NC State got a dream start to the College World Series, with the offense clicking early against Stanford ace Brendan Beck and Reid Johnston bouncing back with a strong start. Jonny Butler exorcised some of the program’s 2013 demons right out the gate, launching a homer to right that gave State a lead it would never relinquish.
T1 | JONNY BARRELS!— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) June 19, 2021
NCSU 2, STAN 0 pic.twitter.com/sOp2BEdpq9
Tyler McDonough plated Vojtech Mensik with a single in the second, and Devonte Brown hit an opposite-field solo shot in the fourth, and the Pack built a 6-0 advantage before Stanford scored on a solo shot of its own in the bottom half of that frame.
Johnston got himself into some serious trouble in the seventh, which is when Evan Justice was brought in to put out the fire and carry NC State the rest of the way. And that’s exactly what he did: three innings of work, two hits allowed, zero runs. The Pack put this one on ice with four insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Justice wouldn’t need ‘em, but pushing the margin from two to six definitely allowed everybody to relax, which is appreciated.
Butler drove in a career-high five runs on three hits to headline the offense. The top of the order was excellent—McDonough and Austin Murr had two hits apiece—and when that’s the case, NC State is usually going to have a good day.
With the big win, State advances in the winners’ bracket where it will face either Vanderbilt or Arizona at 7 p.m. ET on Monday night. The first elimination game of the Series is set for 2 p.m. that afternoon, between Stanford and the Vandy-Arizona loser.