Will Wilson, Evan Edwards, and Patrick Bailey hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough to overcome another porous performance from the Pack pen, and NC State’s string of 10 straight ACC series wins came to an end with an 8-6 loss to North Carolina.
Brian Brown entered the game having allowed just three extra-base hits, all of which were doubles, on the season but gave up three home runs, all solo shots, and five runs (four earned) in 6.2 innings. Brown suffered his first loss of his senior campaign but pitched well enough to keep the Pack in it.
A night after the normally reliable Kent Klyman was roughed up, the normally reliable Nolan Clenney was battered by the Heels. Clenney gave up two hits, issued a couple of free passes (one intentional), and also hit a batter in giving up three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings to help the Heels push their lead to 8-3. Brown hit three Heels and, in all, Pack pitchers put eight on via the HBP or walk.
Add in a couple of errors, a passed ball, a wild pitch, and it was an ugly game where a pair of unearned runs proved the difference.
The three consecutive bombs in the ninth provided a little bit of drama for the capacity crowd at the Doak at Dail, but State ultimately never brought the tying run to the plate, as Brock Deatherage and Terrell Tatum struck out, and Stephen Pitarra bounced out to end it after the long-ball binge. Deatherage and Tatum combined to go 0-for-8 and fanned five times. Slumping Brett Kinneman fanned three times for a Pack lineup that’s gone down without contact 28 times through the first two games of the series.
Wilson homered twice and added a double in a 3-for-4 evening at the dish. He’s just one behind Kinneman’s 13 for the team lead in long balls. Edwards had a two-run single to go with his solo shot, and Bailey also finished with two hits. Outside of those three, a Josh McLain infield single was State’s only hit.
The Pack will try to avoid the sweep Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.