After rallying to win the first game, NC State drops its series against Wake Forest on an 11th-inning walk-off.

Daniel Wilson

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — No. 20 NC State (8-8, 1-2 ACC) needed to win both games in its double-header against Wake Forest (12-5, 2-1 ACC). The Wolfpack rallied to take the first game and managed to tie in the second, but the Demon Deacons took the series with a walk-off sacrifice fly.

Game 1

The Wolfpack took advantage of 10 allowed walks from the Demon Deacons to take the first game of the double-header, 8-5.

Junior left-handed pitcher Brian Brown started on the mound and pitched three innings for State. In his first start of 2017, Brown gave up one run on three hits and three walks while striking out two.

After the Pack managed to tie the game at one apiece in the top of the fourth, freshman right-hander Mathieu Gauthier entered to pitch and gave up four runs in 2/3 inning. The Quebec native gave up five hits in his short tenure, two of which were back-to-back home runs by Bruce Steel and Keegan Maronpot.

Senior right-hander Joe O’Donnell (2-0, 1.42 ERA) cleaned up Gauthier’s mess, pitching 3-1/3 innings of shutout baseball en route to the win. The Wilmington, N.C. native only allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two before giving way to redshirt sophomore southpaw Austin Staley.

Staley silenced the Demon Deacons in two innings of work, only allowing a single hit while striking out two batters to secure his second save of the season.

The first Pack run came in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Brock Deatherage, scoring junior first baseman Shane Shepard. After the Deacons’ four-run barrage in the home half of the fourth, State came back with three runs in the fifth. Freshman second baseman Will Wilson and junior third baseman Evan Mendoza led off with back-to-back singles. After the next two batters were retired, sophomore left fielder Brett Kinneman drilled a 3-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for a three-run home run, his third of the season.

Wake’s pitching unraveled in the sixth, allowing the Pack to take the lead for good. After two quick outs, junior center fielder Josh McLain singled to keep the inning alive. He advanced to second on a wild pitch before Wilson reached base on a fielding error. Mendoza walked to load the bases before McLain broke the tie by scoring on a wild pitch. Freshman catcher Brad Debo drove in Wilson with an infield single before the Demon Deacon pitching walked three straight NC State batters with Mendoza and Debo scoring on the last two.

Game 2

After State was held without a run for seven innings, the Pack capitalized on a five-run eighth to force extra innings. However, Wake Forest defeated NC State in 11 frames, 6-5.

The Wolfpack struggled to get any offensive production off of Wake starter Donnie Sellers, but once he left the mound, State found itself back in the game after falling behind 5-0.

Sophomore designated hitter and right-handed pitcher Christian Demby (0-1, 5.00 ERA) led off the eighth inning with a single. Two batters later, junior catcher Andy Cosgrove was hit by a Sellers pitch. Deatherage followed with a single to load the bases before McLain walked to plate Demby, ending Sellers’ tenure on the mound.

Griffin Roberts, who picked up a three-inning save against State on Friday, relieved Sellers. Wilson welcomed him by launching the first pitch he saw over the fence for a game-tying grand slam.

Wake Forest was able to hold State to only eight hits with Sellers and Roberts combining for 11 strikeouts. John McCarren (2-1, 4.15 ERA), the losing pitcher in the first game of the double-header, pitched a spotless 11th to pick up the win for Wake.

Stuart Fairchild led off the 11th with a triple before Demby intentionally walked the next two batters to load the bases. Johnny Aiello became the Demon Deacons’ hero with a sacrifice fly into center field, scoring Fairchild to end the game and take the series.

NC State will return to action Tuesday afternoon as the Pack travels to Elon to take on the Phoenix. First pitch is slated for 4 pm.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: