A six-run second inning from No. 23 Virginia doomed the No. 7 NC State baseball team as it fell 10-3, dropping its first series of conference play in Charlottesville, Virginia Sunday afternoon.
The Wolfpack (13-2, 1-2 ACC) split the first two games of the series with the Cavaliers (12-4, 2-1 ACC), losing 7-3 on Friday and winning 6-2 on Saturday, setting up the series-deciding game on Sunday with junior David Harrison on the mound.
NC State got on the board first as sophomore third baseman Vojtech Mensik drove in sophomore designated hitter Luca Tresh on an RBI single to put the Pack up 1-0 in the top of the second inning.
That lead would be short-lived, as the Cavaliers scored six runs in the bottom of the inning, two of which coming on a two-run home run to make the score 6-1. Harrison pitched just 1.2 innings and gave up five of those runs on five hits.
The two teams went back and forth over the next few innings. The Wolfpack tacked on another run in the third as junior catcher Patrick Bailey drove in junior first baseman Austin Murr on an RBI single, cutting the lead to 6-2. After Virginia scored a run in the fourth to make the score 7-2, Mensik drove in junior left fielder Jonny Butler on an RBI groundout in the sixth, making it 7-3.
The Cavaliers hit another home run in the seventh, this time a solo shot to make the score 8-3. They scored two more runs in the eighth inning to stretch the lead to 10-3, which was too much for the Wolfpack to overcome.
NC State couldn’t match Virginia’s firepower as it finished the game with seven hits compared to Virginia’s 14, and the Pack’s OPS was just .487, compared to Virginia’s 1.162. The Pack also missed several opportunities as it left eight runners on base
Head coach Elliott Avent used seven pitchers in the loss, as all except the last, redshirt junior Logan Bender, gave up a run. Senior Kent Klyman was probably the most effective, giving up four hits but just one run over 3.1 innings.
The top four in the lineup in Murr, sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough, Bailey and junior right fielder Devonte Brown had a tough afternoon, combining to go 2 for 17 with a walk.
After losing a series for the first time this season, the Pack will try and regroup this week as it hosts UNC Charlotte and North Carolina A&T in two mid-week games before traveling north to face Boston College in its second series of conference play this upcoming weekend.