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May 22, 2013
DURHAM, N.C. - NC State exploded for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to break open a tie game with Clemson in the nightcap of the ACC Championship's opening day Wednesday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Wolfpack used the big inning to secure a 6-3 victory over the Tigers.
"They just did a better job hitting with men on base," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said after watching his team manage just one run in a bases loaded, no out situation in the sixth, one inning before NC State got four runs out of a bases loaded situation just one inning later.
Clemson starter Daniel Gossett (L, 9-4) limited NC 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 leadoff batter 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 NC 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 to deep left-centerfield.
"The biggest part of that inning was getting the leadoff guys on," Fincher said.
The four seventh inning runs made a winner of relief pitcher Josh Easley (W, 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 catcher Garrett Boulware to bounce into a double play, then struck out shortstop Tyler Krieger to end the threat and limit the Tigers to a single run in the inning.
Easley did allow a solo home run by Boulware in the ninth, but he faced just 12 batters to get the final 12 outs.
"When we got ahead, I thought we had it," Austin, Easley's catcher, said. "He had everything - fastball, slider and command of the first pitch."
NC State (43-13) is off Thursday, but will be back in action at 11 a.m. Friday against Miami. Clemson (39-18) is also off Thursday and will return to action Friday night at 7 p.m. against North Carolina.