After losing the night before on a go-ahead home run by top-seeded Miami, fifth-seeded NC State (35-20) bounced back with a go-ahead home run of its own against ninth-seeded Georgia Tech (36-23) in a game that lasted 12 innings.
“The game last night took a lot of energy, but our guys refused to quit,” head coach Elliott Avent said.
After Joe Dunand reached first base on a one-out single in the top of the 12th, Brock Deatherage put the Wolfpack ahead for good with a two-run bomb over the Blue Monster in left field as State took the victory Friday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, 7-5.
“At first, I didn’t really know it actually happened,” Deatherage said. “I knew the wall was big, so I thought I maybe hit a double off the wall. I got to first, and Coach [Taylor] Black, our first base coach, was whooping and hollering. After that, I knew it went over.”
Brian Brown started on the mound against the Yellow Jackets and gave up five runs on six hits in four innings of work. He struck out five and walked one before giving way to Chris Williams who added four innings of shutout pitching.
Austin Staley added an inning on the mound before Will Gilbert (4-1, 2.42 ERA) came on to blank Tech in two frames, earning the win. Johnny Piedmonte struck out the side in the 12th to earn his first save of the season.
State got its scoring started in the top of the second inning. After Andrew Knizner reached base with a one-out single, Brett Kinneman hit the bull overlooking left field for a two-run home run, the freshman’s fifth of the season. Chance Shepard immediately followed with 13th long ball in 2016 over the wall in center.
After the Yellow Jackets dropped five runs in the bottom of the fourth, the Pack did not score again until the top of the ninth. Shepard drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive and was replaced on the base paths by Storm Edwards. Chance’s younger brother Shane, pinch-hitting for Josh McLain, reached on a two-base error thanks to a dropped fly ball by GT center fielder Ryan Peurifoy.
“Obviously, it was kind of a fluke play,” Knizner said. “I don’t think there was a doubt in anyone’s mind in the dugout that he might drop the ball, but that’s a part of the game and a part of postseason baseball.”
Stephen Pitarra drove Edwards and Tommy DeJuneas, Shane’s pinch-runner, home with a single up the middle to send the game into extra innings, giving Deatherage the opportunity to launch his fifth homer of the season in the top of the 12th.
The Pack ends its time in the ACC Tournament 1-2 in pool play. State will now see where it will lie in the NCAA Tournament. Regional hosts will be announced Sunday evening at 8:30 pm while the rest of the field will be revealed on a selection show that will air starting at noon on ESPNU.