The NC State club baseball team excelled in its fall season opener against Wake Forest, taking down the Demon Deacons in a doubleheader, 6-1 and 2-1 at Optimist Park.
With the first pitch of the first game set for 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning, the Wolfpack started off slow, not being able to plate a run until the bottom of the fourth. Luckily, NC State’s pitching and defense showcased with an impressive performance, only allowing one run for the entire seven innings.
Junior pitcher Jake Gibson got the start on the mound for the Pack, striking out two before giving up a few singles to right field, allowing Wake Forest to climb to the lead, 1-0 in the second.
With a pitching change in the fourth for the Deacons, NC State began its comeback with a leadoff double from senior Sam Schneggenburger. Sophomore Ty Causby came to the plate, but grounded out to second base, moving Schneggenburger to third with just one away. With the Pack in scoring position, freshman Cory Kowitz walked up to the plate looking for a way to put the ball into play to tie up the game. Knocking up a sac-fly to center field, Kowitz did just that before an infield fly ended the inning with the score tied, 1-1.
Sophomore Ryan Sholar had a shining outing on the bump as he sat down three swinging batters to make it a quick fifth inning.
NC State came out swinging yet again in the bottom half of the fifth to increase its lead by three after back-to-back errors from Wake’s second baseman allowed for senior Nate Williams to single up the middle, pushing Ian Mizelle across home plate.
Sophomore Bailey Jones worked out a sac-fly to right field, scoring Williams and putting freshman Zach Pittman on third with just one away. After a ground ball to third, freshman Tanner Sullivan sneaked a grounder through the right side to increase the Pack’s lead, 4-1 before a fly ball ended the inning.
After another quick defensive half in the sixth, NC State managed to plate two more runs after Pittman smashed a double to left field, sending Kowitz home and Williams to third with two away. A passed ball allowed the runner on third to race home before a ground ball ended the threat.
The Wolfpack closed out its first game with the Deacons in the top of the seventh after an easy three-up, three-down inning to secure its first win of the fall season, 6-1.
NC State gathered its second win of the season immediately after game one, as it took down Wake Forest 2-1.
The scoring began early on for the teams as the Deacons came out on top first in the third inning after a leadoff walk and single to center field put runners on the corners with no outs. With a pitching change bringing in freshman Jake Haufler, the Pack struck one out before a fielder’s choice brought in the first run of the game. After another swinging strikeout, NC State came back into the dugout to prepare for its comeback.
Senior Justin Cook, freshman Austin Luttrell and junior Andrew Phillips led off the bottom of the frame with singles to the outfield, before senior Casey Ritchie smashed an RBI sac-fly to left field tying up the game 1-1. Two more flyouts ultimately ended the inning, but when the fourth rolled around, the Pack came back out offensively to take the lead.
Senior Clayton Hansen began the frame by reaching first on a dropped third strike and was quickly followed by a walk from Sholar, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Cook smacked a single through the left side and Hansen sped around the bases for the Pack to take the lead 2-1.
The remainder of the game was a back-and-forth defensive match before Sullivan ended the game on the mound with a pair of fly outs.
Up next, NC State will host UNC-Charlotte on October 19-20 at Optimist Park with an 11:00 a.m. start time for both days.