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Double Your Pleasure: Pack Welcome Pair of ACC Newcomers with Double Header Sweeps

Notre Dame put up more of a fight than Pittsburgh, but both the Pack baseball and softball teams both took two against the league's newbies on Saturday.


In game one of a Saturday twin bill, Carlos Rodon lacked his normal put-away stuff but nonetheless went the distance in N.C. State's 5-3 win over Notre Dame in a game that marked the Irish's ACC debut. Logan Jernigan and D.J. Thomas combined to shutout Notre Dame 1-0 in game two, giving the Pack their fourth straight win and a 2-0 start to league play.

Rodon, who threw 121 pitches, allowed 10 hits, all of which were singles and four of which came with two strikes on the batter, and three earned runs in nine innings pitched. The Pack defense turned a pair of double plays behind their lefty ace. Rodon fanned seven and walked just one, but, as evidenced by the four two-strike hits, he sometimes had uncharacteristic trouble burying the scrappy Irish hitters.

Notre Dame (5-8, 0-2) took a 1-0 lead on a Zak Kutsulis RBI single in the third and led 3-1 after a two-out, two-run single by Blaise Lezynksi in the top of the sixth. Logan Ratledge answered in the bottom of the inning, knotting the game on a two-run single that plated Jake Fincher and Trea Turner.

Jake Armstrong finally put the Pack (12-2, 2-0) on top with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth. Rodon worked around a Cavin Biggio leadoff single in the ninth to nail down his second win.

Jernigan, who has been statistically superior to the likely #1 overall pick in the early going, announced his presence with authority by striking out the first two hitters en route to a 1-2-3 inning in the night cap. Jernigan worked 7.1 innings and surrendered just four hits while striking out eight.  Once plagued with control problems, the righty continued his run of efficient outings by issuing just a pair of bases on balls. He's now 3-0 with an 0.73 ERA compared to Rodon's 2-2 mark with a 2.40 ERA.

The Pack struggled mightily to scratch out a run for Jernigan, even squandering a bases loaded, no out opportunity in the third when Turner bounced into a 1-2-3 double play. Brett Austin's two-out triple in the fifth was followed by a Fincher RBI single to finally give State the run that turned out to be the only score of the game. The Pack extended the two-out rally on Turner's infield single; Turner then tried to steal second, but apparently Fincher didn't get the memo, as he never broke for third on the play and was eventually gunned down at second while Turner stood confusedly by the bag.

Nick McCarty, who went 7.1 innings and struck out six, was the tough-luck loser for the Irish. D.J. Thomas went 1.2 innings and struck out two to record his first save of the season for the Pack. Thomas dropped his ERA to 1.29 by going unscored upon for the fourth time in five appearances; he's fanned 13 and walked just one in seven innings.

The teams wrap up the three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m. The game is available for your viewing pleasure on ESPN3.


Rather than Emily Weiman all the time--the reigning ACC tournament MVP frequently pitched every inning of every ACC weekend series a year ago--N.C. State's women's softball team is developing a one-two punch with the emergence of freshwoman Courtney Mirabella. The five-five righty won her second straight start in the second half of a double header against Pittsburgh, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth in the Pack's 5-2 win. State, which has won 11 straight, won the opener 9-0.

The lone hit allowed by Mirabella was a loud one; after she walked pinch hitter Morgan Choe to start the sixth, Tori Nirschl followed with a two-run homer for the Panthers (8-10, 0-2). That brought Weiman in to close the door with a two-inning save for the Pack (12-6, 5-0).

Weiman went five shutout innings in the opener, a 9-0, mercy-rule shortened win. She scattered five hits and struck out seven in her combined seven shutout innings on the afternoon. Chelsea Tate and Nadia Kemp were the offensive stars in game one, as Tate went 3-for-3 with four RBI and her third homer of the season and Kemp drove in three runs on a 2-for-3 effort. Lana Van Dyken drove in a pair of runs in game two.

First pitch for the series finale is slated for noon Sunday.