It took one powerful swing from NC State catcher Luca Tresh to deliver one of the most satisfying wins of the season for the Wolfpack. After NC State surrendered a 4-0 advantage late, it was Tresh who rescued Elliott Avent and the Pack with a two-run bomb to left-center in the bottom of the ninth, breaking the 4-4 tie.
Here comes Wolfpack baseball. Walk off home run over FSU. NC State has now win 11 of their last 12. Would be cool at some point to see @ECUBaseball and NC State matchup in the post season. Baseball in NC is good! pic.twitter.com/KSABlxtdyh— billy weaver (@billyweaver14) May 21, 2021
It was Tresh’s second home run of the night—his first a mammoth 434-foot shot to left—and it capped a really solid performance across the board. But Tresh wasn’t supposed to be the story of this game; it was Reid Johnston’s night for most of it.
Johnston struck out a career-high 13 batters, walking only one in a masterful performance marred only by the game-tying grand slam he allowed in the seventh. Johnston shouldn’t have been in the game at that point, what with his pitch count nearing 120, and after getting into similar trouble each of the two innings prior.
I am not here to dwell on that, though, because in the end it did not matter. Evan Justice came in the finish off the seventh, then kept FSU quiet in the eighth and ninth. He’s done his job well consistently in high-leverage situations. (Which makes it all the more puzzling why Avent didn’t have him ready sooner, but again, not dwelling!)
Home runs have featured prominently in NC State’s run over the last month, and tonight was not an exception. After Tresh’s solo shot in the second, Jonny Butler made the lead 4-0 with a two-run shot in the fifth, and of course Tresh came around again to come through in the ninth with the game-winner.
I had fun.