If Thursday’s game was the Joe Dunand game, Friday’s was shaping up to be the Evan Mendoza game. Then things got weird. More on that later…
Mendoza’s three-run bomb to straightaway centerfield broke a 1-1 tie early in the contest, and the Pack third baseman later went sprawling into the Clemson dugout to catch a popup in a Jeter-esque effort. And State needed a big game from Mendoza with Dunand not starting the contest due to a sore hand.
So Mendoza was the hero and State cruised to…well no. Things got weird. The weirdest of them all was Will Wilson’s inside-the-park grand slam as part of a seven-run eighth that saw State put the game away. Oops, no again. You see, I have the power of internet jinxing. It’s really more of a curse than a power.
Again, I’m so so so sorry about St. Louis. And TCU. You think I’d have learned. Alas, after Clemson’s centerfielder crashed into the wall in a failed attempt to corral Wilson’s blast, I slipped on in to last night’s game story and made a seemingly innocuous comment about how I hoped he, and Clemson’s program (losers of eight ACC games in a row coming in to tonight) would be okay. Did I triumphantly and in ALL CAPS type BALLGAME? No. But it was enough to rouse the baseball gods.
And then came the ninth. Joe O’Donnell, inexplicably left in the game after State had batted for about an hour in the previous inning, came out cold and walked like a million guys in a row in what was a 12-2 game. Then a couple of other relievers added some suck, culminating in Clemson’s own granny, this of the traditional over-the-fence variety, and before you know it the score is 12-10 and y’all are out there burning shit in my yard again.
Enter Sean Adler. Former weekend starter turned improbable closer. Adler notched his second save in as many days, ending the game with a disgusting slider strikeout. I take back all the negative things I said about you, Sean, when Google informed me you had been jettisoned from USC-West for filming your buddy getting it on with his girlfriend without her knowledge. As far as I’m concerned, we all grew up a little bit tonight.
So, normally I write these journalistic recaps, but that ninth inning, an inning that saw Clemson plate eight runs, perhaps resulted in this here clownblogger hitting the tequila firehose a little too hard. So you’ve got whatever that was above.
Let us throw out some facts and whatnot:
· Clemson has lost nine straight ACC games despite my best effort to jinx things.
· NC State has won eight straight ACC games (and 13 of 14 overall).
· The above turn of events has the two teams tied in the ACC standings, so Saturday’s season finale is rather important for ACC tournament seeding purposes.
· If State can complete the sweep tomorrow, and Virginia loses, I’m pretty sure we finish 4th in the ACC but doing math and figuring out tiebreakers is challenging at the moment.
· Hello there, two seed in the NCAAs (or one seed after we win the conference tournament).
· Mendoza finished with two hits and three RBI. Wilson had two hits, two runs scored, and drove in four. Brad Debo had three hits, scored a run, and drove in one.
· Dunand came on as a pinch hitter and stayed in to play SS, so it looks like he’s just fine. He had a hit and a walk after entering the game.
· Brian Brown was really good, allowing just one earned run in six innings, striking out six. He allowed an unearned run in the first thanks to some ugly defense.
· Dalton Feeney and Kent Klyman combined for a scoreless seventh.
· After it took three State pitchers to get one out (while allowing eight runs) in the ninth, Adler fanned both batters he faced.
The Pack’s regular season finale is slated for 1 p.m. tomorrow, and you can stream it on the ACC Network Extra if you have a strong heart.