NC State pitching has given up only six runs in two games to a deep Louisville lineup this weekend, but the Wolfpack has no wins to show for it. Louisville's pitching staff--also quite deep--has just been more impressive. After getting shut out Friday, the Pack didn't scratch across any runs until the seventh inning Saturday. That burst of offense wasn't enough, and Louisville held on for a 4-2 victory.
The Pack managed 10 hits on the day, but they were all singles. If you aren't hitting for power, you need to string a lot of good at-bats together, which is a pretty difficult thing against this Louisville pitching staff.
State needed a standout effort from Brian Brown, and he kept the Cardinals scoreless through the first four innings. Louisville broke the drought in the fifth with a string of two-out hits, netting it four runs, and Brown's day was done before the inning was over.
The bullpen kept Louisville off the board the rest of the way, though four runs proved more than enough cushion for Louisville, which got seven solid innings from starter Drew Harrington. Relief ace Zack Burdi (39K/7BB in 23 IP coming in) struck out the side in the ninth to close the door.
So a disappointing couple of days leaves State hoping to avoid a sweep on Sunday afternoon. A win or two in Louisville would have gone a long way in support of State's national seed hopes, but that national seed is now looking increasingly unlikely.
Of course, the ACC is so deep with quality teams, there are still opportunities ahead. NC State will close out the regular season with UNC, and then there are plenty of chances for resume-building wins in the ACC tournament. (Winning that tournament would also help a whole lot.)