No. 14 NC State (22-9, 7-5) battled back from a late 2-0 deficit to defeat Wake Forest (19-14, 5-9) in 10 innings Saturday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park, 3-2.
Preston Palmeiro drove in the game-winning run with a single through the right side, scoring Josh McLain from third. Palmeiro finished the evening 2-for-5 with a double, a run scored, and the RBI in the 10th inning. It was the first walk-off win for the Wolfpack since Palmeiro doubled and scored on a fielding error against Miami in State’s 5-4 victory in 12 innings in the 2015 ACC Baseball Tournament.
“This was a big win for us,” Palmeiro said. “It won the series for us, and it proves to us that we can win in any type of situation.”
McLain ended the day 3-for-5 with the deciding run. Joe Dunand also performed well at the plate on Saturday. He finished 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Brian Brown started on the mound and gave up an unearned run in six innings of work. He struck out five and walked five while only giving up four hits.
“[Brown] didn’t have his fastball command today, and that frustrated him,” head coach Elliott Avent said. “But it shows what a battler and competitor he is. He didn’t have fastball command, and he found a way to keep a great offensive lineup at a minimum.”
Sean Adler, Chris Williams, and Travis Orwig followed Brown with 1-1/3 innings of work. Adler gave up a run and struck out two while walking one. Williams also allowed a walk in his time on the mound.
Will Gilbert (3-0, 2.32 ERA) picked up the win after shutting out the Demon Deacons in 2-2/3 innings pitched. He only allowed a walk while striking out four batters.
“Wake Forest battled hard, and we battled hard,” Gilbert said. “We knew it was going to be a good-pitched game with Brian Brown out there, and it was an awesome ending.”
The Pack plated its first run in the bottom of the seventh. After Dunand led off the inning with a single, Brett Kinneman drew a one-out walk two batters later. Dunand scored two batters after that on a two-out RBI single by Ryne Willard.
State tied the game in the subsequent inning. After the first two batters were retired, Palmeiro kept the Pack’s chances alive with a double down the right-field line. Dunand plated Palmeiro with a single up the middle, tying the game at two apiece.
After failing to score in the ninth, State sealed the win in the 10th. After a Brock Deatherage strikeout, McLain doubled then moved to third in the next at-bat on a wild pitch. Andrew Knizner struck out to put Palmeiro at the plate to deliver the game-winning base hit.
NC State will return to action Monday night to conclude its series with the Demon Deacons. First pitch is slated for 7 pm, and the game will be shown nationally on ESPNU.