NC State jumped out to an early lead on Florida State thanks to a pair of solo home runs by Evan Edwards (2nd inning) and Brett Kinneman (4th inning), and never trailed in taking the series finale, 5-3. Edwards also drove in runs in the 7th inning (via a bases loaded walk) and the 9th inning (sacrifice fly) to help propel the Wolfpack to the win. The outcome pushed the Wolfpack’s win total on the season to 40 (40-14 overall), and also tied a single season program record for conference wins (19), equaling the marks of the 2012 and 2013 teams.
David Harrison got the start on the mound for the Pack, looking very sharp over 3+ innings of work. Aside from one poorly placed pitch that was murdered by FSU catcher Cal Raleigh for a solo home run in the 4th, Harrison kept the Seminoles hitters off-balance in the early going of the game. Following the Raleigh home run, Harrison coaxed a weak popout from ‘Noles 3B Drew Mendoza before getting an early hook after a seeing-eye bloop double by FSU RF Steven Wells. Nolan Clenney came on to get a groundout from the only batter he faced in the game to end the inning.
Kent Klyman (7-2) made his obligatory appearance and pitched well through the 5th and 6th innings to earn the win (although I believe Clenney should have technically been awarded the win by the letter of the rule), but did run into trouble with two outs in the 7th. A walk, a hit-by-pitch, and an RBI single on a close play at the plate spelled the end of the day for Klyman. Connor Centala came on in relief, allowing an RBI double to Raleigh, but getting Mendoza to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Michael Bienlien allowed two runners to reach with two outs in the 8th, but got through the inning unscathed, and Joe O’Donnell came on in the 9th to set down all three FSU batters he faced and earn his 11th save of the season, tying him for the ACC lead, and nailing down the win for the Wolfpack.
Edwards (1-2, HR, BB, SF, R, 3 RBI) had a huge day, personally accounting for four of State’s five runs. Kinneman (2-3, 2B, HR, BB, 3 R, RBI) had a two hit effort, thanks to Dave Huxtable’s friend causing the FSU right fielder to lose the ball, notching a gracious double to go along with his solo home run and scoring three times on the day.
Next up for the Wolfpack is the ACC Tournament in Durham, starting Tuesday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. NC State will be the #3 seed in the tournament, where they will be matched up with the #6 and #10 seeds. More info to come on the tournament in a future post.