RALEIGH, N.C. — No. 7 NC State (1-0) began its 2022 season violently with an incomparable victory over Evansville (0-1) Friday afternoon at Doak Field, 24-6.
Freshman first baseman Tommy White made his impression on the Wolfpack faithful immediately in his debut. The St. Pete Beach, Fla. native notched five hits in his six plate appearances with three home runs, six runs batted in, and five runs scored. Sophomore designated hitter Dominic Pilolli, also making his debut in the red and white after transferring from Charlotte, shined at the plate in a 3-for-5 showing with two homers, five RBI, and three runs scored.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Sam Highfill (1-0, 5.06 ERA) picked up the win after striking out four Purple Aces in 5-1/3 innings. He allowed three runs to score before exiting the game. After a brief stint from junior right-hander Baker Nelson, sophomore left-hander John Miralia added an inning of relief with one run allowed on one walk with two strikeouts. Freshman righty Jacob Halford retired two batters before sophomore southpaw Tristan Sipple and freshman lefty Win Scott each pitched an inning of work to close the game.
White got the scoring started early in the first inning with a solo home run on the second pitch he saw. In the second inning, the Pack lit up the scoreboard with seven runs.
Redshirt junior third baseman Josh Hood started the inning with a double. Freshman catcher Jacob Cozart followed with a single, moving Hood to third base. Senior second baseman J.T. Jarrett drove Hood home with a single with Cozart advancing to second. Two batters later, freshman shortstop Payton Green walked to load the bases for senior center fielder Devonte Brown who cleared the bags with a three-run triple. Sophomore left fielder LuJames Groover, III then doubled Brown home. Two batters later, Pilolli drilled a two-run homer to bring the score to 8-0.
After a pair of quiet innings for the Wolfpack, White and Pilolli hit back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Evansville managed to score its first three runs of the game in the top of the sixth, but State answered with four in the home half of the frame. After Green led off with a double, Brown walked. Two batters later, White drove Green home with an RBI single. Two batters later, Hood reached on an RBI double that allowed Brown to score. Cozart followed with a double of his own, this one plating both White and Hood.
The Aces managed to score another run in the top of the seventh, but the Pack added four more runs after the stretch. Green got hit by a rogue pitch to start the inning then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice hit by Groover. White drove Green home with a single. Pilolli answered with a two-run double. Hood singled afterward, and Cozart walked to load the bases. Pilolli scored on a wild pitch, but no other runs came in for NC State in the inning.
With the game already out of reach for the Aces, the Pack put the final nails in the coffin in the eighth inning with six runners crossing the plate. Groover reached on a one-out single. White drilled the second pitch he saw in the subsequent at-bat over the wall in center field. Two batters later, freshman Will Marcy singled up the middle. Junior Jacob Godman followed with a base hit of his own. Sophomore DeAngelo Giles answered with two-run double to plate the pair of NC State newcomers. Sophomore Eddie Eisert then singled before coming home with Giles on a two-run double by Green to cap off the night.
The Wolfpack’s series with the Purple Aces continues Saturday, Feb. 19 with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.