NC State Baseball Rallies Late, but Falls Short Against Western Carolina
Posted March 7
Despite rallying late in the game with four unanswered runs, the NC State baseball team came up short against Western Carolina, 9-8, Monday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park. The Wolfpack had the tying run on base in the eighth and ninth inning, but was unable to drive in the run.
NC State falls to 6-6 on the year, while Western Carolina, Southern Conference Tournament Champions a season ago, moves to 5-6.
Western Carolina struck first in the contest with a pair of runs in the top of the first, as NC State starting pitcher Mathieu Gauthier struggled to find his command. Following a double steal by the Catamounts to put runners at second and third with one out, Matt Smith singled through the left side to plate the first run of the game.
An error by the Wolfpack allowed the second run to score, pushing the tally to 2-0. NC State countered in the bottom of the frame after Brock Deatherage walked and stole second to score on an RBI single to right field by Will Wilson, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
Tommy DeJuneas hit a towering home run in the bottom of the second, as the Pack tied the score at two on his first blast of the season and second of his collegiate career.
The Catamounts responded with four runs in the third to grab a 6-2 lead, headlined by a two-run homer to left field off the bat of Cameron Blaquiere.
Wilson and Dunand hit back-to-back singles to left field and both scored on a double down the right field line by NC State catcher Brad Debo to narrow the margin to 6-4. Unfortunately, a pair of RBI doubles in the fourth gave Western Carolina a 9-4 advantage.
NCSU’s Christian Demby hit his first collegiate home run in the sixth to pull the squad within four runs at 9-5. He narrowly missed a homer in his first at-bat by about three feet, as his double hit the top of the wall in left field and bounced back in.
Wilson scored his second run of the day on a passed ball in the seventh inning, trimming the Pack deficit to 9-6.
NC State had a great opportunity in the eighth, as Demby walked to lead off the frame and Deatherage followed with a double to put runners at second and third with nobody out. A couple of RBI groundouts followed to score both runners and trim the WCU lead to 9-8, but the Wolfpack was not able to have the big inning it hoped for.
Stephen Pitarra pinch-hit for the squad with two outs in the eighth and ripped a single off the Catamounts’ pitcher, but Western Carolina went to the bullpen next to bring in preseason all-conference selection Bryan Sammons and he recorded a strikeout to end the threat.
Brett Kinneman was hit-by-pitch with one-out in the ninth, as the tying run was on first base for NC State but a pair of swinging strikeouts followed to end the game and give Western Carolina the 9-8 victory.
Inside the Box Score
- Demby led the Wolfpack at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, highlighted by a solo home run and two runs scored.
- Debo also turned in a two-hit outing and tallied two RBIs.
- Deatherage, DeJuneas, Joe Dunand, Kinneman, Evan Mendoza, Pitarra and Wilson each had one hit.
- Western Carolina recorded 12 hits as a team, highlighted by a 2-for-5 performance from Luke Robinson with three runs driven in.
On the Mound
- Gauthier had a tough start for NC State and lasted just 1.2 innings before the Wolfpack made a call to its bullpen.
- Freshman Michael Bienlien entered the game in the second inning and pitched 3.2 innings before handing the ball to Johnny Piedmonte.
- Piedmonte silenced the WCU bats over the final 3.2 innings and gave NC State a chance to win. He only gave up one hit and registered a pair of strikeouts.
- For WCU, Brendan Nail earned the win on six innings pitched and Sammons closed the door to earn the save.
- Monday’s contest was the 34th meeting between the programs, as NC State owns a 25-9 advantage in the all-time series.
- Dunand extended his hitting streak to 10 games and Wilson stretched his hitting streak to seven.
NC State returns to action Wednesday afternoon when it travels to UNCW. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. at Brooks Field.