NC State gave Miami a parting gift Sunday afternoon, walking six batters, hitting one, uncorking a run-scoring wild pitch, and committing three errors in a 7-5 loss to the Hurricanes. State’s modest four-game winning streak came to an end, though they did take the series with wins on Friday and Saturday night.
Let’s not talk about the negatives—Elliot Avent leaning on pitchers that should be midweek pitchers to put State in a huge hole early, Dalton Feeney’s implosion after a Joe Dunand error opened the floodgates in the second inning, DeJuneas inexplicably playing in the outfield, where he dropped a routine fly ball, Josh McLain getting picked off second when you’re down a bunch of runs, etc.—because we don’t need any negatives in our lives now do we. (Seriously, if you watched this and didn’t break anything, you should lead an anger management class.)
There were some positives. Chiefly, Joe O’Donnell’s continued dominance out of the pen. He didn’t allow a hit and fanned five Canes in three innings of work, all of them looking. O’Donnell fanned 10 in the series in two relief stints spanning 5.1 innings, and nine of them were of the backwards K variety. He always had a nasty slider but has added a Maddux-esque run to his fastball that has batters in a deep freeze.
Michael Bienlien was also good, working a pair of shutout frames and fanning two. Everyone else who pitched was brutal. If Avent was willing to throw O’Donnell three innings after he worked 2.1 on Friday, and he’s clearly your best reliever, why the heck not go to him to stop the bleeding early rather than waiting until you’re down five?!???!!
Oh that’s right, I’m staying positive.
Offensively, Dunand hit his sixth homer into the teeth of a strong wind, and Evan Mendoza had a couple of hits. State hit the poo out of Canes’ closer Frankie Bartow but kudos to Miami leftfielder James Davison, who made a diving catch and a running grab in the alley to thwart the last-inning rally.
State hosts Campbell midweek before the frightening baseball machine from Louisville rolls in to Raleigh next weekend. A lot of rain would totally be okay. (Louisville HAS NOT LOST A BASEBALL GAME this year in case you haven’t heard).