Tommy Tanks is a beast!
A five-run fourth inning, highlighted by Tommy White’s second grand slam of the season, propelled NC State to a win in the series opener with Quinnipiac on Friday night. White followed up the grand slam with a two-run homer in the following inning.
For those keeping tally at home, that’s seven home runs for White in just six games. Just absurd!
The Wolfpack got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, plating two runs on a pair of hit by pitches with the bases loaded.
The Bobcats tied up the game in the top of the 4th. Anthony Donofrio led off with a full count walk. A couple seeing-eye singles by Kyle Maves and McGwire Tuffy pushed one run across and left runners on the corners with two outs. Tuffy (very unfortunate this kid doesn’t play for State) got in a run-down, allowing Maves to score from third base to tie the game.
State followed with their six-hit, five-run inning, putting the Pack in front for good.
If there was a knock against the Wolfpack on the day, it was that State hitters struck out eight times on the day. That’s not an exorbitant number in today’s baseball, but for a group that had only struck out 22 times in five games coming into this one, it was a bit surprising to see. Credit to Quinnipiac starting pitcher Brandyn Garcia, though, as he registered seven of those strikeouts in his five innings on the mound.
Wolfpack starter Sam Highfill was again on a pitch count in this one. He left after the 4th inning having thrown 67 pitches, allowing just the fourth inning damage. Prior to the walk and two hits in that one frame, Highfill was near unhittable, tallying seven strikeouts on the day.
Garrett Payne, Canaan Silver, and Chris Villaman combined to finish out the last five innings of the game, allowing a run each in the fifth and sixth inning, but never really letter Quinnipiac sniff a comeback. Payne (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) wasn’t as sharp as his first two appearances on the year, but was still fine. Silver (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) was especially sharp, setting down six straight batters - including four of the last five by strikeout - after surrendering a leadoff double in the 7th inning. Villaman (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K) made his season debut in the ninth inning, looking every bit as sharp as where he left off in 2021.
For the Pack, White (2-for-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI), LuJames Groover (2-for-4, R), and Payton Green (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI) each recorded multiple hits on the day. Devonte Brown (1-for-3, 2 R, BB, HBP), Josh Hood (1-for-3, R, BB, HBP), J.T. Jarrett (1-for-3, RBI, BB, HBP), and Eddie Eisert (1-for-4, BB) also each reached base safely multiple times in the game.
Game two of the series between Quinnipiac and NC State will be at 2:00pm Saturday. Matt Willadsen will be on the mound for the Wolfpack. The game will be on the ACC Network Extra.