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NC State takes two of three from Notre Dame

COLLEGE BASEBALL: APR 14 Boston College at N.C. State Photo by Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NC State did what it had to over the weekend, taking the series from Notre Dame in South Bend—there’s still a lot of work to do, but this is a good start.

Didn’t begin that way, as the Wolfpack dropped the series-opener Thursday night, 9-7. Logan Whitaker wasn’t on top of his game, and the Irish struck the decisive blow in this back-and-forth contest in the bottom of the eighth—a two-run shot off Dominic Fritton that broke a 7-7 tie.

There were few problems for State’s pitching staff over the next two days. NC State took game two 5-1 behind a nine-strikeout effort from Matt Willadsen, who pitched into the seventh. Fighting Irish starter Blake Hely also pitched deep into the game before being unceremoniously shown the exit by Jacob Cozart in the eighth.

The late breathing room was nice, though Baker Nelson didn’t need it. He recorded the final seven outs of the day—four by strikeout—without allowing a hit. Gino Groover had a nice day at the plate, finishing 2-4 with a solo shot, RBI double, and RBI walk.

Game three went much the same way, with Sam Highfill and Dominic Fritton combining to limit the Irish to five hits. Kalae Harrison provided the decisive runs for the Pack in the second inning with a two-run homer.

State went on to win, 6-1. Highfill pitched five innings and allowed a solo shot in the first, but that was it for the Irish offense the rest of the day. Fritton handled the last four innings.

At the plate, Groover had another 2-4 effort, as did Payton Green, who had an RBI double and a solo homer.

NC State stands at 10-13 in ACC play after the weekend, and the Pack is in the ACC tourney as of now, with Louisville (9-15) and FSU (6-18) the odd teams out. State’s off to Chapel Hill next weekend, where another series win surely would be swell.