The Wolfpack wraps up its first conference series of the season with dominant wins Saturday and Sunday to secure the three-game sweep.
After a comeback win on Friday, No. 5 NC State (15-0, 3-0 ACC) left no room for doubt in the final two games in its series against Pittsburgh (6-7, 0-3 ACC). With wins on Saturday and Sunday, the Wolfpack continues its program-best, season-opening win streak.
SATURDAY — NC State 21, Pittsburgh 3
In a game with a result more indicative of a football matchup, the Pack bludgeoned the Panthers’ pitching Saturday afternoon to come away with the series-clinching victory, 21-3.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Canaan Silver started on the mound, but the Nebo, N.C. product left the game after giving up all three Pitt runs, albeit unearned, while only recording two outs. Junior right-hander Alec Barger followed Silver and held the Pitt offense at bay for 1-2/3 innings.
Junior righty Andrew Blake (1-0, 3.97 ERA) succeeded Barger and picked up the win after 4-1/3 innings of shutout baseball. The Lewisville, N.C. native only allowed one hit and two walks while striking out five Panther batters. Sophomore left-hander David Harrison and junior right-hander Mathieu Gauthier pitched the final 2-1/3 frames.
With the Panthers taking an early three-run lead in the top of the first inning, the Wolfpack responded with two runs in the bottom of the first. Sophomore left fielder Jonny Butler led off with a single, and junior shortstop Will Wilson followed with a walk. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, senior first baseman Evan Edwards reached on an error that allowed Butler and Wilson to score.
The Pack tied the game in the bottom of the third. Sophomore catcher Patrick Bailey reached base on a one-out triple. Two batters later, junior designated hitter Brad Debo drove Bailey home with an RBI single.
The floodgates broke open for the Wolfpack in the bottom of the fourth as NC State brought eight runners home in the inning. Sophomore right fielder Terrell Tatum, sophomore second baseman J.T. Jarrett, and Butler reach on back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases with Jarrett’s and Butler’s base hits coming via bunt. Wilson drove Tatum in with a single while Edwards followed with a double that brought Jarrett and Butler home. Bailey doubled afterward to plate Wilson and Edwards. Two batters later, Debo reached on a Pitt error, allowing Bailey to score.
Freshman third baseman Vojtech Mensik followed Debo’s at-bat with a single that moved Debo to third. After Mensik stole second base, a balk brought Debo home and moved Mensik to third. Tatum singled in the second time in the inning to drive Mensik home. After the fourth-inning onslaught ended, the Pack tacked on another run in the next inning as freshman center fielder Tyler McDonough singled to plate Bailey who reached on a one-out double.
Later in the seventh inning, State put two more runs on the board. Freshman catcher Luca Tresh and redshirt freshman outfielder Thayer Thomas, pinch-hitting for Bailey and McDonough respectively, hit back-to-back home runs for each of their first collegiate home runs. Thomas’ bomb marked the first for a Wolfpack baseball/football player since current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson last did so in 2010.
Continuing to pour it on, the Pack’s scoring culminated with seven runs in the eighth inning. Sophomore infielder David Vazquez, pinch-hitting for Mensik, doubled to lead off the frame. Redshirt junior infielder Dillon Cooper, who had previously replaced Tatum in right field before later moving to shortstop, followed with a single. Jarrett then singled to bring Vazquez home.
Freshman outfielder Marek Chlup, who’d pinch-hit for Butler earlier in the game, then doubled Cooper and Jarrett home. Sophomore infielder Devonte Brown, pinch-hitting for junior outfielder Lawson McArthur, singled. Two batters later, Tresh drove Chlup in with a base hit to right field. Thomas then doubled Brown home. Debo then grounded out to second, allowing Tresh to cross the plate. Vazquez then reached on a Panther error, allowing Thomas to score the Wolfpack’s final run of the game.
SUNDAY — NC State 6, Pittsburgh 5
The Wolfpack finished off the Panthers Sunday afternoon, holding on to take the win at Doak Field, 6-5.
Sophomore right-hander Reid Johnston got the call to start the game and only allowed one run in his five innings of work, striking out five Pitt batters in the process. Sophomore southpaw Nick Swiney (1-0, 11.12 ERA) followed Johnston and, despite allowing the Panthers to tie the game, picked up the win after 2-1/3 innings. The Huntersville, N.C. product gave up three runs on three hits while striking out five batters. Redshirt sophomore right-hander Dalton Feeney picked up his third save of the year after surrendering an unearned run on three hits in 1-2/3 innings.
Mirroring what happened one day ago, the Pack scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Butler led off with a single followed by a walk to Wilson. Two batters later, Bailey doubled to bring the pair of Pack runners home.
In the second inning, the Wolfpack added another run. Vazquez, starting the game at second base, reached on a one-out single. Butler followed with a single of his own with Vazquez advancing to third. After a pop-fly to short, Vazquez scored on a balk.
The Panthers managed to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth, but NC State regained the lead in the home half of the inning with two more runs. After a leadoff single was negated by a strikeout-caught-stealing double play, Mensik and Tresh drew back-to-back walks to bring McArthur to the plate. Pinch-hitting for Vazquez, McArthur singled to bring Mensik and Tresh home.
NC State’s final run of the series came in the bottom of the seventh. Bailey and McDonough led off with a double and a single respectively. Three batters later, Debo pinch-hit for Tresh and walked to load the bases. McArthur then brought Bailey home with a walk of his own. The Panthers added two runs in the top of the eighth, but Feeney and company managed to keep the lead intact to lock down the three-game sweep.
The Wolfpack will next travel to Charlotte as NC State takes on the 49ers in BB&T Ballpark on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.