Baseball is a cruel mistress. Host NC State outhit Army 9-7 in the Raleigh regional yet never really threatened the upstart Black Knights in a 5-1 loss. The Pack will have to battle back from the loser’s bracket, starting with an elimination game Saturday at 2 p.m. against Northeastern, if they hope to advance. The third seeded Wildcats were pounded 13-4 by second seed Auburn in the first game of the regional.
Army, the fourth seed, got 6.1 crafty if not dominant innings from lefty Tyler Giovinco. The junior lefty managed just one strikeout but left the hill unscathed after giving up seven hits and a pair of walks. The only run charged to him—and State’s lone tally—came when Shane Shepard lofted a sac fly off reliever Sam Messina after Giovinco departed with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh.
Speedy Jacob Hurtubise put Army up 1-0 in the third when he scored from second on a groundout to first base. Hurtubise, who singled, walked twice, and scored a pair of runs, is a little bit quick. He stole 40 bases in the regular season.
A leadoff walk to Anthony Giachin, followed by a throwing error from Patrick Bailey, allowed Army to tack on an unearned run in the fourth. The Black Knights pushed the lead to 5-0 before State managed to scratch.
Cam Opp got three of his five outs via strikeout to close things out for Army. The Black Knights will face Auburn Saturday night at seven p.m. in an effort to extend their Cinderella start to the regional.
Freshman Reid Johnston (7-1) gave up just two hits and a lone earned run (two total) in 4.1 innings but was saddled with his first loss in a Wolfpack uniform. Will Wilson and Evan Edwards had three hits apiece for a Pack squad that saw 12 men reach base but only one reach home.