Wolfpack Takes Game Three

Aaron Cone's single off the left-field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted N.C. State to a 9-8 walkoff win over Clemson Sunday afternoon in front of 1,277 fans at Doak Field.

With the win, N.C. State won the series 2-1 despite the Tigers outscoring the Wolfpack by a combined score of 27-26 in the three games. N.C. State improved to 30-12 overall (11-10 ACC) and 18-0 when scoring first, while the Tigers fell to 25-16 (12-6 ACC).

Closer Joey Devine (3-2) picked up the despite allowing the tying run in the ninth inning. Stephen Faris (4-2) suffered the loss. Faris and starter Josh Cribb, who is second in school history in fewest walks per nine innings pitched, combined to allow four walks, while Wolfpack pitchers did not walk any Tigers on the afternoon.

Clemson, who out-hit N.C. State 14-12, was led by Tyler Colvin, who was 4-for-5 with two runs scored, three RBIs, and a school-record-tying three doubles. It was the 13th time in school history that a Tiger hit three doubles in a game. Ironically the last Tiger to do it was Colvin against Florida State on May 3, 2004 during his freshman season. Khalil Greene hit three doubles in a game on three different occasions, as Colvin became the second Tiger ever with multiple three-double games in a career. Colvin also extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest by a Tiger in 2005.

Herman Demmink, Brad Chalk, Kris Harvey, and Travis Storrer all added two hits apiece. Aaron Cone led the way for the Wolfpack, as the designated hitter went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a homer, and four RBIs. Like game one of the series, Aaron Bates reached base in all five of his plate appearances, as he was 2-for-2 with a homer, four runs scored, and three walks.

The Wolfpack jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a solo homer by Bates, his sixth of the season. He smashed a hanging, 3-2 breaking pitch deep over the wall in left field.

After Gib Hobson retired the first 10 batters in order, the Tigers capitalized on a costly Wolfpack error and scored four runs in the fourth inning. Chalk reached on a one-out single to shortstop Jonathan Diaz. Taylor Harbin then hit a potential inning-ending double-play ball to third-baseman Matt Devine, but his throw to second was high and went into right field. Colvin singled to right to score Chalk. Then Harvey hit a mammoth three-run homer to left field to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead. It was his ACC-leading 14th homer of the season.

N.C. State came right back and scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Bates reached on a leadoff walk and went to third on Cone's single through the right side. Ryan Pond followed with a single to center to plate Bates. But Cribb struck out Brian Aragon looking and Jake Muyco grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

The Wolfpack took the lead in the fifth inning thanks in part to Cone. Diaz lined a one-out single to left-center and Matt Camp followed with a single through the right side. After both runners moved up on a wild pitch, just the second of the year by Cribb, Ramon Corona lofted a sacrifice fly to center to score Diaz. The Tigers elected to intentionally walk Bates with two outs, and Cone made them pay by lining an opposite-field home to left-center, his second of the season, to give the Wolfpack a 6-4 lead.

The Tigers wasted little time responding to the Wolfpack's four-run fifth inning. Colvin laced a double to right field in the sixth inning, and Harvey followed with a line-drive single through the left side. Pond was unable to field the ball cleanly in left field, allowing Colvin to score on the error. After Storrer lined out to left field for the second time in the game, Andy D'Alessio broke an 0-for-15 slump with a triple over the first-base bag to score Harvey. But the Tigers could not push across the go-ahead run, as Stan Widmann hit a soft liner back to the pitcher and Adrian Casanova flew out to end the inning.

In came 6'10" Andrew Brackman to the mound for the Wolfpack in the seventh inning. The freshman righthander and Wolfpack basketball player gave up a leadoff single up the middle to Demmink. Demmink then stole second, but was left there for the next two batters, as Chalk struck out looking and Harbin grounded out to shortstop. But Colvin came through with a line-drive double to left to score Demmink and give the Tigers a 7-6 lead. It was the first extra-base hit allowed by Brackman in 2005.

In the eighth inning, the Wolfpack put their first two batters on base with walks, with the latter just missing the strike zone on a 3-2 pitch according to home plate umpire Don Gilmore. Ryan Johnson struck out four out #1 when he fouled off a 3-2 bunt. But Aragon followed with a run-scoring single to left to tie the score 7-7. Muyco followed with a ground ball to Widmann at shortstop, who threw to Harbin at second for out #2. Harbin's relay throw to first, which would have been in time for the double play, was low and the ball got past D'Alessio, allowing Cone to score. It was only Harbin's third error of the season, all of which have been throwing errors.

In came Devine in the top of the ninth, who got Demmink to ground out to begin the frame. Chalk then slapped a ball to deep short, as he just beat the throw to first base. Harbin grounded out to third, but Chalk advanced to second. Colvin then lined a double to the wall in right field to tie the score. It was his third double of the game and 18th of the season, tying Harbin for the team lead in that category.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Corona slapped a one-out single through the left side. After just missing on a 2-2 pitch, Faris gave up a bloop single to center by Bates thanks to Chalk playing deep to prevent any doubles. Corona easily made it to third, as he was moving on the hit-and-run. Cone followed with a single high off the wall in left field to plate the winning run. It was the fourth time in 2005 that the Tigers lost on a walkoff play. Clemson also fell to 4-8 in one-run games.

Clemson, who has played 21 of its first 41 games away from home, will play host to Elon Tuesday at 7:15 PM in its next action.

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