RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Luca Tresh started and ended the scoring for NC State with a pair of home runs lifting the Wolfpack to a 6-4 win over the Florida State Seminoles on Doak Field at Dail Park in the series opener.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much just trying to focus on my breathing and slow things down,” said the sophomore catcher. “You know I got what I was looking for and took advantage of it trying not to do too much and just really slow it down.”
“Offensively he got off to a really hot start then they started pitching him really differently and he had to make an adjustment to that and this game is a game of peaks and valleys and it went to some times,” said head coach Elliott Avent. “Brett Kinneman, who knows a little bit about hitting, told me Luca is back and you can tell he’s back he just had a feeling he’s been watching things and obviously tonight he swung it very well.”
Tresh got the scoring started in the second inning when he swung at the first pitch he saw and parked it over the fence in left field. Jose Torres scored on a passed ball in the 4th to make 2-0. In the fifth, Jonny Butler blasted his 12th long ball of the year to right making it a 4-0 game. On the mound, starting pitcher Reid Johnston was rolling. In 6.2 innings he racked up a career-best 13 strikeouts. He was cruising until the 7th inning. With the bases loaded Florida State’s Logan Lacey put a good swing on a great pitch hitting a two-out grand slam to tie the score up at four.
“I think he threw really well honestly I think he could’ve stayed in and finished,” said Tresh. “That kid hit a great pitch out but he threw really well.”
When asked if he thought Johnston was losing it a little in the 7th coach Avent said he thought he was but with what Johnston had put in over the last 4 years and more recently pitching through a groin injury that he wasn’t going to pull him when he had a shut out going. Avent wanted to give him that last batter to get out of the inning.
“I told the locker room before I came out here Reid Johnston was unbelievable tonight,” coach Avent. “I can’t remember the manager that said it but when I was a kid growing up and watching every game I could get ahold of I remember I think somebody said about Bob Gibson or something I couldn’t pull him because I fell in love with his heart and Reid Johnston pitches with so much heart his performance tonight was outstanding.”
Evan Justice came on to relieve Johnston and shut down the Seminoles the rest of the way allowing just one batter to reach base. The Wolfpack may have been stunned but like any good prizefighter, they answered the bell. In the 9th Butler set the table with a leadoff double and two batters later Tresh hit his second long ball of the game to seal it in walk-off fashion.
“Wins in this league are hard to come by and we need every single one of them so this one is huge,” said Tresh. “We need to go out tomorrow and beat them again so I think we are just taking it step-by-step and trying to win every game we can.”
The Wolfpack extended its win streak to six, which includes four straight wins over top 20 opponents, and has won 11 of its last 12 games.
“To be 17 and 5 after starting 1 and 8 at home is the most remarkable turnaround I’ve ever been a part of,” said coach Avent. “We all just have so much respect for those guys in the locker room.”
Game two of their three-game set is Friday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park. The first pitch is set for 6:30.