Photo by © David Grooms/Clemson Sports Talk
Clemson Baseball

N.C. State shuts out Clemson in first home loss of the season

March 16, 2018
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CLEMSON -- Five Clemson errors were enough for No. 10 North Carolina State to unhinge Clemson’s undefeated season at home.

No. 2 Clemson was shut out by the Wolfpack 4-0 in game one of the weekend series Friday night.

Clemson’s defense allowed 11 free bases thanks to a combination of walks and errors.

“We played sloppy tonight,” Monte Lee said. “Very uncharacteristic of us.”

N.C. State was led by its top three hitters of Josh McLain, Brett Kinneman, and Will Wilson, who combined for five of the Wolfpack’s eight hits and three RBIs.

Clemson left eight runners on base and hit 2-for-18 with runners on base. There were no extra-base hits, and no runners even got past second base.

The Tigers had a tough day offensively, getting runners on first and second three different times with one out. Clemson hit into two double plays, flew out and struck out in all three instances to keep any home-field momentum away.

Clemson left eight runners on base and hit 2-for-18 with runners on base. There were no extra-base hits, and no runners even got past second base. Two-out hitting, which has been key to Clemson’s offensive success so far this season, was absent as Clemson went 0-for-7 in that category.

N.C. State came into the game with 3rd in the national ranking in home runs (1.83 per game) and batting average (.341). In the 1st inning, Kinneman hit the first pitch he saw over the right-field forcing Clemson to play catch up from the very start.

“They got arguably the best hitter in the country right now,” Lee said of Kinneman. “We can’t throw one fastball. The first fastball he sees, he hits it out of the ballpark. He’s locked in.”

But the story of the game was Clemson’s comedy of errors and lack of offensive opportunities.

The biggest error of the night came at the top of the 5th inning. A Jacob Hennessy throwing error after a sacrifice bunt put the Wolfpack in business. A sacrifice fly and a single scored two runs to give N.C. State a 3-run cushion.

Hennessy had a fine outing with seven strikeouts, but six hits and three runs were all the damage N.C. State needed.

N.C State starter Michael Bienlien pitched five solid innings in the win. He retired seven consecutive batters at one point before the bullpen took over. N.C. State’s bullpen only gave up one hit in the final three innings to shut the game down.

“One situation we have been in is we have lost on Friday nights plenty of times and won the series.”
- Monte Lee

Even though this was Clemson’s first home loss of the season, the Tigers have been in this situation before.

Lee had a message for his team after the game.

“One situation we have been in is we have lost on Friday nights plenty of times and won the series,” Lee said. “It’s only game one. Game two is critical because it gets us right back in the series. The big message for our guys was: learn from our mistakes that we made, understand we are going to have to make a complete 180 adjustment.”

Clemson lost its Friday night game against South Carolina, its only other loss of the season, before winning the next two games in the series.

The Tigers will take the field in game two against N.C. State at 4:00 PM Saturday afternoon.

 
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