The NC State baseball team beat the No. 16 Pitt Panthers 3-2 on Friday, May 14 in the series opener in Pittsburgh.
DOWN GOES #16 PITT!!! pic.twitter.com/rtAXl4DIOf— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) May 15, 2021
After giving up two runs in the second inning, the Wolfpack (24-14, 15-13 ACC) kept the Panthers (22-14, 16-12 ACC) off the board the rest of the game and scored a run in both the fifth and seventh innings to get the win.
The Pack got on the board first in the top of the second as junior first baseman Austin Murr (3-4, RBI, 3B, BB) hit an RBI single that scored sophomore third baseman Vojtech Mensik (1-3, BB) to put the Pack up 1-0.
The Panthers then responded in the bottom of the second with a solo home run to lead off the inning and an RBI single with two outs to go up 2-1.
After two scoreless innings by both teams, the Pack got on the board again in the top of the fifth as sophomore catcher Luca Tresh (1-4, RBI) hit a double that scored sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough (1-4, BB) to tie it up 2-2.
Then in the top of the seventh, Murr hit a triple and scored on a wild pitch during the following at-bat to put the Pack up 3-2.
In the bottom of the eighth, junior starting pitcher Reid Johnston (7.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 9 K) was replaced by junior pitcher Evan Justice (1.2 IP, 4 K), who eventually found himself with two runners in scoring position after one runner advanced twice due to wild pitches. However, Justice struck out the last two batters in the eighth to keep the Panthers off the board and struck out two in the ninth, including the last batter, to clinch the win for the Pack.
The Pack proved why it is one of the best fielding teams in the country as several players made excellent defensive plays, including athletic plays by Mensik in the second inning and junior second baseman J.T. Jarrett (0-4) in the eighth to force outs, and some great defensive play by Tresh behind home plate in the eighth to prevent a potential game-tying run on a wild pitch.
While the Pack finished with 10 hits, it was just 2-13 converting with runners in scoring position, something the team will look to clean up the rest of the series.
Johnston earned the win after giving up two runs in the second inning but then shutting out the Panthers for the other six innings he was in before leaving the rest of the game to Justice, who overcame some command issues in the eighth inning to close out the game.
The Pack is now 10-0 against the Panthers since 2015 and will look to keep that perfect streak going as the two teams square off again on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.