RALEIGH N.C. — After five straight road wins, NC State (10-11, 5-10 ACC) returned home to face Clemson (14-11, 8-7 ACC) who won two out of three games for the Wolfpack’s fourth home conference series loss.
GAME 1: Clemson 10, NC State 6
The Wolfpack started Friday’s contest with the Tigers strong, but continued woes with the bullpen doomed State’s hopes of a series-opening win as Clemson claimed the victory, 10-6.
Junior right-handed pitcher Reid Johnston (2-1, 4.31 ERA) got the call to start and held the Tigers to six runs in the first seven innings. The Enfield, N.C. product struck out five and walked one while allowing seven hits during the stretch. However, Johnston allowed a single and a hit batsman before getting pulled with 114 pitches thrown.
Redshirt junior right-hander Dalton Feeney was called upon to hold off the Tigers’ offense. Instead, Feeney walked the first batter he faced to load the bases then surrendered a single that drove two runs in, saddling Johnston with the loss.
Freshman righty Cooper King immediately followed Feeney and recorded a fly-out and a walk before another freshman right-hander, Coby Ingle finished the game. Ingle allowed a single, scoring Feeney’s runners, but otherwise held Clemson in check.
After a two-run home run by Clemson’s Dylan Brewer in the top of the first inning, the Pack responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Junior first baseman Austin Murr led off with a single. Two batters later, sophomore catcher Luca Tresh followed suit. Junior left fielder Jonny Butler then hit an RBI single to drive Murr home. After a bases-loading single by freshman shortstop Jose Torres, junior right fielder Devonte Brown plated Tresh and Butler two batters later with a single through the left side.
Junior second baseman J.T. Jarrett extended the lead to two in the bottom of the second inning. On a 1-2 pitch, the Greensboro, N.C. product crushed a towering homer over the left-field wall for his fourth career bomb.
The final State runs of the game came in the fourth inning. Jarrett led off by bunting his way aboard. Murr doubled down the right-field line immediately after. Sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough drove Jarrett home with a single to center. Two batters later, Murr scored on a Butler double.
Game 2: Clemson 9, NC State 3
Backed by a strong pitching performance by starter Keyshawn Askew (1-0, 1.83) and closer Geoffrey Gilbert, Clemson pushed past NC State Saturday evening, 9-3.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Sam Highfill (1-2, 4.54 ERA) picked up the loss after surrendering six runs, five earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out six Tigers in 6-1/3 innings. The Apex, N.C. hurler tossed 110 pitches before freshman southpaw Tristan Sipple relieved him for 1-1/3 innings of work, striking out two and walking one.
Following Sipple’s tenure, sophomore righty Andrew Tillery pitched 2/3 inning and allowed two runs on one hit and one walk. Freshman lefty Cameron Arnold closed out the Pack’s pitching by allowing one run on two hits and two walks in 2/3 inning.
After Clemson scored two runs in the top of the second, the Pack halved the Tigers’ lead in the home half. Torres reached on an error to start the frame. Two batters later, Brown walked. Jarrett then drove Torres home with a single to right.
The Tigers plated two more runs in the fourth with an additional pair of runs coming in the seventh. State’s offense countered with its final two runs in the bottom half of the seventh. Brown reached base with one out in the inning thanks to a beanball. Jarrett followed with a single. Two batters later, Murr doubled to bring the two runners home.
Game 3: NC State 9, Clemson 5
Junior outfielder Terrell Tatum hit a bases-loaded single off of Gilbert (1-2, 1.61 ERA) to drive in the Wolfpack’s go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to propel State past Clemson Sunday afternoon, 9-5.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Willadsen pitched the first 6-2/3 innings, allowing four Clemson runs on nine hits and one walk with six strikeouts. Junior southpaw Evan Justice (2-2, 7.65 ERA) picked up the win after hurling the final 2-1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
The Wolfpack started the game with the lead, scoring its first run in the bottom of the first. McDonough reached on a one-out double, moved to second on a Tresh single, then came home on a fielder’s choice by Butler.
Clemson took the lead with three runs in the second inning followed by one run in the third. NC State cut the lead with two runs in the bottom half of the third. Jarrett led off with a walk. McDonough followed with an RBI double to right field, allowing Jarrett to score. Three batters later, Torres plated McDonough with a base hit to center.
Another run came in for the Wolfpack one inning later. Brown led off with a double. Sophomore third baseman Vojtech Mensik singled afterward, moving to second on a throw toward home. Tatum, pinch-hitting in the designated hitter role, drove Brown home on a sacrifice fly, tying the game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Murr gave the Wolfpack the lead with his fifth home run of the season. Clemson managed to load the bases in the top of the eighth inning, but the Tigers only scored one run as the State defense turned a force-out at second into a double play at third.
With the game tied at five apiece, the Pack rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Torres led off by walking. Murr singled afterward, allowing Torres to move to third. Brown reached on a fielder’s choice, but Torres was thrown out at the plate. After a wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third, Mensik was walked intentionally to bring Tatum to the plate.
The Collierville, Tenn. native drove Murr and Brown home with a single to left-center field. After a double steal, Mensik and Tatum scored on a Clemson error for State’s final Insurance runs.
The Wolfpack returns to action Tuesday, April 6 as Appalachian State comes to Raleigh for a non-conference matchup. First pitch from Doak Field is set for 6 p.m.
Photo by Jaylnn Nash LLC