The Wolfpack unleashes an offensive onslaught to sweep Tennessee Tech

No. 12 NC State (7-0) finished the weekend with its perfect record intact as the Wolfpack breezed past Tennessee Tech (3-3) in its three-games series at Doak Field.

SATURDAY (GAME 1): NC State 8, Tennessee Tech 2

After Friday’s game got pushed to Saturday due to snow, the Pack started the doubleheader with a dominant win, 8-2.

Junior left-handed pitcher Nick Swiney (2-0, 1.38 ERA) carried the momentum from his season-opener start by once again striking out 11 batters, matching his career high. The Huntersville, N.C. native surrendered the Golden Eagles’ only two runs of the game on five hits and two walks in his six innings of work, picking up the win. Sophomore right-hander Baker Nelson picked up his first save of the season after three perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts.

Tennessee Tech scored the game’s first run in the first inning, but junior catcher Patrick Bailey matched that run with a solo home run, the first of four homers for the Pack in the series opener. In the next inning, State took the lead with another run. Junior left fielder Jonny Butler drew a leadoff walk then moved to third by stealing two bases. Junior second baseman J.T. Jarrett then drove him in with a groundout.

Junior right fielder Devonte Brown led off the fourth inning with a solo home run. Three batters later, Jarrett walked then moved to second on a passed ball before scoring on a two-run homer by sophomore third baseman Vojtech Mensik.

After the three-run fourth inning, State tacked on another run in the fifth. Sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough led off with a single and later motored around to third base on an errant pickoff attempt. Brown plated him with a sacrifice fly.

State managed to bring another run home in the seventh. Junior first baseman Austin Murr walked to start the frame before moving to second on a wild pitch and to third on a McDonough single. Bailey then drove Murr home with an infield single. Mensik then tacked on the final insurance run in the eighth with his second home run of the game, a solo shot to left.

SATURDAY (GAME 2): NC State 10, Tennessee Tech 3

The second half of the doubleheader saw the Wolfpack pummel the Golden Eagles’ pitching with a commanding win to clinch the series, 10-3.

Junior righty Reid Johnston started on the mound but left the game after giving up two runs on four hits and a hit batsman on 3-1/3 innings of work with five strikeouts to his credit. Freshman right-handed pitcher Sam Highfill (2-0, 2.35 ERA) picked up where Johnston left off and earned the win after hurling 4-2/3 innings on the mound, striking out eight batters while yielding a run on five hits. Sophomore right-hander Andrew Tillery pitched the ninth inning to finish the game, ceding one run while striking out two batters.

Much like the first game, Tennessee Tech drew first blood with the Pack tying the score in the home half of the first. Murr led off with a double, moved to third on a fly-out, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bailey.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the third when the NC State offense broke through with five runs. Freshman shortstop Jose Torres reached base with a one-out single. Murr then got beaned. McDonough followed with a single to load the bases for Bailey who pummeled the first pitch he saw over the wall in left-center for a grand slam. Brown followed the home run with a single before moving into scoring position with a stolen base. Butler capitalized with a double down the right-field line that brought Brown home.

Two more runs came in to score for the Pack one inning later. Jarrett ripped his first career home run at Doak Field over the wall in left-center. Torres followed with a single before moving to third on a double by Murr. McDonough then grounded out to bring Torres home.

After a silent fifth, State added a run in the sixth. Senior catcher Brad Debo started the inning with a double, moving to third on a groundout. Two batters later, Murr doubled to push Debo across the plate. One inning later, Mensik led off by reaching on an error, stole second, moved to third on a balk, and scored on a Jarrett single.

SUNDAY: NC State 15, Tennessee Tech 1

Looking to complete the sweep, the Wolfpack unloaded on the Golden Eagles and cruised to victory Sunday afternoon, 15-1.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Chris Villaman (1-0, 0.93 ERA) pitched four innings of no-hit baseball while on a pitch-count limit, earning his first collegiate win in the process. The former Ledford HS standout struck out five batters and allowed one walk before a cavalcade of relievers followed him.

Redshirt junior right-hander Dalton Feeney, junior southpaws Evan Justice and Canaan Silver, freshman righty Austin Pace, and senior left-hander Kent Klyman each pitched an inning of work to close out the game. Feeney allowed the Golden Eagles’ only run of the game on three hits while Justice and Klyman each allowed a base hit. Pace struck out two batters during his time on the mound with Justice dispatching one Tech batter on strikes.

Brown drove in the first run of the game in the first inning when he doubled to bring home Bailey who had reached base on a two-out walk. One inning later, State tacked on three more runs. Senior right fielder Lawson McArthur started the frame with a single followed by a walk issued to freshman designated hitter Noah Soles. Torres got beaned to load the bases for Murr who singled to drive McArthur home. Soles later scored on a wild pitch before Torres came home on a sacrifice fly from McDonough.

The Wolfpack’s scoring exploded in the third inning as State pushed seven runs across. Butler led off with a single then moved to second on a stolen base. Two batters later, Soles doubled to bring Butler home. Torres followed with a double of his own to plate Butler. Murr then recorded NC State’s first triple of the season, bringing Torres home in the process. Bailey followed with a walk before Brown drilled a three-run home run, his third bomb of the season.

After two quiet innings, the Pack put four more runs on the board in the sixth. Brown drew a walk to start the inning. Junior infielder David Vazquez then got beaned while pinch-hitting for Butler. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Brown scored on a sacrifice fly by junior left fielder Terrell Tatum. McArthur followed with a walk before Soles singled to load the bases. Vazquez scored on a wild pitch before McArthur came home on a groundout by Mensik. Highfill, who entered the game in the top of the inning to play first base, then drove Soles home with a single to left for the final run of the game.

The Wolfpack will return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 25 versus UNCW. First pitch from Doak Field is set for 4 p.m.

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