Payton’s Big Brother Comes Up Big For Braves

Brett Friedlander

The pitching matchup for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series shaped up to be a mismatch.

And in a way, it was.

Only instead of the future Hall of Famer dominating the 22-year-old rookie making his first postseason start, it was young Bryse Wilson that got the better of Clayton Kershaw.

The older brother of NC State linebacker Payton Wilson gave up only one run and one hit over six masterful innings Thursday to propel the Atlanta Braves to a 10-2 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Arlington, Tex.

The Hillsborough native struck out five and walked only one to give his team a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Atlanta is only one win away from a trip to the World Series.

“I stuck with my game plan tonight, kept them off balance and trust myself,” Wilson said in a postseason interview. “The biggest thing for me was at the end of the day, yes it’s the postseason, yes it’s the championship series, crucial game. But for me it’s just baseball. 

“It’s me throwing the ball to the catcher, get hitters out, stay calm and do what I do.”

Wilson had pitched in only six Major League games this season and hadn’t appeared in a game in 18 days before taking the mound looking to help the Braves regain momentum after a 15-1 drubbing in Game 3 a night earlier.

He set the tone early by retiring the first six batters he faced, a dramatic reversal from the previous night when the Dodgers scored 11 runs in the top of the first.

Although he gave up a lead off homer to Edwin Rios in the third, he quickly settled down and gave the Braves exactly what they needed.

His team tied the game for him on a homer by Marcel Ozuna, then earned him the victory by scoring six times in the bottom of the sixth before Wilson came out of the game.

As if the night couldn't have been any better for Wilson, it was made even more special because his parents were in the stands cheering him on -- and getting plenty of face time on national television.

"It's incredible," the young pitcher said. "Just them being here means the world to me, especially since they're going to hop on a plane and go back tomorrow. My brother's got a football game this weekend."

Payton and the Wolfpack will take on Duke at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday.

Like his younger brother, Bryse was also a football star at Orange County High School. A linebacker, running back, wide receiver and backup quarterback, he rushed for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior in 2015 in leading the Panthers to an 11-2.

Payton led State in tackles as a freshman last season despite starting only one game. This year, despite missing State's loss at Virginia Tech because of an injury, he ranks third on the team with 25 tackles and second with four tackles for loss. He also has a sack and a pass breakup heading into Saturday's home game against Duke.

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