Pack Stays Hot

RALEIGH, N.C. -- With a five-game winning streak and six more games in its conference slate, NC State needed a huge win in its non-conference season finale Tuesday evening.

With a five-game winning streak and six more games in its conference slate, NC State needed a huge win in its non-conference season finale Tuesday evening.

Propelled by a five-run fifth inning, head coach Elliott Avent’s team got the victory over Campbell, 9-5, at Doak Field at Dail Park, increasing its winning streak to six games. State improved to 27-18 and ends the year with a 16-6 record against opponents outside of the ACC.

“We played very well against a good Campbell team,” Avent said. “Our offense is very opportunistic. We got nine runs off nine hits, and we played awfully hard.”

Junior right-hander Jon Olczak started the game for the Wolfpack and gave up only one run on three hits, two walks and two hit batsmen while striking out four in an outing that lasted a career-high five innings. Sophomore southpaw Ryan Williamson took over on the mound and surrender a run on five hits while striking out five Camel batters in three innings of work.

Junior lefty Brad Stone succeeded Williamson but only lasted long enough to hit a batter and walk another before making way for another junior left-hander, Travis Orwig.

NC State drew first blood in the bottom of the second. With one on and two away, right fielder Tommy DeJuneas ripped a 3-1 pitch over the left field fence to bring Joe Dunand in to score. It was the Charlotte native’s first career home run.

“It felt great to hit one out,” DeJuneas said. “It was nice seeing that we could put together a lot of runs.”

The Pack brought in another run in the following inning. Catcher Andrew Knizner and second baseman Ryne Willard led off the frame with singles. Three batters later, the runners advanced to third and second respectively on a balk, and DeJuneas walked. Center fielder Jake Fincher walked to score Knizner, but the runners were left stranded when left fielder Brock Deatherage flew out to end the threat.

Designated hitter Chance Shepard initiated State’s fifth inning scoring with a towering home run into left-center field, his fourth of the season. Willard, who led off the frame with a walk, also scored on the play.

“It was a fastball that [Campbell RHP Travis Long] got me on last time,” Shepard said. “I was looking dead red, and I got it.”

Two batters later, DeJuneas got hit by a pitch. Fincher followed with a single. Deatherage dropped a bunt single, but Camel first baseman Kyle Leady’s throw to third was off-target, allowing DeJuneas to score on the error. Ratledge followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Fincher. Deatherage scored on a wild pitch in the subsequent at-bat.

State’s scoring concluded one inning later. After knocking a one-out triple into the right-center gap, Willard reached home on a sacrifice fly into right field by Chance Shepard.

Campbell’s offensive production was bolstered in part by right fielder and former NC State outfielder Brian Taylor. His only hit of the ballgame was a solo home run in the top of the seventh, his third of the year.

“Brian Taylor is one of my favorite players to come through here,” Avent said. “He’s a hard worker and disciplined. He played football and baseball here, but because of football, he never got on the field that much. We made it possible for him to go to Campbell and play this year without having to sit out. I’m not happy to see him hit a home run [against us], but if anyone was going to hit one, I’m glad he hit one.”

The Pack will travel to Winston-Salem for a three-game series against Wake Forest starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

“We’ve got a lot of good guys, and the locker room’s really close to each other,” Olczak said. “[Wake Forest and Louisville] are tough challenges, but we feel like we can win all six games.”

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