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NC State Baseball

Wolfpack Dominates Panthers, Secures ACC Tourney Berth

May 19, 2023
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RALEIGH, N.C. — NC State (33-18, 12-16 ACC) needed either one of two outcomes in order to advance to the ACC Championship Tournament. The Wolfpack got both.

Despite Florida State beating Louisville to secure the Pack’s spot in Durham, NC State left no room for doubt with a commanding win over Pittsburgh (23-29, 10-17 ACC) Friday evening at Doak Field, 17-8.

Having locked up the series victory over the Panthers, State finishes the 2023 conference schedule with four total ACC series wins after having already downed Louisville, Florida State, and Notre Dame. The Wolfpack entered Friday’s game with its highest potential tournament seed at No. 9, but the final seedings will be available soon after the conclusion of Saturday’s slate of games.

Cannon Peebles continued his hot weekend, finishing 2-for-2 performance at the plate with a double, a home run, three runs scored, and four runs driven in. Kalae Harrison also had a perfect clip with a 4-for-4 showing, three runs, and three RBI. Joining the pair in the multi-RBI club for the night were LuJames GrooverEli Serrano, and Parker Nolan.

After a 2-2/3-inning start for Matt Willadsen with four runs allowed on five hits and four strikeouts, Rio Britton (3-2, 4.44 ERA) picked up the win with five strikeouts and just one run given up on one hit and one walk over 3-2/3 innings. Dominic Fritton fanned six Panthers over 2-2/3 innings to pick up his third save of the year, surrendering three runs in the process.

Trevor Candelaria gave the Wolfpack its first lead in the bottom of the second inning, driving Peebles home with a two-out double to left-center field. Payton Green extended the lead to 2-0 with an RBI single to right-center to plate Candelaria. However, the lead would briefly dimish after Pitt’s Noah Martinez tied the game in the top of the third with a two-run shot off the scoreboard. The Panthers added two more runs in the inning on a single by Johnny Long, III.

With NC State trailing, 4-2, the Wolfpack added another run back in the home half of the third when Serrano hit a fielder’s choice back to Pittsburgh starter Logan Evans whose errant throw to home plate allowed Jacob Cozart to score. The one-run deficit would remain until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Wolfpack would take the lead for good.

Candelaria led off with a single, then moved to third base on a pair of wild pitches by Dylan Simmons (1-2, 4.75 ERA). Soon after, Harrison lined a game-tying single into center field. After moving to second on a walk, then to third on a passed ball, Harrison scored on a sacrifice fly by Groover. Cozart then singled to bring Peebles to bat who drilled his 12th home run of the year into the NC State bullpen, making it an 8-4 lead for State.

Justin Acal chased Willadsen out of the ball game with a solo home run in the top of the seventh, but the Wolfpack answered after the stretch with a seven-run frame. After three consecutive walks to start the inning, Harrison plated Nolan and Candelaria to extend the lead to five. Later with the bases once again loaded, Peebles drew a walk to bring Green home. Serrano answered with a two-run double to bring the lead to 13-5. In his second plate appearance of the inning, Nolan brought two more runners home with a single up the middle, putting the lead into double digits.

Anthony LaSala cut into State’s deficit with an RBI triple in the top of the eighth before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Sky Duff to make it a 15-7 lead for State. However, the Wolfpack negated the impact in the home half of the frame with two more runs courtesy of an RBI triple by Noah Soles, followed by an RBI groundout by Groover. The final run of the game came in the top of the ninth when Jayden Melendez plated Cameron Barton with a single to center field.

The Wolfpack will look to finish the regular season with a sweep over the Panthers. First pitch for NC State’s senior day is set for 1 p.m.

Wolfpack Dominates Panthers, Secures ACC Tourney Berth

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