One terrible, horrible, no good very bad inning buried NC State in its series opener against Florida State. The Pack surrendered 10 runs in the seventh in a 16-7 loss to the Seminoles; it was their fifth setback in their last six ACC contests.
The pain and suffering in the seventh included walking in multiple runs and even helping the Noles push one across on a bases loaded hit by pitch. The damage, unfortunately, came largely against Joe O’Donnell, who was a rock in the pen until recently. One hopes that his frequent multi-inning relief appearances haven’t caused his arm to fall off, and that his rough outing was an anomaly. He couldn’t locate; his fastball had no life; and the normally sharp slider was loopy. O’Donnell pitched a clean sixth but failed to record an out in the seventh, surrendering five runs on four hits, two walks, and a hit batter.
Kent Klyman came on and walked both batters he faced. Christian Demby got a couple of outs but also allowed a pair of runs in the inning. Evan Brabrand, the fourth pitcher of the inning, finally got the Pack out of the frame but not before allowing the 10th run of the inning. Braband gave up two more in the ninth.
Sean Adler, who drew the start, gave up four runs in five innings to take the loss, though it was a 4-3 game before the seventh-inning implosion. Zach Usselman was the only Pack pitcher to emerge unscathed, though he gave up a hit and a walk before eventually fanning the side to clean up Brabrand’s mess in the ninth.
There was one bright spot for the Pack in the form of Brett Kinneman, who seems to have emerged from his slump. Kinneman went yard twice and was the only State player to record multiple hits. His five homers are second on the team to Joe Dunand (10).
Brian Brown seeks his first win of an injury-plagued season when the teams return to action at the Doak at Dail Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Brown, who actually doesn’t have any decisions at all in his five outings (four starts), will look to improve upon his 3.24 ERA. It will be a tall task to tie the series, as FSU will run out Tyler Holton, who is fresh off a seven-inning performance against UNC in which his hits allowed were zero. Holton is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA.