NC State used a pair of three-run innings to bury Louisville early, and got a dominant long relief outing from Nolan Clenney to make sure its early lead held up, in a 10-3 rubber match win at Louisville Sunday afternoon. The Pack have won all five of their ACC series this season.
The Pack loaded the bases in the first but looked like they might come up empty when Brock Deatherage sent a slow bounder to third with two outs, but third baseman Justin Lavey uncorked a wild throw up the rightfield line. The error, one of three costly miscues by the Cardinals, cleared the bases thanks in part to rightfielder Drew Campbell not bothering to back up on the play.
Brett Kinneman launched his 13th home run of the season in the fourth, a three-run shot plating Terrell Tatum and Stephen Pitarra that came with two outs. Kinneman had two hits and four more RBI—he added an RBI groundout later in the game—and is up to 44 RBI in 31 games. He had 10 homers and 41 RBI in 60 games a year ago.
Clenney was masterful in relief of Michael Bienlien, throwing 3.1 innings of hitless relief to get credit for the win. Clenney got seven of his 10 outs via strikeout, and the only thing resembling damage he allowed was one walk. State pitchers fanned 15 on the afternoon.
Bienlien couldn’t manage to make it through five despite a 6-1 lead but did match his career high with six strikeouts. He pitched 3.2 innings, allowed one earned run, four hits, and two walks. He also hit a batter, balked, and uncorked a wild pitch.
Nick Swiney was tagged with a couple of runs in the ninth but added a couple K’s in his two innings to finish out the game.
Louisville continued to cycle through a cache of pitchers pumping 95 to the bump but most of them could not find the strike zone. Five of the six pitchers they used walked at least one batter, and they issued nine walks as a team. Still, despite all of the walks, just five of the 10 runs they surrendered were earned thanks to all of the shoddy defense on display.
Kinneman was the only State player to record multiple hits, but Tatum, DH-ing over Brad Debo for a second straight game, doubled, walked twice, and scored twice. He also stole two bases. Pitarra walked twice, had a single, and scored three times from the leadoff spot.
NC State wraps up its seven-game road swing Wednesday night at 6 p.m. against UNC-Wilmington before returning to the Doak at Dail to host Notre Dame next weekend.