The Wolfpack rallies with four runs in the eighth inning to pull away from the 49ers.
NC State (4-1) let a 5-0 lead slip away as Charlotte (3-1) plated six runs in the seventh inning. However, the Wolfpack wouldn’t be denied its win as four runners crossed the plate in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win Wednesday afternoon at Doak Field, 9-6.
Sophomore designated hitter and catcher Brad Debo led the way offensively, ending the game 2-for-5 at the plate with a double, two runs batted in, and one run scored. Senior center fielder Josh McLain also finished 2-for-5 at the dish with a double, an RBI, and a run.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Reid Johnston started on the mound and pitched three nearly flawless innings. He only allowed two hits and struck out two 49er batters. Freshman left-hander Nick Swiney followed with three innings of work and gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits.
Head coach Elliott Avent then turned to junior left fielder Brett Kinneman to pick up where Swiney left off. He gave up three unearned runs on two hits and two walks in 2/3 inning. He managed to strike out one batter before freshman righty Josh Pike finished the inning.
Sophomore southpaw Kent Klyman (1-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched the eighth inning, only allowing a walk en route to the win. Redshirt senior right-hander Joe O’Donnell walked one batter and hit another batter in the ninth, but he kept the Charlotte bats silent to pick up his third save of the season.
Senior right fielder Brock Deatherage got the scoring started with a two-out triple in the fourth inning. The Burlington, N.C. native crossed the plate in the next at-bat on a balk by Charlotte starting pitcher Joey Cooner.
The Pack plated four more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Debo led off with a double. Three batters later, junior pinch-hitter Evan Edwards drew a walk before getting replaced by freshman pinch-runner David Vazquez. Senior first baseman Shane Shepard plated Debo and Vazquez with a double off the wall in left field.
Redshirt sophomore second baseman Dillon Cooper followed with a single that drove Shepard home, advancing to third on a Charlotte throwing error. McLain followed suit with a double down the left-field line to bring Cooper home.
After the Niners took the lead in the seventh, the Wolfpack stormed ahead to retake the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitting for Vazquez, redshirt sophomore Steven Oakley reached on a one-out single before freshman J.T. Jarrett came in to run for him.
Shepard followed with a walk before Cooper singled to drive Jarrett home. After McLain loaded the bases with a single, Kinneman plated Shepard on a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat. Sophomore shortstop Will Wilson drew a walk to load the bases yet again before Debo singled up the middle to drive Cooper and McLain home for the Pack’s final insurance runs.
The Wolfpack will return to action on Friday as Furman comes to Raleigh for a three-game series. First pitch for game one from Doak Field is set for 3 p.m.