Pack Rally Falls Short in Extras

NC State battled back to tie Louisville in the ninth, but the Cardinals hold off the Pack in 10 innings.

Daniel Wilson

RALEIGH, N.C. — NC State (13-11, 4-4 ACC) overcame an early deficit to send its Saturday contest against No. 1 Louisville (20-2, 7-1 ACC) into extra innings, but the Wolfpack went down quietly in the 10th inning to drop the game at Doak Field, 7-6.

Junior shortstop Joe Dunand finished the game 1-for-4 at the plate, but his lone hit was a three-run home run that tied the game at six apiece in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Freshman second baseman Will Wilson provided a solid offensive showing for the Pack. The Kings Mountain, N.C. native was 4-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and one run driven in.

State sent junior left-handed pitcher Brian Brown to the mound as the starting pitcher, but Brown struggled mightily against the Cardinals. The Glenmoore, Pa. native was pulled after giving up four runs on six hits and four walks in 2-2/3 innings.

After junior right-hander Evan Brabrand pitched the next 1-1/3 innings, freshman righty Michael Bienlien pitched three innings of nearly flawless relief. His only miscue was a solo home run off the bat of Devin Mann. The Chesapeake, Va. native led the Wolfpack pitching with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

Junior righty Zach Usselman, Freshman southpaw Kent Klyman, and redshirt sophomore right-hander Tim Naughton combined to pitch the next two innings, only surrendering a run on a hit. Redshirt sophomore right-hander Austin Staley (1-1, 3.18 ERA) and redshirt junior left-hander Cody Beckman pitched the 10th inning for the Pack with Staley surrendering the go-ahead run, giving the North Wilkesboro, N.C. native the loss.

The Wolfpack got the scoring started early with runs in the first and second inning. Junior first baseman Stephen Pitarra led off the home half of the first by getting hit by a pitch. Wilson followed with a single before Pitarra was tagged out on a fielder’s choice by junior center fielder Josh McLain. Freshman designated hitter Brad Debo plated Wilson with a single into center field.

In the second inning, junior catcher Andy Cosgrove reached base with a one-out single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior right fielder Brock Deatherage. After a Pitarra walk, Wilson drove Cosgrove in with a single. The Pack’s 2-0 lead would quickly diminish as the Cardinals plated four runs in the top of the third.

With State held scoreless from the third to the eighth and with Louisville scoring runs in the seventh and eighth, the Pack had their backs against the wall in the ninth. However, Wilson started the rally with a single before moving to second on a wild pitch. After McLain struck out, Debo singled, moving Wilson to third. Two batters later, Dunand drilled his seventh homer of the season over the wall in left.

Louisville managed to score a run in the top of the 10th while Cardinal closer Lincoln Henzman (1-0, 1.84 ERA) sent the Pack down in order to end the game.

The Pack will conclude its series with the Cards Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

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