Barry Bonds Jr? Tommy White and the Wolfpack dismantle Quinnipiac 10-4

Ethan Hurwitz, Associate Sports Editor

No. 9 NC State Wolfpack debuted its all-red jerseys and, right in style, continued its red-hot start to the 2022 season, beating Quinnipiac University 10-4.

Quinnipiac junior pitcher Bradyn Garcia had a start to forget, allowing 10 earned runs and 10 hits en route to his second straight loss of the year. He relied heavily on his fastball and slider, and the latter was all over the zone through his five full innings.

The Wolfpack rolled out sophomore Sam Highfill as their starting pitcher and he twirled a gem out of the gate, retiring the first nine Bobcat batters he faced. A preseason second-team All American, Highfill moved to 2-0 on the year with seven strikeouts, including five in the first three innings.

Garcia, who was on the bump opposing Highfill, drilled back-to-back NC State hitters and got down 2-0 early. After that shaky first, Garcia was able to limit the Wolfpack’s offense for the next two innings.

Quinnipiac head coach John Delaney told ACCN’s Mike Monaco that Garcia quickly settled in through the second and third innings.

“He came out there and started throwing strikes,” Delaney said. “He started getting ahead of guys … that was the difference.”

The Bobcats broke onto the scoreboard for the first time in the fourth inning. Junior outfielder Anthony Donafrio and senior second baseman Kyle Maves came in to score after a single by senior shortstop McGwire Tuffy and an eventual run-down at first base.

The Wolfpack took back the lead in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single by freshman shortstop Payton Green and a grand slam by freshman first baseman Tommy White.

White, who set the internet on fire last week after hitting five home runs in two games, was held in check by Garcia for his first two at-bats, but his moonshot broke the game wide open. White’s sixth dinger of the year gave NC State head coach Elliot Avent the flexibility to remove Highfill from the game.

Avent also took time to crack a joke to the broadcast booth about the early stardom of his true freshman.

“He’s not going to buy a hamburger or pizza in Raleigh for three years,” Avent said.

The Bobcats scrapped a third run across on an RBI groundout by senior first baseman Michael Kohn, but that was their only score of the frame.

Not to be outdone from his previous at-bat, White smacked an outside fastball to dead center and rounded the bases for the seventh time in six games. The lead, which now was at 10-3, would not be lost for the remainder of the game.

Quinnipiac’s pitching was off-and-on. Garcia had his earned run average bloated to 11.00 to begin the 2022 campaign, but junior pitcher Jimmy Hagan came out of the bullpen to limit the damage for the rest of the game, striking out one and only allowing one hit.

The final three innings flew by as efficient pitching and defense kept the Bobcats at bay and pushed the Wolfpack’s win streak to six, their longest since May 2021.

The Bobcats will stay in Raleigh for the weekend and face off against this same NC State team on both Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., followed by a trip to James Madison the following weekend.