After inheriting two runners in the bottom of the seventh with nobody out, N.C. State's Austin Staley was one strike away from escaping unscathed, but Logan Taylor waited on a slider and poked it in to right field to give Louisville an insurance run and a 2-0 lead. That second run seemed like a thousand runs with Brendan McKay and Zack Burdi on the mound. McKay, a sophomore lefty who has never lost at home, and Burdi, who routinely hits 100 on the gun to go with a filthy Frisbee slider, combined for a three-hitter in the Cards' 2-0 win.
Nick Solack's solo homer in the first accounted for Louisville's first run. It was the Cards' 40th win on the season.
The Pack played without skipper Elliott Avent, who, as I'm sure you've heard, is recovering from a snake bite.
Evan Mendoza hit in his 21st straight game for the Pack, and Cory Wilder pulled himself together after a rough start a week ago at Clemson. Wilder allowed six hits and two runs in six innings, walking just two and fanning four. Staley got two outs and Cody Beckman gave up just a walk in 1.1 innings.
McKay fanned eight in 7.2 innings and surrendered the hit to Mendoza, as well as one to Josh McLain and Preston Palmeiro. Burdi speared a sharply hit one-hopper off Mendoza's bat to rob him of a hit in the 9th; he fanned the other three batters he faced.
Louisville entered the series second in the NCAA's official RPI rankings. The Pack rank sixth. Though road losses to a higher ranked team shouldn't damage the Pack in the eyes of the computer, they really need to manage at least one win in the next two games to help themselves in the human conversation about a potential national seed in the NCAA tournament.
Saturday's first pitch is at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on whatever your regional sports network affiliate is that broadcasts ACC baseball. So, uh, check your local listings. Just don't expect a lot of offense; the Card's starter, Drew Harrington, is 9-1 with a 1.73 ERA. (Oh, and their Sunday starter is 10-0.)