In the Wolfpack’s final home series of the season, NC State defeated Clemson on Friday and Sunday with an extra-inning loss Saturday.
RALEIGH, N.C. — No. 17 NC State (39-14, 16-11 ACC) picked up its first conference series win in over a month as the Wolfpack defeated Clemson (30-22, 13-14 ACC) twice over the course of the weekend’s three-game series.
FRIDAY: NC State 6, Clemson 1
The Pack started the series strong with a dominant win over the Tigers Friday at Doak Field, 6-1.
Junior right-handed pitcher Jason Parker started on the mound and shut out the Clemson offense over the first 4-2/3 innings. Sophomore left-hander Nick Swiney (6-0, 5.36 ERA) picked up where Parker had left off and finished the game, only allowing a ninth-inning run while striking out six batters en route to the win.
Junior shortstop Will Wilson wasted no time in giving the Pack the lead. After a single by sophomore left fielder Jonny Butler to start the bottom of the first inning, Wilson drilled his 15th home run of the season over the wall in left field to give NC State the 2-0 lead.
State added two more runs in the next frame. Junior designated hitter Brad Debo led off the second inning with a double. Two batters later, sophomore second baseman David Vazquez singled, moving Debo to third. Redshirt junior third baseman Dillon Cooper then reached base on a bunt single that brought Debo home to score. Butler then hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Vazquez out at third, but an errant throw by the Clemson defense allowed Cooper to score.
After getting silenced for the next four innings, the Pack plated its final two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Butler and Wilson drew back-to-back walks. Three batters later, freshman center fielder Tyler McDonough tripled into right-center to drive the pair of Pack runners home.
SATURDAY: Clemson 4, NC State 3 (10 Innings)
Despite tying the game in the seventh inning in Saturday’s contest, the Wolfpack fell short as the Tigers evened the series with a 10-inning win, 4-3.
Sophomore righty Reid Johnston gave up two Clemson runs in the first inning but managed to settle in and finish his 5-2/3 innings with nine strikeouts while only allowing three hits and two walks. After 2/3 inning each from freshman right-hander Baker Nelson and sophomore southpaw Evan Justice, junior lefty Kent Klyman (5-2, 3.29 ERA) came in to hold the Tigers in check before giving up the decisive run in the 10th inning. Following Klyman’s 2-2/3 innings, redshirt sophomore right-hander Dalton Feeney recorded the final out for the Pack’s pitching staff.
With the Tigers already ahead by two, State plated its first run in the bottom of the third. Cooper led off with a single. After a fly-out, Cooper stole second and third on back-to-back pitches before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Wilson.
Clemson tacked on an additional run in the top of the seventh, but the Wolfpack tied the game at 3-3 with two runs following the stretch.
Freshmen pinch-hitters Luca Tresh and Marek Chlup drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. After sophomore outfielder Terrell Tatum entered the game to run for Chlup, Vazquez singled to load the bases. Cooper grounded out to first as Tresh scored. Butler then walked to load the bases again. In the next at-bat, Tatum scored the equalizing run on a wild pitch.
SUNDAY: NC State 8, Clemson 3
With the Wolfpack’s graduates honored prior to the start of the series finale, NC State came out of the gates strong and never relinquished its early lead as the Pack took the win Sunday, 8-3.
Sophomore southpaw David Harrison pitched three innings on the mound to start the game, allowing one Tiger run on four hits. Freshman right-hander Cameron Cotter (5-3, 2.83 ERA) followed with 3-2/3 innings with a two-run home run in the seventh as his only major blemish. Cotter picked up the win after holding the Clemson offense to five hits while striking out five batters.
Justice returned to the mound after only facing two batters the day before to retire one Clemson batter before Feeney finished the game with two shutout innings of work.
The Pack forced the Tigers’ starting pitcher out of the game early as Butler, Wilson, and senior first baseman Evan Edwards each drew walks to start the bottom of the first inning. After the pitching change, sophomore catcher Patrick Bailey singled to drive Butler home. McDonough then hit into a 6-4-3 double play that brought Wilson home. Edwards then crossed the plate on a wild pitch in the ensuing at-bat.
Clemson managed to plate its first run in the top of the second. State later scored in the bottom of the fourth. Debo led off with a double, moved to third on a fly-out by Tatum, and then scored on a Cooper single.
Already with a three-run lead, the NC State offense broke the game open with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sophomore pinch-hitter Devonte Brown walked but was replaced on the base paths as Cooper hit into a fielder’s choice. Sophomore second baseman J.T. Jarrett then singled, moving Cooper to third. Butler followed Jarrett’s base hit with a two-run double that brought both runners home. After moving to third on a throwing error to home plate, Butler scored on a Wilson single through the right side.
Clemson pushed two more runs across in the seventh before the Pack’s final run came home in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jarrett led off with a single but was forced out on a fielder’s choice by Butler. However, Wilson doubled to left-center field to drive Butler home.
The Wolfpack wraps up the regular season with a three-game set on the road against in-state rival North Carolina. The series begins Thursday at Boshamer Stadium at 6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Jaylynn Nash, LLC