NC State baseball finished its weekend strong with an 8-2 win over Pitt, completing the sweep on senior day.
The Wolfpack (34-18, 13-16 ACC) entered the weekend in need of a strong showing to have any chance of making the NCAA tournament. While the Wolfpack is far from a lock and will need to continue winning in the ACC tournament, NC State did what it could with three consecutive wins over the Panthers (23-30, 10-18 ACC).
Pitt opened the game with a walk, before stealing to second. Despite the initial danger that junior right-handed pitcher Sam Highfill found himself in, the Panthers were unable to capitalize. The Pack also had a chance to score in the first when junior third baseman LuJames Grover III reached third off a hit from sophomore catcher Jacob Cozart. However, a line out ended the inning, stranding a pair of Pack runners.
Both teams got on the scoreboard during the second, with each team scoring once. After walking a runner, the Pack committed an error in the outfield, resulting in Pitt’s first run. However, the Panther lead was short-lived; graduate center fielder Parker Nolan blasted a solo home run.
The third inning was uneventful for both teams, as neither had much success at the plate. However, in the fourth, NC State pulled ahead for a slight lead. With one runner on, freshman Eli Serrano III nailed a double to drive in the runner, putting the Wolfpack up 2-1.
The Panthers quickly struck back with a homer in the fifth to even the score. However, things quickly went downhill for Pitt as the Wolfpack responded with a monster sixth inning.
Early in the frame, Cozart drilled a homer past left field to give the Pack a two-run field. Later, with the Pack up 4-2, Nolan hit his second homer of the night, which tacked on another pair of runs. With a 6-2 lead, NC State seized the game’s momentum and held the lead for the remainder of the game.
Perfect time to reach double digits in homers, Zart 💪 pic.twitter.com/2KcYdYyD1v— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) May 20, 2023
After the sixth, Pitt’s offense came out deflated. With junior right handed pitcher Justin Lawson entering the game to relieve Highfill, the Panthers failed to get a hit. In the eighth, the Panthers made some noise via a hit and two walks, but Lawson navigated the situation skillfully and picked a couple strikeouts before the end of the frame.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Pack added a couple more runs to seal the win. With one on base and freshman second baseman Matt Heavner at the plate, NC State got its fourth home run of the day making the score 8-2. Pitt failed to rally in the ninth and NC State secured a senior day victory.
#ICYMI, another look at @matt_heavner's first-career homer in today's 8-2 win over Pitt 💪 pic.twitter.com/FEy9q8IOIs— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) May 20, 2023
The Wolfpack will return to the diamond Tuesday, May 23 in the ACC tournament. The Pack will be in pool D, which includes Miami and Duke.
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