The normally reliable Austin Staley surrendered a couple of solo shots to cough up a 3-1 lead against Miami in the eighth, but Shane Shepard picked him up with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning, and Staley nailed it down in the ninth to give NC State a 5-3 win in its ACC home opener Friday night.
Joe O’Donnell was lights out from the Pack pen, getting a strikeout to end a bases-loaded threat after coming on with two outs in the fifth of a 1-1 game. O’Donnell and his filthy slider sat down all seven batters he faced, five by strikeout, and four of those looking.
Both teams scored an ugly run in the early going. Evan Mendoza led off the bottom of the second with a single and eventually scored with the help of two wild pitches. The Hurricanes answered with a run in the third thanks to a pair of Pack errors. The Canes didn’t get their first hit until the fourth against State starter Sean Adler, who allowed just an unearned run in 4.2 innings but walked five.
Joe Dunand singled home Will Wilson, who had doubled, to put the Pack back in front in the sixth. Dunand stole second and scored on a Brad Debo single to make it 3-1. Dunand’s one-out walk sparked State’s third go-ahead rally. He was followed by a Mendoza single and both eventually scored on Shepard’s double to left center.
Solo homers from Johnny Ruiz and Romy Gonzalez made Shepard’s heroics necessary. Staley, who struck out a batter in each of his two frames, allowed a one-out single in the ninth but then induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
NC State will go for the series win, and its fourth straight win overall, behind Brian Brown Saturday evening.