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NC State rallies to take game two from Wake Forest, 7-5

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NC State Athletics

Brett Kinneman got NC State off to a 3-0 start on Friday with a home run to left. On Saturday it was Wake Forest that hit a three-run shot in the first inning, putting State in a hole from which it successfully escaped. A five-run fourth gave NC State the lead and State outlasted the Deacs for a 7-5 win.

The first inning was eventful, because the Deacs scored three times and the umpiring was so poor that Elliott Avent worked himself up to an ejection in the inning after. The home plate umpire was not popular on Saturday night, on either side. Avent was the notable casualty. Brian Brown’s pickoff move got called for a balk, and Avent shortly after had to call it an evening.

But State came back from that poor first inning and the depth of its lineup showed in the fourth: Will Wilson hit a solo shot to center, Brett Kinneman tripled to center, and Evan Edwards smoked a ball down the alley in left.

Edwards gave State a 4-3 edge, which would be pushed to 5-3 before the end of the inning. Wake Forest got even in the sixth with a two-run double down the left field line, which pretty much ended Brian Brown’s up-and-down evening. Brown allowed five runs over six innings but also struck out 10.

This is not the most compelling way to win a close game, but this is how NC State did it: two bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the seventh gave the Pack a 7-5 lead that it would hold for the next two innings. Hey, man, winning in baseball isn’t always flashy.

Joe O’Donnell worked a four-out save to finish things out and clinch the series. State will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon.