The No. 11 NC State baseball team suffered a close loss to UNC-Charlotte at home 9-8 Tuesday night, March 10. It was the team’s third loss in the last four games and brings its record to 13-3 on the season.
The 49ers (9-8) had the first lead of the game 5-0 coming off three hits in the second inning. Freshman righty Matt Willadsen started the game for the Wolfpack but pitched just 1.2 innings after giving up the first run of the game and loading the bases. Junior lefty Canaan Silver relieved Willadsen but gave up four runs before getting out of the inning by picking off the runner at first. All five of Charlotte’s runs in the inning came with two outs.
“We gave up a lot of two-out hits, and we gave up a lot of two-out hits at Virginia,” said head coach Elliott Avent. “They had nine runs, eight of the nine runs were on two outs. When we have two outs we gotta figure out how to get back into the dugout.”
In the third inning, the NC State bats heated up and cut the deficit to one. Freshman infielder Jose Torres drove in the first three runs for the Wolfpack with a three-run bomb over the left-field wall, making the score 5-3. With the bases loaded, junior outfielder Devonte Brown drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, making the score 5-4.
The Wolfpack gave up two more runs in the fourth inning, coming from a deep two-run double by the 49ers’ Dominic Pilolli, making the score 7-4. The Pack would get those two runs back after a balk scored junior outfielder Terrell Tatum and an RBI double by sophomore infielder Tyler McDonough scored Torres, making the score 7-6.
In the fifth inning, sophomore outfielder/catcher Luca Tresh evened the score up at 7-7 with a solo shot over the left-center wall.
Junior lefty David Harrison had a solid outing in 2.1 innings for the Pack, giving up no runs and fanning three batters on the mound.
The bats were quiet for the Pack up until the eighth inning when Tresh tied the game 8-8 with an RBI single to right field. However, the 49ers came back with another run in the top of the ninth, and the Pack couldn’t answer.
After scoring just 12 runs combined in the last series against Virginia, NC State scored eight runs on seven hits in the game, but it wasn’t enough to get past the 49ers.
“We hit the ball pretty well, but at the end it wasn’t enough,” Torres said. “We’ve just gotta clean it up next game.”
Some of the Pack’s other issues from the Virginia series carried over into the game, such as stranding men on base. After leaving 36 men on base over the weekend, the team left nine runners on base against Charlotte.
“We have to do a better job of not leaving men on base. We left 17 men on base at Virginia Friday night,” Avent said. “We’re leaving men on base right and left...We got to figure out how to do less at the plate and not leave men on base.”
NC State will be back at Doak Field tomorrow, March 11 at 6 p.m. against NC A&T.