NC State got a three-run big fly from Brett Kinneman but was otherwise inept offensively, wasting a solid surprise pitching effort from Connor Centala in a 4-3, extra-inning loss in the series opener at Florida State.
Kinneman’s 16th home run of the season gave the Pack a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth; State couldn’t manage to scratch out a single run in any of the game’s other 10 innings. The most frustrating offensive failure came in the 11th, when Will Wilson led off with a triple but was stranded when Patrick Bailey, Kinneman, and Brock Deatherage struck out against FSU freshman phenom C.J. Van Eyk, who moved to 5-0 when the Noles walked it off in the bottom of the inning.
FSU knotted the contest in the bottom of the sixth when Rhett Aplin scored all the way from first on a Drew Mendoza single when Deatherage mishandled the routine play. Deatherage had a pair of hits in the game but fanned three times in addition to committing the costly miscue. The unearned run was the only damage off Kent Klyman in his two innings of relief.
Centala went three scoreless innings, a career long outing, and fanned three. It was just the eighth appearance of the season for the redshirt freshman, but his second in as many games, and he certainly earned more opportunities.
Joe O’Donnell looked to be warming for a save opportunity after Wilson’s triple in the 11th but instead came on in a tie game after the Pack failed to push across the go-ahead run. O’Donnell quickly got ahead 0-2 in the count on Steven Wells, who chased a slider off the plate for strike two. After a waste pitch fastball, O’Donnell went back to his signature slider but hung it. Wells didn’t miss it. Game over.
The extra-inning affair obscured a couple of solid starts by FSU’s Drew Parrish and State’s Reid Johnston. Parrish gave up Kinneman’s bomb but struck out 10 to just one walk in 7.2 innings. Johnston fanned four to just one walk in five frames. He allowed two earned runs. State struck out a total of 15 times.
Game two in Tallahassee will be at 6 p.m. Friday.