The Pack drops a Saturday double-header before the Cardinals clinch the sweep Sunday afternoon.

No. 2 NC State (29-8, 12-6 ACC) entered this weekend’s series against No. 12 Louisville (28-8, 13-5 ACC) as the Atlantic Division’s leader. However, the Wolfpack dropped all three games to the Cardinals, allowing Louisville to overtake State in the division rankings.

SATURDAY (GAME 1): Louisville 14, NC State 10

After Friday’s game was postponed due to rain, the Pack opened Saturday’s doubleheader at Doak Field by attempting to rally from an eight-run deficit, but State fell short to drop the series opener, 14-10.

Junior shortstop Will Wilson led the way offensively with two solo home runs. Sophomore catcher Patrick Bailey also went deep in the Wolfpack’s four-run loss.

Junior right-handed pitcher Jason Parker (3-2, 3.72 ERA) started on the mound and pitched five innings, but the New Bern, N.C. native got rocked for 11 runs, 10 earned, on 13 hits and three walks, striking out four batters before getting pulled. Sophomore left-hander Nick Swiney, junior right-hander Alec Barger, and freshman righty Baker Nelson pitched the final four innings with Swiney allowing an unearned run and Barger giving up two runs.

The Wolfpack answered the Cardinals’ first-inning run with a run of its own in the home half of the frame. Sophomore right fielder Jonny Butler led off with a single. Three batters later, senior first baseman Evan Edwards doubled to right-center, allowing Butler to score. The Pack wouldn’t score again until the third inning after the Louisville offense plated eight more runs. Wilson led off the bottom of the third with a solo shot, but the next three Pack batters would be retired in order.

In the bottom of the fifth, State scored two runs off back-to-back solo home runs by Wilson and Bailey. The Pack plated another run one inning later as Butler singled to drive sophomore pinch-runner Terrell Tatum home.

Trailing by seven runs, the Pack rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Freshman center fielder Tyler McDonough doubled to drive Edwards and Bailey home after the pair had led off with back-to-back walks. Freshman left fielder Marek Chlup followed with an RBI triple to plate McDonough. Sophomore second baseman David Vazquez then flew out to left, allowing Chlup to score on the sacrifice fly.

After Louisville answered the Pack’s rally with two runs in the top of the eighth, the Pack drove in its final run in the home half of the inning. Edwards led off with a triple before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Chlup two batters later.

SATURDAY (GAME 2): Louisville 14, NC State 2

The Cardinals carried its momentum from winning the first game of the twin-billing to obliterate the Pack’s pitching in the second game, 14-2.

Sophomore right-hander Reid Johnston (5-1, 4.02 ERA) surrendered nine runs on 10 hits and one walk before getting pulled after 3-1/3 innings. Sophomore southpaw David Harrison and junior right-hander Mathieu Gauthier each pitched 2-1/3 innings each with Harrison giving up three runs and Gauthier surrendering two before freshman righty Andrew Tillery pitched a shutout inning in the ninth.

The only runs scored by the Wolfpack came in the sixth inning. McDonough reached base on a one-out single. Two batters later, freshman designated hitter Luca Tresh drilled a two-run homer over the wall in left field.

SUNDAY: Louisville 6, NC State 3

The Pack came into Sunday looking to avoid the sweep, but the Cards’ pitching proved to be too insurmountable as Louisville left Raleigh with the win, 6-3.

Sophomore southpaw Canaan Silver (1-1, 2.90 ERA) pitched 5-2/3 innings during which he gave up three runs, two earned on six hits and a walk. After an inning of work from redshirt freshman righty Cameron Cotter who surrendered a run, junior lefty Kent Klyman pitched 1-1/3 innings, allowing two unearned runs on a hit and walk with two strikeouts.

Redshirt sophomore right-hander Dalton Feeney and junior right-hander Michael Bienlien combined to shut out the Cardinals in the ninth inning.

With the Louisville offense plating single runs in the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh innings; the Pack plated its first two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Tatum led off with a walk before Butler reached base with a single. After a groundout moved the runners to second and third, Edwards singled to bring Tatum home. Bailey then flew out to center, allowing Butler to score.

After two more runs came in for the Cards in the top of the eighth, the Pack’s final run came in the bottom of the ninth. Wilson drilled his third home run of the series over the wall in left field for his 12th four-bagger of the season.

The Wolfpack returns to action Tuesday as NC State travels to Wilmington to take on UNCW. First pitch from Brooks Field is set for 6 p.m.

Photo by Aaron Fitt

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