Freshman catcher Cannon Peebles celebrates a home run during the game against NJIT at Doak Field at Dail Park on Saturday, March 4, 2023. Peebles hit two home runs during the game. NC State beat NJIT 21-2 to win the series.

With the 7-2 win over Pitt, NC State baseball put itself just one win away from clinching a spot in the ACC tournament and kept the team’s postseason hopes alive. The Wolfpack held its opponent scoreless until the seventh inning to secure the victory.

NC State (32-18, 11-16 ACC) entered the game in desperate need of a win and Pitt (23-28, 10-16 ACC) looked to spoil the Pack’s evening. After squandering multiple leads to UNC just a week ago, the Pack pounced on the Panthers early and played a solid all-around game to earn an important win in the first game of its final regular season series.

The red-and-white struggled to score in the first two innings, but the team managed to crack the game wide open in the third. After junior right fielder Noah Soles was walked and junior third baseman LuJames Groover III singled to center field, freshman designated hitter Cannon Peebles stepped up to the plate and delivered. On the first ball he saw, Peebles homered to right field to put the Pack up 3-0 in the third inning. It was a team-high 11th homer of the year from Peebles, who has had an impressive freshman campaign. In the series-opener, Peebles batted 1.000 in four at-bats and recorded four RBIs.

It didn’t take long for Peebles to earn another hit; in the bottom of the fifth, he singled to bring home sophomore catcher Jacob Cozart from first base off of an error from the Panthers. Soon after, freshman first baseman Eli Serrano III doubled and brought Peebles home on an unearned run.

NC State has been in need of solid pitching lately and redshirt junior righthander Logan Whitaker was dealing all game long. Through seven innings pitched, Whitaker only gave up a single hit and earned six strikeouts.

Whitaker found himself in multiple jams, but he found ways to work out of each one and preserve the Pack’s multiple-run lead at many different points in the game. Whitaker earned his fourth win of the season after giving up zero runs.

Just before Whitaker finished his seventh and final inning of the game, the Pack earned two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, extending its commanding lead to 7-0. A pair of doubles from Cozart and Peebles brought in those two runs and gave Peebles his fourth and final RBI of the game.

NC State controls its destiny when it comes to making the ACC tournament after a hectic season. A win in either the second or third game would clinch the series for the Pack and give the team some much needed momentum heading into the postseason.

The Pack is set to play its second game against Pitt on Friday, May 19. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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