NC State dropped the game and the series to Clemson on Sunday afternoon, but that is really not important right now. That game means little in the bigger picture, but if Wolfpack starter Ryan Williamson suffered an injury as bad as it looked, it alters the rest of State's season considerably.
Williamson was absolutely cruising--heading into the seventh inning, he'd thrown only 73 pitches. He'd allowed one unearned run. But in the first at-bat of the Clemson eighth, something went wrong. He was favoring his left arm after retiring that batter, leading to a huddle at the mound with Elliott Avent and pitching coach Scott Foxhall. It appeared to be an elbow injury.
After a few tosses, they decided to let Williamson stay in the game. He retired the next Clemson hitter, but his fastball velocity dipped from its usual low-90s to 85. The coaches had the good sense to get him out of the game after that. Probably should have gotten him out right away, but hey, hindsight, 20/20, and all that.
If his injury is serious, it's the worst possible timing for NC State and Williamson. State's about to head into the postseason and doesn't have a lot of rotation options. Williamson is draft-eligible this year, and we're only a month from the 2016 MLB Draft.
He's had an outstanding season, and along with Brian Brown has been the reason why NC State had a nice run of series wins prior to this past weekend. Sunday he might have been in the midst of his best start of the year. His control is sometimes lacking, but against the Tigers he was pitching with serious economy, and probably could have gone the distance.
Let's just hope this is a minor scare.