RALEIGH, N.C. — No. 7 NC State (6-0) continued its dominant start to the 2022 season with a commanding win over visiting Quinnipiac (1-3) Friday evening at Doak Field, 10-4.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Sam Highfill started on the mound for the Wolfpack and surrendered two runs on just two hits and one walk while striking out seven Bobcats in four innings. Sophomore right-hander Garrett Payne (1-0, 1.50 ERA) picked up his first collegiate win after two innings of relief. The Charlottesville, Va. native yielded two runs, one earned, on two hits with three strikeouts before exiting the game.

Following Payne, senior southpaw Canaan Silver surrendered just one hit in two shutout innings on the bump. Sophomore left-hander Chris Villaman succeeded Silver and hurled a 1-2-3 ninth inning to lock down the win for State.

The Pack put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning, State’s third straight game scoring in its first opportunity. Sophomore left fielder LuJames Groover, III and redshirt junior third baseman Josh Hood reached on back-to-back singles before sophomore designated hitter Eddie Eisert walked to load the bases. Bobcat left-handed pitcher Brandyn Garcia (0-2, 11.00 ERA) then beaned senior second baseman J.T. Jarrett and freshman right fielder Will Marcy in back-to-back plate appearances to bring Groover and Hood, respectively, home to score.

Quinnipiac managed to tie the game in the top of the fourth, but State broke the game open with five runs in the home half. Jarrett led off with a single but was forced out at second with Marcy reaching base on a fielder’s choice. Freshman catcher Jacob Cozart then singled, moving Marcy to third base for freshman shortstop Payton Green who drove Marcy home with an RBI single. Garcia then beaned senior center fielder Devonte Brown to bring freshman first baseman Tommy White to the plate. The ACC’s leader in home runs heading into the weekend, White pummeled Garcia’s 1-1 offering over the wall for his sixth home run of the season and his second career grand slam.

After the Bobcats managed to score another run in the top of the fifth, the Pack added its final three runs in the home half of the inning. Green reached base on a two-out double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored as Brown strolled to first base on an errant ball four. White immediately repeated his feat from the inning prior, blasting a two-run homer over the wall in straightaway center field. Quinnipiac managed to score another run in the top of the sixth, but NC State held on to secure the victory.

The Wolfpack returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 26 for the second game of its three-game series with the Bobcats. First pitch from Doak Field is set for 2 p.m.

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