RALEIGH, NC -- NC State entered its series against Virginia Tech hoping for a solid response in league play following a lost weekend in Boston. The Wolfpack needed a good hitting effort and quality start from Brian Brown in order to pull off a sweep.
Everything fell in place Sunday at Doak Field.
Brown hurled seven strong innings and NC State used 16 hits to clobber Virginia Tech, 14-2, and complete a sweep over the Hokies. The Wolfpack (25-20, 11-13) has won five straight after being swept by Boston College in its previous series, outscoring the opposition 46-10 over that span.
Junior centerfielder Josh McLain went 5-for-6 at the plate while Joe Dunand, Evan Mendoza and Brett Kinneman combined to drive in nine runs.
"Josh McLain and Joe Dunand have been steady all year,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said. “Mendoza has been swing the bat well lately and that just makes us different.”
As they did Saturday, the Wolfpack got off to a promising start in the series finale. NC State scored two runs on RBI groundout from Dunand and Mendoza’s run-scoring single to center.
Unlike the previous game, NC State never let the Hokies back in the contest on Sunday. Virginia Tech scored a run in the top of the second but the Wolfpack followed up with six runs in its half of the frame to eliminate any doubt to the eventual outcome.
The Wolfpack used six pitchers in its victory over the Hokies Saturday, leaving Avent hoping to get a solid effort from Brown.
The lefty did not disappoint. Brown improved to 2-1 on the season by allowing only one run on four hits while striking out eight and walking three. His ERA fell to 2.81 for the season.
“Brian Brown was incredible,” Avent said. “We spent our bullpen the last few days, he knew that. He’s a smart kid, a tough kid. He made pitches when he had to, which is what he does. That was huge.”
Mathieu Gauthier and Tim Naughton each pitched an inning of relief to close out the game.
“That’s one of the best hitting teams in the ACC,” Avent said. “Our guys really battled.”
NC State will get a respite from midweek action and ACC play in the upcoming week. After not taking the week off for exams the Wolfpack will return to action Friday at home when the Delaware Blue Hens visit Doak Field for a three-game set.