NC State missed some opportunities to bury Boston College early, but Brett Kinneman finally took the drama from the game, and set up a Friday winner moves on matchup with North Carolina, with a three-run bomb in the bottom of the seventh in Tuesday’s pool B action from the ACC tournament. Johnny Piedmonte and Sean Adler combined to allow just one run in the Pack’s 6-1 win over the Eagles.
The Pack appeared on their way to easily avenging getting swept in Boston when they opened the game with consecutive singles from Stephen Pitarra, Josh McLain, and Brad Debo. Kinneman, who drove in four, plated a run with a fielder’s choice and Will Wilson dumped a slider in to right to make it 3-0.
BC starter Jacob Stevens stayed in trouble but escaped a bases loaded jam in the fourth, and he and reliever John Witkowski put goose eggs on the board from the second through the sixth to keep the Eagles in the game. Witkowski got two quick outs in the seventh before a two-out hit to Debo and a well-worked walk from Joe Dunand set the stage for Kinneman’s insurance blast.
Piedmonte was often up in the zone but the light-hitting BC lineup couldn’t take advantage. The big righty ran in to his only trouble in the sixth when he failed to yield to a charging Evan Mendoza on a bunt hit. Not only did Mendoza have a shot to make the play, but the third baseman was bloodied by the collision with Piedmonte, though he stayed in the game.
The next ball found Mendoza, who bobbled it and made a bad throw to second. Jake Palomaki, who was on after the bunt, tried to take third on the throw and would’ve been out on the play, but Dunand dropped the ball while applying the tag. Piedmonte got down 2-0 on the next batter and was done in favor of Adler after 73 pitches.
Adler ended up losing the batter, though the bases-loading walk was charged to the starter, but then induced a 4-6-3 double play to help him escape with his team up 3-1. Piedmonte went 5-plus frames, allowing six hits, one run, and two walks. He fanned three. Adler, who threw 61 pitches, allowed just one hit but walked three and hit a batter. He didn’t record a single strikeout but did get credit for his third save in as many State wins.
Piedmonte and Adler could conceivably piggyback again on Saturday should State find its way past UNC Friday night at 7 p.m. Carolina’s game with BC is meaningless, so expect the Heels to save their best arms for Friday. That means J.B. Bukauskas, a likely top ten pick in June, will likely toe the rubber against NC State’s Brian Brown.