The Wolfpack opens the 2020 season with a three-game sweep over James Madison.

No. 16 NC State (3-0) showcased its potential for the 2020 campaign by winning all three of its games versus James Madison (0-3) on opening weekend.

FRIDAY: NC State 4, James Madison 0

Junior left-handed pitcher Nick Swiney (1-0, 0.00 ERA) started the Wolfpack’s season off with 11 strikeouts in seven shutout innings as State blanked the Dukes Friday afternoon, 4-0.

After Swiney’s strong performance on the mound, sophomore right-hander Baker Nelson hurled 1-2/3 innings before getting lifted with two runners on and two away in the ninth. Senior southpaw Kent Klyman retired the final batter to pick up his first save of the year.

State started the scoring in the second inning with a two-run home run by junior left fielder Jonny Butler. Junior right fielder Devonte Brown, who led off the frame with a double, also scored on the four-bagger.

The Pack added an additional run in the fifth inning. Junior catcher Patrick Bailey drew a two-out, four-pitch walk before Brown doubled to right-center to bring him home. The final insurance run came in the seventh when junior first baseman Austin Murr doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on another wild pitch.

SATURDAY: NC State 9, James Madison 6

The Wolfpack rallied in the eighth inning with five runs in Saturday’s contest to take the win, 9-6.

Freshman right-hander Matt Willadsen surrendered four runs, three earned, in his first collegiate start, lasting 2-1/3 innings before getting pulled in favor of junior lefty Evan Justice.

Justice gave up a run in his 2-2/3 innings of work with three strikeouts. Freshman righty Sam Highfill (1-0, 3.00 ERA) succeeded him with three innings on the bump, giving up one run en route to the win. Klyman pitched a spotless ninth after the Pack took the lead to secure the save.

Murr kicked the scoring off immediately with a leadoff homer, his first in an NC State uniform. Bailey drew a one-out walk followed by a Brown single. Butler drove Bailey home on a fielder’s choice, beating out what could have been an inning-ending double play ball with Brown out at second.

One inning later, the Pack brought two more runners home. Junior left fielder Terrell Tatum drew a leadoff walk, stole second, then scored on an RBI single by freshman shortstop Jose Torres. Murr followed with a base hit of his own while Torres scampered to third on the play. Two batters later, Torres would score on a wild pitch.

The Dukes managed to tie the score in the third inning with four runs before taking the lead in the fourth. After an additional run by JMU in the top of the eighth, the Wolfpack started its rally in the home half of the frame.

Junior second baseman J.T. Jarrett led off with a single. Sophomore outfielder Marek Chlup followed with a pinch-hit single before getting replaced on the base paths by sophomore infielder Vojtech Mensik. After the two runners moved to second and third on a balk, Murr plated Jarrett and Mensik with a double to right-center.

Sophomore utility player Tyler McDonough singled and stole second after Murr’s two-bagger. Bailey then walked to load the bases. Brown reached on a fielder’s choice with Murr getting forced out at the plate, but Butler drove McDonough and Bailey home with a single through the right side. Brown, who moved to third on Butler’s base hit, scored on a wild pitch for the Wolfpack’s final run of the game.

SUNDAY: NC State 11, James Madison 2

The bats came alive for NC State in the series finale with the Pack scoring in six of the first seven innings to secure the sweep over JMU, 11-2.

Freshman southpaw Chris Villaman started on the mound but got lifted after 1-2/3 innings during which he allowed one run on one hit, one walk, and one hit batsman. Redshirt junior right-hander Dalton Feeney (1-0, 0.00 ERA) picked up the win after 3-1/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowing four hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

Junior left-hander Canaan Silver and redshirt junior right-hander Logan Bender each provided an inning of work on the mound. Junior righty Reid Johnston pitched the final two innings, surrendering a run on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.

Brown started the scoring for the Wolfpack in the first inning with a two-run single that brought in Murr and McDonough who led off with back-to-back walks then moved into scoring position on a double-steal. In the next inning, Torres doubled to drive Willadsen, the Pack’s designated hitter on Sunday, home after the Holly Springs, N.C. native led off with a walk and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Jarrett.

The Wolfpack followed by pushing three runs across in the third inning. Bailey led off with a single. Two batters later, Butler doubled with Bailey reaching third. Chlup then got beaned to load the bases. Willadsen and Jarrett plated Bailey and Butler respectively on back-to-back singles. Torres then reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Chlup to score, but the inning ended on the play as both Jarrett and Willadsen were out on the base paths.

The scoring onslaught continued in the next frame as State brought in three more runs in the fourth. McDonough reached on a one-out single and then stole second base before a walk was issued to Bailey. After the runners executed a double steal to advance to second and third, Brown doubled McDonough and Bailey home. Butler then pounded a single to right-center to bring Brown home.

After a silent fifth, another run was tacked on in the sixth for the Pack. Brown and Butler reached on back-to-back one-out singles. Two batters later, freshman two-way player C.J. Neese singled to bring Brown home, but senior outfielder Lawson McArthur, pinch-running for Butler, was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

The final insurance run for State came in the seventh. Jarrett led off with a double then advanced to third two batters later on a groundout. McDonough then brought Jarrett in to score on a single to left field.

The Wolfpack will return to action Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. as Longwood comes to Doak Field to challenge NC State.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: