NC State Rallies to Defeat Clemson 5-1 in Series Opener
CLEMSON, SC -- NC State erupted for four runs in the eighth inning to cruise to a 5-1 win over seventh-ranked Clemson in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Clemson struck first with a run in the fourth inning, but it was the eighth inning that proved costly for the Tigers.
NC State's Brian Wright singled to open the Wolfpack eighth and then after a fly out, Dan Mooney had a sacrifice bunt that moved Wright to second. After a 3-1 count, Craig Lee drew the walk from Tiger starter Scott Berney. Josh Schmitt came to the plate and delivered the knockout punch hitting his fourth home run of the season to go ahead 3-1. Schmitt hit a hanging breaking pitch well over the left-field fence. It was the first home run allowed by Berney this season and just the fourth allowed by the Tigers as well.
Berney was relieved of his duties by Nick Glaser, but the Wolfpack added to its lead when Jason Smith singled on a 3-2 pitch to score Jeremy Dutton, who had reached base on a single. He later stole second before getting knocked in by Dutton to go up 4-1.
The Tigers threatened in the bottom half of the inning putting runners on first and second with only one out, but the pair was stranded. The Wolfpack added another run in the top of the ninth, as Tiger bats remained silent.
Clemson finished with only three hits on the night as it fell to 26-7 on the year and 4-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Wolfpack improved to 20-14 overall and 6-7 in conference play. The win snapped their five game ACC losing streak.
Ryan Combs got the win for NC State, improving to 2-3 on the year. Schmitt, who delivered the game-winning homer, also earned his fourth save. Berney was tagged with his second straight loss, but he has gotten just one run and five hits of support in those two games.
Clemson's Khalil Greene was 2 of 4 and Casey Stone delivered the Tigers' other hit. Michael Johnson went 0 for 4 and snapped his 11-game hitting streak.
The series against NC State continues Saturday at 7:00 PM and concludes Sunday at 2:00 PM. Ryan Mottl (5-2, 2.62 ERA) will take to the mound for the Tigers on Saturday, while NC State will counter with Dan D'Amato (5-3, 3.39 ERA).
Advanced general admission tickets for Wednesday's Clemson vs. South Carolina baseball game will be sold at both the Saturday and Sunday games vs. NC State.