RALEIGH, N.C. - Freshman third baseman Danny Canela smashed two home runs and drove in seven runs as North Carolina State University (31-18) belted seven home runs as part of a 19-hit attack as the Wolfpack completed a three-game sweep over the Tigers (16-34) with a 21-0 victory over Towson in the final game of their three-game weekend series at Doak Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Wolfpack, who scored more than 20 runs for the fourth time this season, hit two grand slam homers in the win, along with a pair of three-run homers, one two-run homer and a pair of solo home runs.
While NC State was piling up the runs, sophomore righthander Cory Mazzoni and three relief pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout at the Tigers. It was the Wolfpack's second shutout of the season.
In the bottom of the first inning, senior second baseman Dallas Poulk set the tone for the afternoon when he led off with a solo home run over the rightfield fence, his ninth home run of the season.
After surrendering the leadoff homer, freshman righthander Mike Bronakoski gave up a single to sophomore designated hitter Pratt Maynard. After retiring the next two hitters, Bronakoski hit sophomore first baseman Harold Riggins with a pitch, giving NC State two runners on base with two outs.
Moments later, junior catcher Chris Schaeffer gave the Wolfpack a 4-0 lead when he unloaded a three-run homer over the left field fence. It was his 11th home run of the season.
After a single by sophomore leftfielder John Gianis, Bronakoski walked junior centerfielder Russell Wilson on four pitches. However, he pitched out of the inning when he retired freshman shortstop Chris Diaz on a ground ball to second base.
For the Tigers, it marked the ninth consecutive game that they trailed after the first inning.
In the bottom of the second inning, Maynard belted a solo home run over the rightfield fence, his ninth roundtripper of the season. Maynard's home run upped the Wolfpack's lead to 5-0.
In the top of the third inning, the Tigers had their first base runner when freshman leftfielder Kurt Wertz reached base on an error by Dallas Poulk, the second baseman for NC State. He advanced to second base on a passed ball and reached third base when freshman first baseman Andrew Parker grounded out to second base. Wertz tried to score on a pitch that got away from Schaeffer and went to the backstop. However, Schaeffer recovered quickly and threw to Mazzoni at home plate, retiring Wertz.
In the last of the third inning, the Wolfpack exploded for seven more runs and knocked Bronakoski out of the game. After Riggins struck out to lead off the inning, Schaeffer reached base on an error by Parker at first base. When Gianis drew a walk, NC State had two runners on base. Wilson's single to left field loaded the bases for Diaz. Diaz blasted a grand slam home run over the left centerfield fence, upping the Wolfpack's lead to 9-0. It was the second homer of the season for Diaz.
After the grand slam, senior righthander Nate Curd relieved Bronakoski. Dallas Poulk kept the rally going when he singled to centerfield. After a walk to Maynard, the Wolfpack had runners on first and second base. Curd helped his own cause by picking Poulk off second base for the second out of the inning. However, a walk to senior rightfielder Drew Poulk gave the Wolfpack two runners on base. Canela upped the NC State lead to 12-0 when he smashed a three-run homer over the leftfield fence. After hitting Riggins with a pitch, Curd retired Schaeffer on an infield popup to end the inning.
Trailing by 12-0 in the top of the fourth inning, the Tigers had their first base hit of the game. With two outs, senior rightfielder Kevin Collins lined a ground-rule double down the left field line. However, Mazzoni retired junior second baseman Chris Wychock on a fly ball to left field, ending the inning.
After Curd shut out the Wolfpack in the fourth inning, the Tigers had their best scoring chance in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, junior third baseman Austin Harclerode doubled to left centerfield. The double extended Harclerode's hitting streak to 22 games. When Wertz walked, the Tigers had two runners on base with one out. A single by Parker to right centerfield loaded the bases.
But, Mazzoni pitched out of the jam by striking out sophomore catcher Brian Wyman and retiring sophomore centerfielder Ben Winter on a ground ball to second base, leaving the bases loaded.
After Curd shut out NC State in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Tigers were retired in order in the top of the sixth inning. Freshman righthander Sean Thompson came out of the Towson bullpen and retired the Wolfpack in order in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Mazzoni was relieved after six innings of work for the Wolfpack. He threw six shutout innings and allowed three hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Mazzoni earned his seventh win of the season against two losses.
After sophomore righthander Vance Williams pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Wolfpack, NC State broke the game wide open in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Facing senior righthander John Schmeer, Diaz led off the inning with a walk. After Dallas Poulk grounded out to the mound, Maynard was walked on four pitches. Drew Poulk's infield single to third base loaded the bases with one out. Then, Canela smashed his second home run of the game, a grand slam over the rightfield fence to give NC State a 16-0 advantage. Canela's sixth home run of the season gave him seven RBI's for the game.
After Canela's homer, Schmeer was relieved by sophomore lefthander Andrew Newfield. The first hitter that Newfield faced, senior first baseman Bill Edwards, reached base on an error by Parker, the Tigers' first baseman. Moments later, freshman leftfielder Tarran Senay smashed a two-run homer over the left field fence to increase the lead to 18-0. Gianis and Wilson followed with back-to-back doubles to up the Wolfpack's advantage to 19-0. Senior lefthander Wes Shifflett was called upon to relieve Newfield. After issuing a walk to Diaz, Shifflett retired Dallas Poulk on a fly ball to rightfield for the second out. Shifflett ended the uprising by striking out Maynard.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, NC State put the finishing touches on its 21-0 victory. Drew Poulk led off the inning with a single to centerfield. After Canela struck out, Edwards singled up the middle. A single to rightfield by Senay enabled Drew Poulk to score NC State's 20th run. Gianis grounded into a force play for the second out as Edwards scored to make it a 21-0 lead. Wilson was retired on a fly ball to right, ending the inning.
Junior righthander Rey Cotilla retired the Tigers in order in the ninth inning, nailing down the shutout victory.
In the win, four NC State pitchers combined to shut out the Tigers on five hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Sophomore Brady Baxter, Winter, Collins, Harclerode and Parker accounted for the Tigers' five base hits. Harclerode and Wertz also reached base on walks.
The Wolfpack scored 21 runs on 19 hits off six Tiger pitchers. Tiger pitchers issued seven walks and hit two batters. The Tigers recorded only five strikeouts.
Maynard and Gianis led the Wolfpack's 19-hit attack with three hits each. Maynard, who batted .400 in the weekend series, went three-for-four and scored four runs. Gianis, who hit .615 against Towson, was three-for-five with two runs scored.
Canela added two hits and drove in seven runs while Senay added two hits and three RBI's. Drew Poulk, who batted .375 with seven RBI's in the series, had two hits and scored three runs. Diaz had one hit, scored twice and drove in four runs.
NC State's 21 runs against Towson were its fourth-highest run total of the season. In the season opener, NC State beat LaSalle, 32-3. The Wolfpack also posted a 24-6 win over North Carolina Central in mid-March and handed Maryland a 22-6 loss three weeks ago in College Park.
The 21 runs allowed were the most runs surrendered by Towson since a 24-9 loss to James Madison University on May 7, 2006.
The Wolfpack, who won the series opener by a 14-5 margin and edged Towson by 6-5 in ten innings on Saturday night, batted .351 in the series against Towson and hit 11 home runs. NC State outscored the Tigers by a 41-10 margin.
The Tigers, who have lost six games in a row, return to action on Tuesday night, when they visit UMBC for a 7:00 matchup with the Retrievers. Towson won the first meeting between the teams on March 23 by a 17-6 margin.
Tuesday's night visit to UMBC will be the Tigers' final road game of the season. Towson closes out the season with five consecutive home games at Schuerholz Park.