, HBP, SB
On the mound, Matt Willadsen struggled to keep the Hokies off the board, but battled through to keep the Pack within striking distance. Despite allowing the 9th inning solo shot, Evan Justice was outstanding in relief, earning the win. Their lines:
- Willadsen: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
- Justice: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
NC State is now tied with Clemson for 4th in the Atlantic Division, although the Tigers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Hokies drop to a tie for 2nd in the Coastal Division with Georgia Tech, trailing Pittsburgh by 1⁄2 game.
The Wolfpack will begin an in-state road trip with a game at Appalachian State Tuesday at 5:00pm before heading to Winston-Salem for a three-game ACC series starting Friday.