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Bullpen saves NC State in 7-6 win over Indiana

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Whew. Wow. Whew. Holy crap. Whew. It took 12 innings, but NC State is through with a 7-6 victory over Indiana. The Wolfpack plated a pair in the top of the 12th and then held off a Hoosiers rally in the bottom half of the inning to secure the victory.

A Joe Dunand moon shot tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the eighth inning to give the Wolfpack life, and the bullpen did a heck of a job to deliver this win.

Starter Johnny Piedmonte did not make it out of the first inning after allowing three runs, and Elliott Avent’s quick hook ended up paying dividends. For one thing, Piedmonte certainly can come back and throw later this weekend; for another, Avent’s bullpen was tremendous.

State’s relievers went more than 11 innings and allowed only three more runs; Joe O’Donnell was exceptional in 4-2/3rds innings, striking out six while allowing one run on three hits.

After Dunand’s blast, State had several opportunities to plate the lead run but failed to do so until the 12th, when Garrett Suggs singled and later scored on an infield error. Brad Debo added a very necessary insurance run by driving home Stephen Pitarra later in that inning.

The Hoosiers got one back in the bottom half of the 12th but Sean Adler finished the job for State, keeping the Pack well and alive in the winner’s bracket.

The bad news here is that State had to burn through all of its useful bullpen arms to get this thing done, but hey, if you die today, you don’t live to see tomorrow.

NC State will get its shot against host Kentucky Saturday night at 7 p.m.