After losing a lead late in both of its first two games in the ACC tournament, NC State came out on the right side of the heroics Friday night in a 7-5 win over Georgia Tech. Stephen Pitarra tied the game with a two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth, and Brock Deatherage won it in the 12th with a two-run homer, the Pack's third of the game.
Brett Kinneman and Chance Shepard went back-to-back in the second to put the Pack up 3-0 in the early going. It was Shepard's second homer in as many days and 13th of the season. Kinneman has five round-trippers in his impressive freshman campaign.
Brian Brown couldn't make the lead stand up. After an uneventful first three frames, Brown came unhinged in a fourth inning that saw the Yellow Jackets scored all five of their runs. The sophomore lefty has now allowed four or more runs in four consecutive starts; his ERA has ballooned from 2.29 to 3.74 in that stretch.
Andrew Knizner and Kinneman made two quick outs to start the ninth with State still trailing 5-3, and it looked like the good guys would suffer the indignity of going winless in the tournament. But, Shepard walked and Tech centerfielder Ryan Peurifoy dropped what should have been the game-ending fly ball, setting the state for Pitarra's heroics.
Joe Dunand hit a one-out single and scored ahead of Deatherage's fifth homer in the 12th.
The beleaguered Pack pen that blew leads against Florida State and Miami was magnificent in this one, going eight shutout innings. Chris Williams dropped his ERA to 1.69 with four shutout innings; it was the second longest outing of the sidewinding redshirt senior's career. Austin Staley pitched a perfect ninth, and Will Gilbert added two shutout frames in extras to get credit for the win. Johnny Piedmonte, making just his third appearance in May, struck out the side in order to earn the save.
Tech went winless in pool play. The Pack finished 1-2. Miami and Florida State play Saturday with the winner advancing from pool A to play for the ACC championship. Clemson is in the driver's seat in pool B with a 2-0 mark, but Louisville and Wake Forest are still alive.
State's salvage win likely keeps it in the conversation for hosting a regional given its strength of schedule and RPI ranking, though any hopes of being a national seed faded with a 3-7 stretch run.