The Wolfpack secures the best start in school history with a seventh-inning rally over Pittsburgh

No. 5 NC State (13-0, 1-0 ACC) strung together enough runs to overcome Pittsburgh (6-5, 0-1 ACC) Friday afternoon at Doak Field, 4-3.

With the series-opening win over the Panthers, the Wolfpack surpassed the 1992 squad’s 12-0 season-opening record to officially have the best start in program history.

Junior right-handed pitcher Jason Parker continued his strong start to the season with five shutout innings, striking out four Pitt batters while allowing only two hits and a walk.

Freshman right-hander Baker Nelson and sophomore lefty Evan Justice followed Parker and combined to surrender all three Panther runs in 1-2/3 innings. After redshirt senior righty Nolan Clenney allowed a hit and a walk without recording an out, junior right-hander Andrew Blake (1-0, 16.87 ERA) retired the final batter in the top of the seventh to limit the Pitt scoring to just one run in the inning.

Junior righty Michael Bienlien (2-0, 0.00 ERA) and junior southpaw Kent Klyman pitched perfect innings in the eighth and ninth respectively. Bienlien picked up the win while Klyman earned his first save of the year, bringing his career total to five.

State got on the board early with a run in the first. Junior shortstop Will Wilson reached on a one-out single then stole second in the next at-bat. Senior first baseman Evan Edwards drew a full-count walk following Wilson’s stolen base. After Edwards and Wilson moved to second and third respectively on a passed ball, sophomore catcher Patrick Bailey walked to load the bases. Freshman center fielder Tyler McDonough drove Wilson home with an RBI fielder’s choice, beating out what would have been an inning-ending double play.

With Pittsburgh taking the lead with two runs in the sixth and padding its advantage with one run in the top of the seventh, the Pack rallied after the stretch to bring in three runs.

Junior outfielder Lawson McArthur, entering the game as a pinch-hitter, led off the frame with a double. Freshman catcher/infielder Luca Tresh, coming in as a pinch-hitter walked before getting replaced on the base paths by redshirt freshman outfielder Thayer Thomas. Sophomore left fielder Jonny Butler got beaned to load the bases. Two batters later, Edwards reached on a fielder’s choice during which a Panther throwing error resulted in McArthur and Thomas scoring to tie the game. Bailey then beat out a double-play ball with an RBI fielder’s choice that brought Butler home as the go-ahead run.

The Wolfpack continues its series against the Panthers Saturday afternoon starting at 2 p.m.

Photo by Chris Nelson

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