Johnny Piedmonte pitched into the seventh inning in his return to the weekend rotation while homers from Joe Dunand and Will Wilson led NC State to a 5-2 victory over Virginia Tech in the opener of the three-game series Friday at Doak Field.
The Wolfpack improves to 23-20 overall and 9-13 in the ACC with the victory. It is the third straight win for NC State following a sweep at Boston College in its previous league series.
The Hokies, losers of seven straight road games in ACC play, dropped to 20-24 overall and 8-14 in the conference with the loss.
“Huge, huge huge,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said when asked about the win. “We went through the ‘Boston Tea Party’... that’s devastating, when you come up with nothing.”
Virginia Tech jumped out in front with a run in the first inning. NC State took the lead in its half of the fourth when Dunand and Wilson hit solo homers.
Ryan Tufts answered a half-inning later with a solo shot of his own for the Hokies to tie the game a two runs a piece.
NC State took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth with the help of a couple of well placed hits from Brock Deatherage and Stephen Pitarra, with the latter driving in two runs.
The Pack tacked on a third run in the frame when Pitarra stole second base and the throw sailed into the outfield, which then brought home Deatherage from third base.
“Hitting is really contagious,” Pitarra said. “When one guy has a good at bat then the next guy has a good at bat we all feed off each other. When you have got a guy like Joe [Dunand] it helps everything.”
Piedmonte improved to 4-0 on the season with the win. The big righty from Davidson, NC finished with five strikeouts while allowing two runs on four hits and a walk in 6.2 innings of work. He threw 107 pitches in the contest with 71 going for strikes.
Joe O’Donnell came in the game in relief of Piedmonte with two outs in the top of the seventh. He recorded the final seven outs for NC State, allowing only one hit, to pick up his second save of the season.
“It was exciting,” Piedmonte said. “Most of the time I have been coming out of the bullpen but they have kind of been extended outings. So, I was kind of prepared for it, going five or six. I’m a little used to it being a senior. It was a big win coming on Friday night.”
The two schools will square off again Saturday with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. at Doak. Freshman Michael Bienlien will start on the mound for the Wolfpack.
“All the credit to Boston College, they played great, but you have got to come out of there with at least one,” Avent said. “We didn’t so that puts us in a hole where every game takes on a little more importance. This is one. We have got another one tomorrow and each one is going to be special.”