Tigers Fall to N.C. State, 5-4

N.C. State and Clemson opened up a three-game series, as the Wolfpack got the best of the Tigers by a score of 5-4 in front of 4,560 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday. The game saw three lead changes, highlighted by a set of back-to-back home runs for each team.

With the win, N.C. State moved to 13-5 (4-3 ACC), while the Tigers fell to 12-7 (2-5 ACC). Clemson's five ACC losses have been by a combined eight runs.

Joey Cutler (3-0) picked up the win in relief, while Jimmy Gillheeney picked up his fourth save of the season for the Wolfpack, who broke a seven-game losing skid at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Casey Harman (0-2) suffered the loss in relief for the Tigers.

The Wolfpack got the scoring started in the top of the third inning when Tommy Foschi led off with a double down the left-field line off starter Ryan Hinson. After a strikeout, a groundout by Dallas Poulk moved Foschi to third. Marcus Jones followed with a double over rightfielder Alex Lee's head, plating Foschi. Matt Payne followed with a single over shortstop Stan Widmann's glove, scoring Jones. Payne was thrown out trying to advance to second, ending the inning.

The Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with four runs. Wilson Boyd started the rally with a one-out single to second base. Doug Hogan drew a walk, putting two on for Ben Paulsen, who ripped his sixth home run of the season to left-center. Freshman Kyle Parker, who was 3-for-5 on the evening, followed with his sixth homer of the season, giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead.

N.C. State answered in the top of the sixth. Payne led off the inning with a triple to right field. On the 0-1 pitch to the next batter, Hogan picked Payne off third. On the next pitch, Ryan Pond drilled Hinson's 0-2 offering over the fence in left-center. Russell Wilson followed with a solo homer (his first career homer) to left, tying the score 4-4 and ending Hinson's outing.

The Wolfpack grabbed the lead back in the top of the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly after Payne and Pond each singled through the left side on 1-2 pitches. Pat Ferguson then moved the runners up on a sacrifice bunt. Pinch-hitter Nick Stanley then lofted a high fly ball down the left-field line, which Jeff Schaus caught in foul territory, but the ball was deep enough to score Payne, giving the Wolfpack a 5-4 lead going into the bottom half of the eighth.

Clemson threatened in the eighth, as Schaus walked and John Nester singled to center. Mike Freeman then drew the infield in on a bunting situation. After pulling the bat back and swinging, he hit a grounder to Poulk on a controversial play. Poulk never tagged Nester, but he was ruled out for being out of the baseline. After Poulk dropped the ball, he picked it back up and threw to first. Freeman dove head-first and was called out on a close play at the bag. Schaus moved to third on the play, but he was stranded when pinch-hitter John Hinson grounded out to shortstop.

Stan Widmann led off the ninth inning with a double, lacing the pitch down the left-field line. Boyd followed with a strikeout before Hogan walked, putting Tigers on first and second with one out. Paulsen then struck out looking and Parker grounded out to first to end the game.

The Tigers put 16 runners on base, but they only managed four runs. They also left 10 runners on base to N.C. State's six.

Clemson will continue the three-game series with N.C. State on Saturday night at 7:00 PM.

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