RALEIGH, N.C. — No. 8 NC State (2-4, 0-3 ACC) began its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Friday afternoon with a three-game series versus No. 15 Georgia Tech (6-1, 3-0 ACC).
By the end of the weekend, the Wolfpack found itself in the worst possible scenario in terms of the standings as the Yellow Jackets left Doak Field with all three victories.
GAME ONE: Georgia Tech 9, NC State 2
The Pack fell behind with five runs allowed in the first four innings and never recovered as State dropped its first game in a contest that ended Saturday afternoon due to a rain-induced suspension, 9-2.
Junior left-handed pitcher Evan Justice (0-1, 7.94 ERA) picked up the loss after giving up five runs on six hits and three walks in his four innings of work. The Richmond, Va. native struck out six Tech batters before getting lifted in favor of sophomore right-hander Baker Nelson.
Nelson allowed three more runs on three hits and two walks in 2-1/3 innings. Freshman righty Cooper King made his collegiate debut after Nelson’s performance and kept the Yellow Jackets at bay in his 1-2/3 innings before another debuting freshman, southpaw Cameron Arnold, allowed one run on two hits and a walk in the ninth inning.
After Georgia Tech plated its first three runs in the top of the second inning, the Wolfpack brought its first run home in the bottom half. Junior left fielder Jonny Butler got beaned to lead off. Two batter later, junior center fielder Terrell Tatum reached second on a Yellow Jacket error, allowing Butler to take second. Junior second baseman J.T. Jarrett grounded out to shortstop to drive Butler home.
The Yellow Jackets drove in two runs on a single in the fourth inning before extending the lead further with three runs in the seventh. State’s offense brought another run home after the seventh-inning stretch. Freshman Eddie Eisert entered the game as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, the Fairfax Station, Va. product came home on an RBI single by sophomore shortstop Vojtech Mensik. Georgia Tech managed one more run in the ninth before holding the Pack scoreless in the home half of the frame to secure the win.
GAME TWO: Georgia Tech 8, NC State 3
After a strong pitching duel through the first six innings, the Yellow Jackets used a five-run seventh inning to pull away from the Wolfpack to get the series-clinching win Saturday afternoon, 8-3.
Freshman right-hander Sam Highfill pitched a strong outing despite surrendering three runs. The Apex, N.C. native struck out seven batters while allowing six hits and one walk.
Senior left-handed pitcher Kent Klyman (1-2, 13.50 ERA) came into the game in the seventh inning and gave up a walk, a hit batsman, and back-to-back home runs to pick up the loss. Freshman righty Matt Willadsen allowed a home run to the first batter he faced but only gave up one walk after that in his three innings of relief.
After the Georgia Tech plated two runs in the top of the first, sophomore catcher Luca Tresh belted a solo home run to left to trim the Yellow Jackets’ lead in half. Two innings later, junior first baseman Austin Murr tied the score with a solo shot of his own.
The Wolfpack took its first lead of the series in the bottom of the fourth inning when Tresh clobbered his second homer of the game to lead off. However, the lead would vanish with the Tech offense tying the game in the sixth before breaking the game open with the five-run seventh.
GAME THREE: Georgia Tech 8, NC State 4
With the series already lost, NC State looked to keep Georgia Tech from getting the sweep. However, the Yellow Jackets staved off the Wolfpack offense after taking a four-run lead in the first inning.
Seemingly matching any production State would muster, Tech took the win and the sweep Sunday afternoon, 8-4.
Freshman righty Chris Villaman (0-1, 9.82 ERA) picked up the loss after giving up Georgia Tech’s four runs while only recording two outs. Junior right-hander Reid Johnston kept the Jackets at bay afterward, allowing just two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out three batters in 4-2/3 innings.
Two innings from junior lefty Canaan Silver followed as the Nebo. N.C. native struck out two and walked one while allowing one run on three hits. After 1/3 inning each from King and freshman southpaw Tristan Sipple, redshirt junior right-hander Dalton Feeney finished the ninth with one hit allowed.
The first Wolfpack run came in the bottom of the third inning. Mensik led off by getting beaned. Two batters later, Murr singled through the right side, moving Mensik to third. Jarrett followed with a sacrifice bunt that drove the Brno, Czech Republic product home.
Georgia Tech answered with a run scored in the fourth inning. The Pack responded in the bottom of the fifth with yet another run. Murr led off with a double down the right-field line. After advancing to third on a Jarrett fly-out, Murr scored on a single to left field by Butler two batters later. However, the Yellow Jackers would bring another run home in the top of the sixth.
Following the seventh-inning stretch, Tresh hit a one-out homer to left-center field for his third of the series and fifth of the 2021 season. After two more runs from Georgia Tech, the Wolfpack plated its final runner in the bottom of the ninth. Murr led off by drawing a full-count walk. After moving to second and third respectively on back-to-back groundouts, the Denmark Township, Minn. native scored on a wild pitch. The Pack managed to get two more runners on base, but the game ended with the potential tying run stranded in the on-deck circle.
The Wolfpack will return to action on Tuesday, March 2 as Doak Field will host Campbell. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.