By Trey McCurry.
Clemson, SC – Clemson dropped a 3-1 decision to #17 NC State in front of 5,619 fans Saturday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers fell to 20-16 (9-8 ACC) on the season while NC State improved to 23-10 (10-6 ACC). The two teams have split the first two games in the series and will square off in the finale Sunday afternoon at 1:00PM.
Carlos Rodon earned his sixth win of the season, throwing 129 pitches over 8.0 effective innings. He allowed just three hits, one run, and four walks against eight strikeouts. Chris Overman retired the final two batters in the ninth to earn his third save.
Clemson starter Dominic Leone suffered the loss to fall to 5-3 on the year. He allowed nine hits, three runs, and one walk against seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched. Patrick Andrews pitched the final 1.2 innings and did not allow a hit or walk while strikeout out two.
After a quite first five innings that saw the Tigers tally only one hit, they scored the games first run in the bottom of the sixth. Richie Shaffer drew a one-out walk and Phil Pohl followed with a two-strike double down the right-field line. Shaffer came in to score when Wolfpack outfielder Brett Austin struggled to field the ball cleanly.
NC State answered back with two runs in the top of the seventh. Ryan Mathews led off with a double off the wall and Andrew Ciencin followed with a one-out bad-hop infield single. After a groundout moved both runners up, Trea Turner hit a double just over a leaping Steve Wilkerson’s glove to put the Pack on top 2-1.
NC State added another run in the top of the eighth with two doubles to take a 3-1 lead.
However, Clemson put some pressure on the Pack in the ninth. Jay Baum blooped a single to center on an 0-2 pitch, becoming the first Tiger leadoff batter of an inning to reach base. Joe Costigan followed with a single through the right side to give the Tigers runners on the corners with no outs. After pinch-runner Tyler Slaton stole second base, Jon McGibbon chased a 3-2 pitch out of the zone for the first out. Pinch-hitter Brad Felder then struck out looking on three pitches and Jason Stolz popped out to second base to end the game.
Costigan came off the bench to go 2-for-2 and lead Clemson’s five-hit performance. Thomas Brittle, Pohl, and Baum had the other three hits while Shaffer scored the only run. The Tigers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-10 with two outs in the game. Shaffer, who went 0-for-3 with a walk also saw his 10-game hit streak end.