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Photo by Steve Murphy/Inside Pack Sports
NC State Baseball

Nolan, Highfill Shine on Senior Day as Pack Sweeps Panthers

May 20, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. — NC State (34-18, 13-16 ACC) ended the 2023 regular season in dominant fashion as it vanquishes Pittsburgh (23-30, 10-18 ACC) Saturday afternoon at Doak Field, 8-2.

Parker Nolan went 3-for-4 at the plate on a day where he was honored as one of the four members of the Wolfpack’s senior class. The Wilmington, N.C. product homered twice and drove in three runs to power the team offensively. Jacob Cozart and Matt Heavner also hit home runs versus the Panthers with Heavner’s being the first of his collegiate career.

Another Senior Day honoree, Sam Highfill (6-2, 3.94 ERA) earned the win after allowing both Pitt runs, one earned, on two hits and three walks while striking out five over six innings of work. Justin Lawson followed with two innings of relief and looked to pick up the save, but a line drive off his thumb necessitated his removal from the game. Carson Kelly yielded one walk in an otherwise clean ninth inning.

The Panthers struck first in the top of the second inning as an error on a Dom Popa single allowed Kyle Hess to cross the plate. The lead would be short-lived as Nolan tied the game in the home half of the frame with a solo home run. Two innings later, Eli Serrano would give the Pack the 2-1 lead with an RBI double to left-center field, bringing Trevor Candelaria home.

Pitt’s Anthony LaSala would retaliate in the top of the fifth, launching a solo shot to left to tie the game at two apiece, a score that would remain until a four-run inning in the bottom of the sixth for the Pack. After a leadoff walk by Cannon Peebles, Cozart would lift the first pitch he saw into the Panthers’ bullpen for a two-run blast. Two batters later, Serrano singled before coming home on Nolan’s second four-bagger of the day, making it a 6-2 ball game.

The final runs of the game came in the bottom of the eighth. Nolan reached base on a one-out single before moving to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Heavner then drilled a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall for another two-run home run for the Pack.

With the regular season wrapped up, NC State now heads into the 2023 ACC Baseball Championship Tournament. The Wolfpack will play as the No. 9 seed and will be slotted into Pool D against fourth-seeded Miami and five-seed Duke. The full tourney schedule will be announced Sunday.

Nolan, Highfill Shine on Senior Day as Pack Sweeps Panthers

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