The Wolfpack continues its best start in 15 years, striking down the Golden Gophers in a doubleheader.
After having its series opener pushed up a day, No. 10 NC State (10-0) won back-to-back games against Minnesota (2-7) Saturday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park.
The Wolfpack’s win in the second game against the Golden Gophers marked the team’s 14th straight non-conference series win dating back to 2011. State’s 10th win to start the 2019 season also marked the Pack’s best start since the 2004 season where the team won its first 11 games.
GAME ONE: NC State, 3, Minnesota 2
The Wolfpack managed to stave off the Golden Gophers from rallying in the latter innings of the first game to secure the win, 3-2.
Junior right-handed pitcher Jason Parker (2-0, 1.26 ERA) picked up the win after giving up one run on four hits and one walk in 5-1/3 innings. The New Bern native struck out four Minnesota batters before giving way to junior left-hander Kent Klyman.
The southpaw from Jamestown, Va. surrendered one Gopher run in his 1-1/3 innings of work, striking out four batters while giving up four hits and one walk. Redshirt sophomore righty Dalton Feeney relieved Klyman and pitched the final 2-1/3 innings to pick up his second save of the season.
The Pack’s only runs of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Freshman third baseman Vojtech Mensik reached on a one-out single. After stealing second, the Brno, Czech Republic product scored on a double by junior designated hitter Brad Debo. Sophomore second baseman J.T. Jarrett followed with a two-bagger of his own to plate Debo. Sophomore left fielder Jonny Butler drove Jarrett home in the next at-bat with a single up the middle.
GAME TWO: NC State 8, Minnesota 4
After an early Golden Gopher run in the top of the first, the Wolfpack answered with six runs in the bottom of the first, propelling the team to win the latter game of the twin-billing, 8-4.
Sophomore southpaw Canaan Silver (1-0, 2.70 ERA) picked up the win after six innings of two-run baseball. The Nebo, N.C. native struck out four batters and allowed three hits and two walks in the longest outing a Wolfpack starting pitcher has had thus far this season.
Freshman righty Blake Nelson and junior right-hander Andrew Blake pitched the final three innings with Blake giving up two runs in the ninth inning. Nelson struck out three Gophers while Blake struck out two.
Butler led off the six-run first inning with a single. Following a groundout, senior first baseman Evan Edwards and sophomore catcher Patrick Bailey drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Freshman center fielder Tyler McDonough gave the Wolfpack the lead with a two-run single bring Butler and Edwards home.
Sophomore right fielder Terrell Tatum loaded the bases again with a single. Mensik followed Tatum’s base hit with a grand slam over the left-field wall, chasing Minnesota starting pitcher Sam Thoresen (0-3, 15.95 ERA) out after just 1/3 inning.
The Gophers scored another run in the top of the fourth, Debo answered in the home half of the fourth with a solo shot to left. The Pack’s final run would come in the eighth inning. McDonough led off with a single and moved to second on a throwing error. After advancing to third on a Tatum sacrifice bunt, McDonough scored on a sacrifice fly by Mensik.
The Wolfpack will conclude its series with the Golden Gophers Sunday starting at noon.
Photo by Chris Nelson