NC State’s game one woes continued Friday night. The Pack dropped their third consecutive ACC series opener, this time 8-2 to Louisville in a game dominated by the Cardinals’ Adam Wolf. State rallied to win both of its previous ACC series after going down 1-0 but may find the sledding tougher against a Louisville program that has ended its season in Omaha in three of the past five years.
Wolf didn’t allow a Pack baserunner past first base until Will Wilson reached third on a three-base error to open the seventh. Two batters later, Stephen Pitarra bounced into an inning-ending double play. Brett Kinneman ended the previous inning by rolling into a 4-6-3 pitcher’s best friend.
Wolf allowed just two hits and two walks in his seven shutout innings. The Pack did put the ball in play for the most part, fanning six times against the veteran lefty who came in averaging well over a K per inning. Wolf lowered his season ERA to 2.28.
The Cards got all the offense they would need on one swing from Logan Wyatt, who hit a grand slam on a 2-2, two-out pitch in the bottom of the third off State starter Johnny Piedmonte. Wyatt finished the evening 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI.
Piedmonte didn’t have anything resembling command but still nearly escaped the third unscathed after loading the bases with one out. Piedmonte fanned Devin Mann for the second out of the inning after a 10+ pitch at bat and was a strike away from getting out of the frame when a cut fastball didn’t cut. Wyatt didn’t miss it.
Piedmonte, who allowed four hits, walked three, hit a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch, lost for the first time since 2016. It was a good run, man.
Josh McLain yanked a Shay Smiddy offering over the leftfield wall in the eighth to account for all of NC State’s offense. Danny Oriente drove in three from the DH slot for Louisville.
NC State, behind Brian Brown, will try to even the series from Jim Patterson Stadium Saturday at 1 p.m.