DURHAM, N.C. — N.C. State broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the seventh inning and held on for a 6-3 win over Clemson in the ACC tournament in front of 4,834 fans at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Wednesday night.
“They just did a better job hitting with men on base,” said Clemson coach Jack Leggett said after watching his manage just one run in a bases loaded, no out situation in the sixth, one inning before N.C. State got four runs out of a bases-loaded situation just one inning later.
Clemson starter Daniel Gossett (9-4) limited N.C. State to just three hits over the first six innings, but he got himself in trouble with a couple of miscues in the seventh. After left fielder Bryan Adametz opened the inning with a single, Gossett added another base runner when he hit designated hitter Jake Armstrong.
“I just lost my command,” Gossett said. “I started leaving balls up, walking people and I hit a guy.”
After Gossett foiled an attempted sacrifice to get the lead runner at third base, he negated that stellar play when he wild-pitched the runners to second and third. Gossett then walked Wolfpack Trea Turner to load the bases with one out.
That was all the help the Pack needed. Jake Fincher ripped an RBI single between second and third and N.C. State added a second run on an errant throw from left fielder Tyler Slaton. Catcher Brett Austin drove in two more runs with a double.
The four runs made a winner of reliever Josh Easley (5-2), who pitched a strong four innings in relief of Wolfpack starter Brad Stone. The senior entered the game in the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs. He induced Garrett Boulware to bounce into a double play, then struck out Tyler Krieger to end the threat.
Easley did allow a solo home run by Boulware in the ninth, but he faced just 12 batters to get the final 12 hours.
N.C. State (43-13) is back in action at 11 a.m. Friday against Miami. Clemson (39-18) will return to action Friday at 7 p.m. against North Carolina.