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NC State Baseball

Wolfpack baseball clinches series win over No. 16 Pitt

May 15, 2021

NC State baseball continued what’s been an absolute tear down the stretch of the 2021 regular season with wins in games one and two of the road series at No. 16 Pitt to clinch its third straight ACC series victory. 

Since starting the season 4-9 overall and 1-8 in ACC play, the Wolfpack is 21-5 overall and 15-5 in conference games. The Pack has won three straight ACC series and five of its last seven. With the series against the Panthers secure, the Wolfpack won four of its five ACC road series on the season, with the lone loss coming at Atlantic Division leader Notre Dame. 

The Pack scored 12 runs on 26 hits over the two games, got a strong outing from Reid Johnston Friday and good game from the bullpen Saturday. Evan Justice picked up his fifth and sixth saves of the season. 

Here’s a look at the Wolfpack’s two series-clinching victories: 

Friday, 3-2 NC State win - Johnston allowed two runs on eight hits while striking out nine and walking one in 7.1 innings for his sixth win of the season. Justice pitched the final 1.2 innings, not allowing a hit while striking out four and walking one for the save. 

The Wolfpack did just enough offensively in this one with three runs on 10 hits. After Austin Murr gave the Wolfpack the lead with an RBI single in the top of the second, Pitt took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of that inning with a solo homer from Ron Washington Jr. and RBI single from Ramon Padilla. 

Those would be the only runs Pitt would score, as Johnston and Justice combined to shut the door the rest of the way. Luca Tresh tied the game with an RBI double in the top of the fifth before Murr scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch in the seventh, starting the series off on the right foot. 

Saturday, 9-6 NC State win - The Wolfpack’s bats prevailed in a slug fest, as State plated nine runs on 16 hits to take home the series. Jonny Butler, Vojtech Mensik and Terrell Tatum all homered for the Wolfpack. 

Sam Highfill had a short day, allowing five runs (three earned runs) on five hits while striking out four and walking one in four innings pitched. The bullpen picked him up and finished the final four innings, with Andrew Tillery, Dalton Feeney and Evan Justice combining to allow just two runs on two hits (both charged to Feeney) the rest of the way. Tillery picked up the win, allowing just one hit and striking out two in two innings. 

The Wolfpack once again jumped out in front of this one, as Tyler McDonough stole third base and then scored on the throw in the top of the first. The Panthers took the lead in the bottom of the inning, however, plating two unearned runs to make it 2-1. 

The Pack tied it up in the top of the second as Tatum came home on a double play with runners on the corners and no outs. The two teams traded runs in the third to make it 3-3 before Pitt exited the fourth inning with the lead. 

Tatum led off the inning to give the Pack a 4-3 lead, but the Panthers responded with a two-run shot from Jackson Phinney to make it 5-4 Pitt. 

From that point on, the Wolfpack scored five unanswered to take a 9-5 lead. The Pack tied the game on a Devonte Brown single in the top of the sixth, then retook the lead on Butler’s solo homer in the seventh. 

NC State entered the ninth inning up 6-5 but plated three crucial insurance runs in the top of the inning. Butler put NC State up 7-5 with some heads-up baserunning and a rare steal of home. Mensik then blasted a shot over the right-field fence to put the Wolfpack up 9-5

Those insurance runs proved important. With the Wolfpack up four runs, Elliott Avent elected to leave Feeney in for the ninth. He walked the first two batters he faced, however, leading Avent to turn to Justice. Justice walked his first batter to load the bases with nobody out, then surrendered an RBI single to Matt Tarabek, and it appeared NC State was in trouble with a 9-6 lead and the bases juiced with no outs. 

But Justice’s defense picked him up, as NC State turned a 6-4-3 double play. The Panthers scored another run to make it 9-7, but went from having the bases loaded with no outs to a runner on third with two outs. Justice then struck out Sky Duff looking with a wipeout slider to notch the save and secure a vital series victory for the Wolfpack.

NC State will go for the sweep tomorrow before finishing the regular season with a home series against Florida State next Thursday through Saturday.

Wolfpack baseball clinches series win over No. 16 Pitt

1,227 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Wolfer79
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Getting hot at the right time!!
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Great turn-around for the season! Coaches and players deserve a lot of credit! Keep it going!
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