Despite falling behind early, No. 8 NC State (9-2) rallied to defeat Alabama (9-2) Saturday evening at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, 2-1.
“We’ve played a lot of games that are going to be Regional-type games which is good to grow the club up,” head coach Elliott Avent said. “We’ve got too tough of a schedule. I don’t know what idiot made this thing, but every night is a great game.”
Brian Brown started on the mound for the Wolfpack and retired the first nine batters he faced. However, he surrendered a run in the fourth and exited the game in the fifth with runners on second and third. Brown struck out three and walked one in the 4-1/3 innings he threw.
After Sean Adler, Brown’s successor, hit the next batter to load the bases, the redshirt junior southpaw escaped the jam with a strikeout and groundout to the mound. He retired the Crimson Tide in order in the sixth, adding two more strikeouts to end his day.
“I’ve been trying to get ahead of guys because the last couple of outings, I’ve been dancing around them,” Adler said. “I had a lot of full counts, but I wanted to come out and throw strikes and trust my defense.”
Evan Brabrand (1-0, 3.75), Will Gilbert, and Tommy DeJuneas finished the rest of the way for State. The trio combined for five strikeouts while only surrendering two hits and a walk across three shutout innings. Brabrand took the win while DeJuneas picked up his second save of the season.
Preston Palmeiro shined at the plate, ending the game 2-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and both of the Pack’s runs scored. The junior Colleyville, Texas native hit his two-baggers in the sixth and eighth inning.
Andrew Knizner scored Palmeiro in the sixth with an RBI single while Chance Shepard plated Palmeiro with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Knizner finished 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk while Shepard ended the game 0-for-3 with three strikeout, ending his streak of six consecutive games with a home run.
“With Knizner and Chance behind me, they’re the big-time RBI guys,” Palmeiro said. “For me and [Josh] McLain, we just have to get on and do what we can. I knew getting on base would give them a shot to get us some runs.”
NC State will return to action Sunday at 1 pm at Doak Field at Dail Park where the Wolfpack will take on Bucknell.
“What’s going to be tough for us is a short turnaround from this emotional game,” Avent said. “That’s our biggest challenge. We can’t control what Bucknell does or how good they are, but we can control NC State. Our leaders are going to have to get our players ready to play.”