No. 6 NC State (29-11, 10-6 ACC) avenged its 12-run loss to No. 17 East Carolina (26-15, 7-5 AAC) on April 19 with a dominant win over the Pirates Monday evening at Doak Field at Dail Park, 6-1.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” head coach Elliott Avent said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got to get healthy.”
Evan Mendoza led the way offensively for the Wolfpack with the team’s only multi-hit effort. Mendoza finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a three-run home run in the second inning and four runs driven in over the course of the game.
“That was a good kick-starter for the game,” Mendoza said. “That kind of set the tone for the game. Everyone knows we played them last week, and they got the better of us. Getting that early lead definitely helped our ball club win the game.”
Ryan Williamson (7-1, 3.12 ERA) picked up the win after 6-2/3 innings on the mound. He gave up the only ECU run on six hits and three walks while striking out two.
“Tonight, my fastball inside was really working for me,” Williamson said. “Hats off to ECU. They are a very disciplined ball club, and they had really good at-bats tonight.”
Evan Brabrand, Travis Orwig, and Tommy DeJuneas finished the final 2-1/3 innings. Brabrand gave up a walk while striking out a Pirate batter while DeJuneas surrendered two hits in his lone inning on the mound.
After ECU plated a run in the top of the second, the Pack responded with four in the bottom half. Preston Palmeiro knocked a one-out single up the middle followed by a walk to Chance Shepard. Brett Kinneman plated Palmeiro with a double into right field to set up Mendoza for his three-run bomb at the left-field foul pole, originally ruled a foul ball before getting overturned by the umpires.
“I thought it was foul,” Mendoza said. “The third-base umpire said it was foul. I’m not the biggest power hitter, so I don’t get a hold of balls too often. My first thought was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. It goes foul when I actually get a hold of one?’ I was extremely happy when it was overruled.”
The Pack added an insurance run in the sixth. Kinneman drew a one-out walk and then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Mendoza drove him in with a single up the middle to pad the team’s lead.
State’s final run came in the bottom of the eighth. Palmeiro walked to lead off the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Shepard. Two batters later, Mendoza reached base on a throwing error. Palmeiro took advantage of the miscue to cross the plate for the Pack’s final run.
NC State will return to action Friday at 6:30 pm to take on Duke in the first game of its three-game series.