The Wolfpack battles back to walk off in the bottom of the ninth, taking the series win over Atlantic Division foe Florida State.
Freshman center fielder Tyler McDonough singled up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive sophomore infielder Devonte Brown home to give No. 2 NC State (19-0, 5-0 ACC) the walk-off win over No. 1 Florida State (13-4, 2-3 ACC) Saturday evening at Doak Field, 9-8.
McDonough ended the evening 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, two runs batted in, and two runs scored. The Liberty Township, Ohio product now leads the team in batting with a .400 clip for the year.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Reid Johnston got the call to start on the mound, but after giving up four runs on five hits and three walks, he was replaced after two innings. Sophomore southpaw Evan Justice and freshman right-hander Baker Nelson each pitched 1-2/3 innings, surrendering one run each.
Sophomore lefty Nick Swiney came into the game after Nelson and pitched 2-1/3 innings, surrendering two Seminole runs with redshirt senior right-hander Nolan Clenney succeeding him by recording the final out in the eighth inning. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Dalton Feeney (1-0, 0.66 ERA) pitched a shutout inning in the ninth to pick up the win.
Florida State jumped ahead with a pair of runs each in the first and second innings before NC State negated the advantage in the bottom of the second. Senior first baseman Evan Edwards led off with a walk. McDonough followed with a double, moving Edwards to third. Two batters later, sophomore right fielder Terrell Tatum singled to bring both runners home. Sophomore third baseman David Vazquez then drilled a two-run home run over the wall in left for his second career bomb.
The Wolfpack took the lead, albeit briefly, in the next inning. Junior shortstop Will Wilson led off the home half of the third with a single. After moving to second on an Edwards groundout two batters later, Wilson scored on an RBI single by McDonough. Florida State then scored runs in the fourth and fifth innings to regain the lead.
The Noles padded its lead in the top of the eighth, but NC State fought back to tie the game in the home half of the same inning. After a walk to sophomore catcher Patrick Bailey, Edwards reached on a fielder’s choice that eliminated Bailey from the base paths. McDonough followed with a walk. Junior designated hitter Brad Debo then stepped to the plate to deliver the equalizer: a three-run bomb over the wall in left. The four-bagger was Debo’s second of the season and the Durham native’s seventh in a Wolfpack uniform.
Brown and Wilson led off the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back walks. After a pop-fly out, the pair of runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Following a strikeout, McDonough stepped up to deliver the walk-off base hit, giving the Pack the series win over the team many thought would win the division this year.
Looking to keep its undefeated record intact, the Wolfpack will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon. First pitch from Doak Field is set for 1 p.m.
Photo by Karl DeBlaker