RALEIGH, N.C. — NC State (4-9, 1-8 ACC) returned to action following a hiatus due to COVID-19 this weekend as No. 7 Louisville (14-5, 7-2 ACC) came to Doak Field for a three-game series.
However, the Wolfpack dropped all three games to the Cardinals, further cementing its place in the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. This marks the first time State has lost its first three ACC series since 2002 when Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Clemson brought the Pack to a 2-7 conference record.
Game 1: Louisville 13, NC State 1
Louisville junior left-handed pitcher Michael Kirian (4-0, 0.77 ERA) pitched a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Friday evening’s game as the Cardinals’ offense provided more than enough insurance to secure the win, 13-1.
Kirian surrendered the Pack’s lone run on just two hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters to earn the victory. His counterpart for the home team, junior left-hander Evan Justice (1-2, 10.18 ERA), left after giving up seven runs on seven hits and four walks with five strikeouts in his 4-1/3 innings of work.
After Justice, freshman righty Chris Villaman gave up four runs in 1-2/3 innings. Freshman right-hander Coby Ingle, sophomore righty Andrew Tillery, and freshman southpaw Cameron Arnold pitched an inning each afterward with Tillery giving up two runs.
Junior second baseman J.T. Jarrett scored the Wolfpack’s only run of the game. The Greensboro, N.C. native drew a leadoff walk to start the eighth inning and moved to second on a single by junior left fielder Terrell Tatum, the first hit for State’s offense. Freshman shortstop Jose Torres followed with an RBI single to drive Jarrett home.
Game 2: Louisville 6, NC State 3
The Wolfpack started Saturday afternoon’s game in an early deficit, but despite providing more offense than the night before, State dropped the series-clinching game for Louisville, 6-3.
Cardinal junior right-hander Glenn Albanese (3-0, 1.76 ERA) gave up two of NC State’s three runs in six innings to pick up the win. After pitching a clean seventh inning, Louisville freshman left-hander Tate Kuehner gave up a leadoff homer to Torres followed by a single and a walk before the Cards’ closer, freshman righty Kaleb Corbett slammed the door with three strikeouts in two innings to pick up his third save of the season.
On the mound for the Wolfpack, freshman right-hander Sam Highfill (0-1, 4.87 ERA) picked up the loss after giving up three runs, two earned in 4-1/3 innings. The Apex, N.C. product struck out three batters with four hits and two walks surrendered before junior righty Reid Johnston pitched the final 4-2/3 frames, allowing three runs, two earned, as well with two strikeouts.
Tatum put the Pack on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with a solo shot off of Albanese. However, Louisville had already seen three runners score prior to the homer. In the next inning, freshman left fielder Noah Soles reached base with a two-out single before scoring on a Torres triple.
Louisville responded with runs in the sixth and seventh inning before Torres’ four-bagger off of Kuehner in the eighth. The Wolfpack managed to load the bases after the homer with nobody out, but Corbett silenced the next three batters in a row before hurling a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.
Game 3: Louisville 8, NC State 3
Looking to avoid the sweep, NC State took its first lead of the series in the fifth inning. However, the Wolfpack bullpen severely crumpled in the eighth inning as the Cardinals rallied to win, 8-3.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Willadsen matched his 2020 season strikeout total with seven K’s against the potent Louisville offense in 6-2/3 innings. The Holly Springs, N.C. native gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits before junior left-hander Canaan Silver finished the seventh inning. After giving up a one-out double in the eighth, Silver was relieved of his pitching duties.
Tasked with keeping the runner on second from scoring with one out in the top of the eighth, redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Dalton Feeney (0-1, 23.14 ERA) gave up a single, an RBI single, and a two-run double before senior southpaw Kent Klyman poured more fuel on Louisville’s fire with two RBI singles allowed to the three batters faced. Freshman righty Cooper King pitched the final 1-1/3 innings with the Cards tacking on another run in the ninth.
The Wolfpack got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning after Louisville drew first blood in the top half. Tatum bunted his way aboard and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior right fielder Devonte Brown. Two batters later, Torres doubled to left-center field to drive Tatum home.
State took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Redshirt junior designated hitter Danny Carnazzo led off with his first hit in a Wolfpack uniform. After moving to second on a Louisville error, Carnazzo scored on a Jarrett double. Sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough walked on a wild pitch that moved Jarrett to third. Sophomore catcher Luca Tresh followed with a sacrifice fly, driving Jarrett home for State’s final run.
The Wolfpack returns to action on Tuesday, March 23 at UNCW. First pitch from Brooks Field is set for 6 p.m.