After a Friday loss (8-3 final) and a Saturday rain out, Wolfpack Baseball found themselves in need of a doubleheader sweep on Sunday to take this weekend’s all important series vs UVa.
But at Doak Field on Sunday, there was little if any sunshine to be had. It was damp and it was cold. And there was even a smattering of leftover rain now and again. But for the sparse crowd(s) on hand, most will be unlikely to remember the weather details and will instead recall the day they were treated to not one, but two walk off HR wins by their beloved Pack9.
In game one, the Pack jumped on the board early as they strung together 4 hits in the first frame, including 3 doubles. They would end up touching UVa starter Brandon Waddell for 3 first inning runs en route to an early 3-0 lead.
But Waddell settled in after that and began retiring Wolfpack batters like he was social security. Not only would the Pack not score again until the 9th inning, but they wouldn’t muster another hit.
Meanwhile, UVa batters were patient. In the middle innings they began to chip away at the lead, tying the game at 3 in the 7th.
To begin the Pack’s half of the 9th, Joe Dunand went down swinging and Jake Armstrong grounded out to short, and it looked as if extra innings were in the cards. But Bubby Riley, pinch hitting for Evan Mendoza, had other thoughts.
After he worked ‘Hoos reliever Tommy Doyle into a favorable 2-0 count, this happened…
It was Riley’s first homer, and only his 3rd extra base hit of the season. But who’s counting? (aside from me, that is).
Will Gilbert (1-1) got the win in relief for the Pack, going 3.0 scoreless innings, giving up just 1 hit, K’ing 4 and walking just 1.
So, what would the Pack9 do for an encore? Pretty much the same thing.
In the nightcap, the Pack grabbed the early lead in the 3rd on a Preston Palmeiro 2 run shot, his 6th of the season and 3rd of the week.
But UVa would bounce back in their half of the 5th as shaky Pack pitching and defense (and what appeared to be a badly blown call at the plate) would give them a 3-2 lead.
Jake ‘The Take’ Armstrong’s pinch hit bases loaded walk would knot the score at 3 in the 8th, but the Pack would fail to plate anymore runs, leaving the bases loaded.
Fortunately, Tommy DeJuneas seems to have re-found his rhythm, and he managed to keep UVa’s batters off balance, and off the scoreboard, the rest of the way.
In the Pack’s half of the 10th inning, Ryne Willard opened things up by singling thru the left side. Shane Shepard followed him with a really effective at bat (IMHO), eventually going down on strikes but making UVa reliever Alec Bettinger burn 9 pitches on him as Joe Dunand timed him from the on deck circle.
When Dunand stood in he got ahead in the count early, and then…
For the freshman Dunand it was his 5th HR of the year. His 32nd and 33rd RBI’s are good for 2nd on the team trailing only Preston Palmeiro (41).
Tommy DeJuneas would notch the win, going 4.0 scoreless innings in relief, scattering 3 hits and 3 walks. His 7 K’s were a career high for the freshman.
Déjà Doak! Two #Pack9 Walk-Offs Clinch Series (GoPack.com)
With today’s doubleheader sweep, State takes the series from Virgina and runs their record to 23-18, 11-12 ACC. With 10 games to go, 6 in conference, the Wolfpack needs to keep the momentum going.
It’s exam week this coming week, so the Pack9 has no mid-week OOC game this week. They go OOC this weekend though when they next return to action on Friday at 7:30pm as they welcome the Lancers of Longwood University to town for a 3 game series at the Doak.