RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State scored in just one inning Tuesday evening, but it was enough to propel the Wolfpack to a 5-4 non-conference victory over No. 12 East Carolina at Doak Field.
NC State (26-14) earned a split of the season series after the Pirates (29-12) topped the Wolfpack 13-9 in Greenville earlier in the year.
Final from Raleigh pic.twitter.com/WqGD88wX2o— East Carolina Baseball (@ECUBaseball) April 26, 2023
P.J. Labriola (3-0) earned the win in relief, tossing a scoreless inning with three strikeouts. Zach Root (3-2) took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and strikeout in 2.1 frames. The ECU bullpen trio of Jake Hunter, Garrett Saylor and Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman were lights out, throwing the final 5.2 innings and combining to yield just three hits and strike out six batters against one walk.
Jacob Starling paced the Pirate offense with a 3-for-4 performance, adding two runs scored, while Luke Nowak ended up with two hits and an RBI. Trevor Candelaria notched a hit and two RBI to complement two-hit efforts from teammates Noah Soles, Will Marcy and Carter Trice.
Shenk is on 🔥 @ShenkmanWyatt pic.twitter.com/JV2KvKWzan— East Carolina Baseball (@ECUBaseball) April 26, 2023
East Carolina threatened to score early as Starling singled through the right side and Josh Moylan drew a one-out walk, but NCSU starter Sam Highfill recorded the second out on a fielder’s choice play and stranded the Pirate runners at the corners by inducing a fly ball to left.
NC State seized control of the contest in the third inning. The Wolfpack notched six hits in the frame with Candelaria’s two-run home run representing the big blow that pushed the score to 4-0. The fifth run scored during an inning-ending rundown that left the home side ahead by five after three complete.
ECU began to chip away at the deficit in the fifth. Starling laced a double down the left field line in the top of the fifth with one away before eventually crossing home on a Moylan sac fly to put the Pirates on the board. East Carolina made it a three-run game in the top of the sixth via a Berini RBI groundout that scored Nowak who led off the frame with a single up the middle before a strikeout stranded Wilcoxen at third.
Lane Hoover and Starling began the seventh inning with a pair of singles to put the Purple and Gold in business. They would move into scoring position after a fly ball to center before scoring on a Jacob Jenkins-Cowart groundout and Nowak RBI single to draw the Pirates within a run.
Jenkins-Cowart was hit by a pitch with one out in the top of the ninth before Ryley Johnson replaced him on the bases and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Nowak then drew a walk, representing the go-ahead run, but a strikeout and fly ball out to right field allowed reliver Carson Kelly to complete his first save of the season.
- East Carolina dropped to 5-9 in true road games.
- The Pirates finished the contest 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base.
- ECU fell just short of recording its first win over NC State in Raleigh since 2009.
- Starling posted his team-leading 16th multi-hit effort of the campaign.
- Carter Cunningham reached base safely for the 15th-straight game.
Up Next: East Carolina returns to American Athletic Conference play this weekend, hosting Tulane for a three-game series April 28-30 at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium.