For seven innings on Saturday night, NC State pitching frustrated Caden Grice. But one mistake in the 8th inning completely changed the night for the left-handed slugger while sinking the Wolfpack at the same time. Facing a 1-2 count with two outs and his team trailing by one, Grice blasted a grand slam over the right field wall to lift Clemson past NC State 9-7 at Doak Field in Raleigh. It was his 9th HR of the season and second grand slam of the year. The win clinched a third straight ACC series for the Tigers, who notched a 10-2 victory over the Wolfpack on Friday night.
It appeared as though Clemson wouldn’t need Grice’s late-game heroics as the visitors plated four runs in their opening at-bat. Will Taylor got the scoring started with a two-run double before Blake Wright added an RBI fielder’s choice. Riley Bertram capped the scoring in the first with a two-out RBI double to give Clemson an early four-run cushion. Cooper Ingle also extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a bunt single in a very productive inning for the Tigers.
However, from there, NC State was able to seize the momentum. Will Marcy led off the fourth inning with a home run to put the Wolfpack on the board. Then NC State showed a little patience to close the deficit to one. A pair of bases-loaded walks off of Clemson reliever Nick Clayton made the score 4-3 Tigers heading to the fifth.
In the sixth, NC State grabbed its first lead of the night on a two-out, three-run triple from Jacob Cozart. Billy Amick answered for Clemson with a two-out single to cut the Wolfpack advantage to 6-5 in the seventh and set up Grice’s game-winning 440-foot blast. Cozart hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth for NCSU, but it wasn’t enough as Ryan Ammons was able to record the final three outs and preserve the victory.
Reed Garris (3-0) earned the win, while Ammons pitched 2.0 innings to record his first save of the year. Rio Britton (2-2) was tagged with the loss for NC State. Clemson improved to 24-16 overall and 8-9 in the ACC, while the Wolfpack fell to 25-13 overall and 8-11 in the league.
The series concludes Sunday afternoon at 2pm.