State Silences Central

Dunand homers twice, McLain and Kinneman with one each, in Avent’s 1,000th career win.

Daniel Wilson

RALEIGH, N.C. — NC State (21-20, 8-13 ACC) snapped its three-game losing streak with a commanding win over NC Central (17-25, 8-9 MEAC) Tuesday evening at Doak Field, 13-0.

The Wolfpack’s win marked the 1,000th career victory for head coach Elliott Avent. After eight years and 224 wins at New Mexico State, the 21-year NC State skipper picked up his 776th win in a Wolfpack uniform to become the fifth active ACC coach to reach the 1,000-win milestone, joining Florida State’s Mike Martin, Miami’s Jim Morris, UNC’s Mike Fox, and Georgia Tech’s Danny Hall.

Junior shortstop Joe Dunand led the way offensively for the Pack with a 2-for-2 showing at the plate with two home runs and five runs batted in. Junior center fielder Josh McLain and sophomore left fielder Brett Kinneman each hit homers as well with McLain ending the day 2-for-2 with three runs scored while Kinneman was 2-for-4.

Senior right-handed pitcher Cory Wilder started on the mound for the Pack and was quickly relieved by junior right-hander Tommy DeJuneas (3-0, 2.67 ERA) after Wilder only recorded one out. DeJuneas picked up the win in 4-2/3 innings of shutout baseball, holding the Eagles to two hits while striking out five and walking two.

Sophomore righty Tim Naughton picked up where DeJuneas left off with three innings of two-hit ball. The Goldsboro, N.C. native struck out three batters and walked three before junior right-hander Zach Usselman came in to pitch the ninth. The Snoqualmie, Wash. native allowed a hit but struck out two to secure the Wolfpack win.

State plated its first run in the first inning. Junior designated hitter Stephen Pitarra led off with a double and moved to third on a McLain sacrifice bunt. After a walk to freshman catcher Brad Debo, Dunand hit a sacrifice fly to plate Pitarra.

Five more runs came in the bottom of the second. Junior first baseman Shane Shepard reached base on a one-out double. Junior third baseman Evan Mendoza followed with a double of his own to drive Shepard home. After advancing to third on a groundout, Mendoza scored on a wild pitch. Pitarra reached base on a fielding error, and McLain was hit by a pitch soon after. Debo hit a triple to send Pitarra and McLain home before scoring two batters later on a passed ball.

The Wolfpack bats came alive in the fourth as State scored four runs in the frame. After a groundout to start the inning, McLain hit his third home run of the season. Debo was hit by a pitch to bring Dunand to the plate. The Miami, Fla. native drilled a two-run homer over the wall before Kinneman followed with a solo shot of his own for his seventh of 2017.

McLain led off the fifth with a single before Dunand flexed his muscles with his second home run of the game, bringing his season total to 14. The Pack’s final run came in the eighth when junior right fielder Brock Deatherage plated redshirt freshman Dillon Cooper, Mendoza’s defensive replacement at third, who led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on the hit thanks to an Eagle error.

The Wolfpack will return to action Wednesday with a road contest against East Carolina. First pitch from Greenville, N.C. is set for 7 pm.

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