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Piedmonte, Kinneman lead State to series win over Furman

NC State Athletics

Johnny Piedmonte didn’t have his best stuff but still limited Furman to a pair of runs over six innings, and Brett Kinneman stayed scorching hot, as NC State took the series over the visiting Paladins with a lopsided 9-2 final from the Doak at Dail.

Furman struck first with a run in the top of the first, but the Pack answered in the bottom half of the frame after Josh McLain and Kinneman hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. State would only manage one run on a Shane Shepard sacrifice fly but took the lead for good in the third when Evan Edwards plated Kinneman, who had walked, with a single.

Kinneman and Edwards both homered deep to center field to blow things open in the fifth; State led 5-1 after the frame. Kinneman ended the game 4-for-4 (with one gift hit from the official scorer), a walk, and two apiece of runs and RBI. He has an insane 16 RBI in just seven games and is batting .481 for the season. Edwards was also perfect at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with a walk.

Dillon Cooper and J.T. Jarrett continue to impress while Stephen Pitarra recovers from injury. Cooper entered the game second on the club with a .368 average and drove in a run with a sac fly. Jarrett was 2-for-3 and is hitting .500 in six appearances, which include two straight starts.

Piedmonte, who moved to 9-0 over the last two seasons, allowed two earned runs on six hits and a walk. He fanned five. Reid Johnston went the last three innings to earn his second save of the season. He allowed a couple of hits, didn’t walk anyone, and struck out three.

Will Wilson, mired in an early-season slump, was benched but appeared late in the game and drew a walk before grounding out in his only official at bat.

The only negative from the game was an injury to Brad Debo, who came up lame after a foolish decision to try to take second base after an RBI single. This is college baseball so good luck finding out any injury news, but hopefully it’s nothing long term. It was definitely a leg injury, which of course is extra tough on a catcher.

State has outscored Furman 19-2 in the series to move to 6-1. The Paladins dropped to 3-3 and will try to avoid the sweep Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.