No. 13 NC State (16-7, 3-3 ACC) dropped its mid-week contest to UNCW (13-6, 0-0 CAA) Tuesday evening at Brooks Field in Wilmington, 6-3.
“[UNCW] has a really good team, and they played really well,” head coach Elliott Avent said. “I thought we played well after the fourth or fifth inning. We had good at-bats to get men on base, but when men were on base, we swung out of the zone a lot.”
Andrew Knizner led the way offensively for the Wolfpack. He finished 2-for-5 at the plate with a two-run home run in the seventh inning, his fourth of the season, and an RBI double in the ninth.
“It was a tough game,” Knizner said. “UNCW came in ready to hit from the first inning. We would have liked to pull that win out, but we have to take the positives and keep working on them and find the things we didn’t do quite well and improve on them for the future.”
Christian Demby (0-1, 5.60 ERA) started his first collegiate game and surrendered four runs on four hits while striking out two and walking one en route to the loss.
Cory Wilder succeed Demby and gave up two runs on a hit and three walks. Wilder struck out three Seahawks in two innings of work.
Austin Staley, Travis Orwig, and Karl Keglovits finished the way for State. The trio combined for two strikeouts and two walks while only allowing two hits in three innings.
UNCW were led by Brian Mims and Nick Feight, each with home runs in the contest. Mims finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored along with his fourth homer of the season. Feight was 1-for-4 with his seventh four-bagger of the year and two runs driven in, giving him 34 RBI on the season.
After falling behind 4-0 after three innings, State plated a run in the top of the fourth. After Brock Deatherage led off with a walk, Stephen Pitarra singled two batters later. Deatherage came home two Pack batters after that on a Preston Palmeiro two-out single into right field.
The Pack was silent until the seventh inning when Knizner homered with two outs to cut the UNCW lead to 6-3. Deatherage, who had been hit by a pitch in the previous at-bat, also came in to score on the play.
“They were coming at me all day with fastballs,” Knizner said. “I just sat on that, and I finally found one over the plate that was good enough to hit. I put a good swing on it, and that’s all I can control. It happened to go over the fence, and it kind of gave us momentum.”
State attempted a rally in the ninth. Josh McLain led off the inning with a double down the left-field line. After a Deatherage strikeout, Knizner doubled into deep left-center to plate McLain. However, a Pitarra lineout and a Chance Shepard strikeout preserved the win for the Seahawks.
NC State returns to action on Friday as the Wolfpack travels to Tallahassee, Fla. to face No. 11 Florida State (16-5, 5-1 ACC). First pitch is set for 6 pm.
“From a confidence level, we’re there,” Knizner said. “We’re ready to face that tough environment and face a quality team in Florida State. This will be a good ACC matchup, and hopefully we’ll pull out a few wins down there.”