Sean Adler and Joe O’Donnell combined to allow just one run and strikeout 12 as NC State knocked off #1 Louisville and its ace, Brendan McKay, 3-1 Friday night at the Doak at the Dail. Pack batters fanned 15 times but strung together just enough hits to spring the upset and move to 4-3 in ACC play.
State struck first in an eventful bottom of the first after a delay when the home plate umpire was kayoed by a fastball to the mask. After the delay, Brad Debo and Evan Mendoza smoked back-to-back doubles. Stephen Pitarra, playing first for an injured Shane Shepard, reached on an infield single to start the inning and scored on Debo’s liner down the leftfield line. Mendoza’s two-bagger scored Debo to give State a 2-0 lead.
After getting three hits in the first, State managed just three more the rest of the way, but one was a lined shot over the leftfield wall off the bat of Andy Cosgrove to make the score 3-0. Josh McLain had both of the Pack’s other hits, one a double, and also stole two bases.
McKay, who entered the game 4-0 with just one earned run allowed all season, hadn’t allowed an extra base hit all year before allowing four Friday night. He struck out 14 to just one walk but was charged with three earned in seven innings.
Adler was brilliant through five but ran into trouble in the sixth. He allowed Louisville’s lone run in the frame and left two men on for O’Donnell, who cleaned up the mess en route to a 3.1 inning save. Adler fanned seven while O’Donnell set down five via strikeout, three looking. In his last three outings, O’Donnell has pitched nine shutout innings and struck out 15. Twelve of those K’s were of the backwards variety. I’d say the slider is working pretty well.
Louisville started the season 19-0 but has lost two straight. The Cardinals first ACC loss drops them to 6-1 in league play. State will go for the series win behind Brian Brown tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game is on your regional sports network on actual TV as well as the handy streaming service known as the ACC ESPN Network Extra.