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NC State shuts out Clemson to win ACC road opener

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Sure, you were expecting a pitchers’ duel

NC State Athletics

Brett Kinneman homered to stake NC State to an early 1-0 lead, and four pitchers combined to shut out Clemson 4-0 in the Pack’s first road ACC game of the season. The Tigers entered the contest as the only ACC team not to taste defeat in league play and were ranked first in the early-season RPI rankings.

Michael Bienlien started for State and had the training wheels removed. The sophomore has been on a strict pitch count as he works through some arm troubles, but Bienlien worked into the six in his return to the weekend rotation, scattering five hits, walking one, and striking out three. He rolled a pair of inning-ending double-play balls.

Bienlien was followed by Nick Swiney and Nolan Clenney, who combined to get five outs. Neither threw more than 20 pitches, so both should be available later in the series. Kent Klyman worked the last 2.1 innings and looked dominant in picking up his third save. He walked a batter but fanned three and didn’t allow a hit.

The four pitchers that threw for State have a combined ERA of 0.92 on the season.

Josh McLain scored Brock Deatherage, who reached base three times and stole a base, with a sac fly in the fifth to put the Pack up 2-0. Will Wilson scored J.T. Jarrett with a single to make it 3-0 later in the frame.

Jarrett, who joined Kinneman and Wilson with a two-hit performance, had a two-out, two-strike single in the eighth to add an insurance run.

State banged out nine hits, coaxed four walks, took a hit by pitch, and Clemson committed five errors. Having two runners gunned down at the plate and another at third kept the Pack from breaking the game open.

Senior lefty Brian Brown will toe the rubber as the Pack try to take the series Saturday at 4 p.m.