Big fourth inning dooms UNCW in loss to Wolfpack

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (UNCWSports.com) – NC State plated six runs in the fourth inning as the nationally-ranked Wolfpack upended UNCW, 8-3, in college baseball action on Wednesday at Brooks Field.

The Wolfpack, which entered the game ranked fourth nationally in D1Baseball’s poll, improved to 26-6 while the Seahawks dropped to 20-12.

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Reliever Reid Johnston (4-0) picked up the win, working 2 1/3 innings.

Austin Easter (3-2) took the loss allowing five runs in relief, all in the fourth inning.

Will Wilson and Dillon Cooper had two hits apiece for the Wolfpack. Wilson connected on a three-run homer in the second inning, his eighth of the season.

Greg Jones and Mason Berne both had two hits for the Seahawks. Zack Canada hit his sixth round tripper of the season to narrow UNCW’s deficit to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth.

Up next: The Seahawks return to conference play this weekend when they visit defending Colonial Athletic Association champion Delaware for a three-game series beginning on Friday at 3 p.m.

How it happened: NCSU broke through in the fourth inning, scoring six runs on six hits off Easter and fellow reliever, Justin Walke. Easter worked just 1/3 of an inning before making way for Walke.

Inside the box score: NCSU went 6-for-9 with RISP and advanced runners in 10-of-19 opportunities.

Notes: Berne pushed his hitting streak to 13 games and raised his league-leading batting average to .376 … He also has now reached base in 26 consecutive games … Blake Morgan made his first start for the Seahawks and responded with three innings of one-hit shutout baseball … The bullpen surrendered a season-high eight runs on the night … UNCW used eight relievers overall … Tonight’s crowd was announced at 2,155, a season-high for UNCW.