NC State’s eight-game winning streak came to an end Sunday against upstart Canisius. Golden Griffins’ pitchers silenced a State lineup that had been averaging 10 runs a game, twirling a two-hitter in a 3-2 win.
Will Wilson accounted for all the home team’s scoring with a two-run shot in the bottom of the third that briefly staked State to a 2-0 lead. David Harrison couldn’t hold it. The freshman lefty gave up a solo shot to Ryan Stekl and later the tying run while failing to make it out of the fourth. Harrison allowed five hits and plunked a batter in 3.2 innings pitched.
The score stayed tied until the top of the ninth, when Joseph Preziuso plated Cyrus Senior with a sacrifice fly. Joe O’Donnell was tagged with the loss, though after loading the bases in the ninth, he gave way to Michael Bienlien, who yielded the sac fly. O’Donnell, the team’s closer, has been used sparingly given all of the blowouts the Pack have piled up. It was a little surprising that the experienced senior was lifted rather than allowed to try work out of the mess he had created (not that Bienlien pitched poorly).
Nolan Clenney and Kent Klyman combined for 3.2 hitless innings, striking out four, to keep the game knotted at 2-2 before O’Donnell’s misadventures.
Brock Deatherage accounted for State’s other hit and also walked. After Brad Debo opened the bottom of the ninth with a four-pitch walk, Deatherage was not asked to bunt to move the tying run into scoring position and struck out. (I’m not complaining about not playing small ball, even with the speedy Deatherage at the dish, just pointing out that you may want to make some doomsday preparations given the shocking nature of this turn of events).
Four Golden Griffins combined on the two-hitter, though between them they walked seven batters. Michael Ginther got the win and Tyler Smith pitched the last inning for the save. Neither Ginther nor Smith has allowed an earned run this season for the 8-3 Griffins.
State, which fell to 10-2, completes a 13-game homestand to open the season Tuesday when it welcomes UNCW to the Doak at Dail.