Will Wilson’s four RBI power the Wolfpack over in-state rival Wake Forest
In its first conference series since getting swept by North Carolina, NC State (37-12, 16-9 ACC) returned to ACC play riding a five-game winning streak and overcame Wake Forest (22-27, 11-14 ACC) to take the win Friday evening at Doak Field, 8-5.
Sophomore shortstop Will Wilson led the way with a 2-for-4 clip at the plate with a double and four runs batted in. Senior Josh McLain was 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, and two runs scored.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Reid Johnston started the game on the mound and, despite starting strong, left the game after 4-2/3 innings of work. Johnston gave up three runs and struck out six before giving way to redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Nolan Clenney.
The Demon Deacons managed to tie the game off of Clenney, sending the Novi, Mich. native out of the game after 2/3 inning. Clenney gave up two runs on two hits and a walk.
Sophomore southpaw Kent Klyman (6-2, 2.25 ERA) picked up where Clenney left off and finished the game out. The Jamestown, Va. native struck out four batters in 3-2/3 innings of work en route to the win.
The Pack struck early with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Senior third baseman Stephen Pitarra and McLain reached on back-to-back singles. Two batters later, freshman catcher Patrick Bailey reached on a fielder’s choice while McLain was forced out at second. Junior left fielder Brett Kinneman followed with a three-run home run, his 15th of the season.
State later padded its lead with two more runs in the fourth inning. Freshman second baseman J.T. Jarrett and Pitarra reached on back-to-back, one-out walks. After a wild pitch moved the pair to second and third, Wilson lined a base hit into center field two batters later to score Jarrett and Pitarra.
After the Deacons tied the game in the top of the sixth, the Pack tacked on two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Pitarra got hit by a pitch to lead off, and McLain followed with a double, moving Pitarra to third. Following a balk to push Pitarra home, Wilson hit a deep sacrifice fly to the left-center field warning track to drive in McLain.
The final insurance run came in the bottom of the eighth inning. McLain led off the frame with a triple down the right-field line. Wilson doubled into right-center to plate McLain.
The Wolfpack will face the Demon Deacons in the second of three games Saturday evening starting at 6:30 p.m.