Evan Edwards leads the way with an impressive offensive showing as the Wolfpack dominate over Bucknell.
NC State (1-0) began the 2019 season with a bang Friday afternoon with a commanding win over Bucknell (0-1) at Doak Field at Dail Park, 8-2.
Senior first baseman Evan Edwards led the way for the Wolfpack, falling just a single short of the cycle in a 3-for-4 performance with three runs batted in and three runs scored. Junior shortstop Will Wilson finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a run.
Junior right-handed pitcher Jason Parker (1-0, 1.80 ERA) picked up the win in his debut in an NC State uniform. The New Bern product pitched five innings, only giving up one run on four hits while striking out four Bison batters. Redshirt sophomore right-hander Dalton Feeney succeeded Parker with two flawless frames in which he struck out two.
Freshman righty Baker Nelson, sophomore left-hander David Harrison, and redshirt senior right-hander Nolan Clenney pitched the final two innings with Clenney striking out one batter while Nelson was charged with one run.
The Pack struck early with two runs in the first inning. Sophomore left fielder Jonny Butler drew a leadoff walk before coming around to score three batters later on a two-run home run by Edwards.
After Bucknell scored a run in the top of the third inning on a single by Evan Madigan, State struck hard with three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Wilson led off with a double and scored one batter later on a single by sophomore catcher Patrick Bailey. Edwards followed with a triple to drive Bailey home. After sophomore third baseman David Vazquez and freshman center fielder Tyler McDonough drew walks to load the bases, sophomore second baseman J.T. Jarrett drew a walk to bring Edwards in to score.
Both teams were held scoreless for the next two innings before the Wolfpack brought in two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Edwards doubled to start the inning before Debo singled him home. Two batters later, McDonough drew a walk. After a pitching change, redshirt freshman outfielder Thayer Thomas entered the game as a pinch-hitter and singled to load the bases. Jarrett popped out to second in the next at-bat, but Bucknell second baseman Caleb Broughton dropped the ball after the batter was ruled out. Debo tagged and scored from third, but McDonough failed to tag at second, allowing the Bison defense to end the inning by throwing him out.
The final Pack run came in the bottom of the eighth. Freshman outfielder Marek Chlup, pinch-hitting for Debo, drew a leadoff walk before advancing to second and third on back-to-back wild pitches. Freshman infielder Vojtech Mensik, pinch-hitting for Vazquez, ended the plate appearance with a walk to bring McDonough to the plate. The Liberty Township, Ohio product then drove Chlup home on a sacrifice fly. The Bucknell offense would follow with one more run in the ninth, but the Pack would shut the door on its first win of the young 2019 campaign.
The series between the Wolfpack and the Bison will continue Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. before wrapping up Sunday starting at 1 p.m.