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Sophomore pitcher Matt Willadsen pitches during the Wolfpack's home baseball game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Doak Field on March 26, 2022. The Wolfpack won the game 6-5 to clinch the series.

The NC State baseball team was able to take one game this weekend against the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals.

The Wolfpack (25-13, 11-9 ACC) and its strong offense gave itself plenty of opportunities. However, the Cardinals (27-12, 11-7 ACC) were able to put the hurt on the NC State pitching as Louisville took the series.

Game One

On Friday, redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Logan Whitaker got the nod for the Wolfpack. In the bottom of the first, Whitaker allowed a run to get Louisville on the board first.

The Pack responded in the third inning as freshman third baseman Tommy White crushed a three-run home run, driving in senior center fielder Devonte Brown and sophomore first baseman LuJames Groover III to give the Pack a 3-1 advantage.

White struck again in the fifth as he sent a solo homer over the fences to add to the Pack’s lead, making the score 4-1.

The bottom of the seventh featured the deciding frame of the game, but it did not go the Pack’s way. Whitaker began the inning by putting two runners on base, which warranted a pitching change that brought in junior righty Baker Nelson. He walked a batter to load the bases and the Cardinals crushed a grand slam to go up 5-4. The scoring continued as an outfield error led to another run for the Cards.

A second pitching change sent redshirt freshman lefty Trey Cooper to the mound. He saw very limited time, allowing an RBI single, and freshman righty Carson Kelly came to take his place. Kelly allowed two more runners to come across and for the fourth time in the inning, the Pack made a pitching change. Sophomore lefty John Miralia stepped in and allowed another run on a wild pitch. However, Miralia took care of the next two batters to finally stop the bleeding. The Pack gave up a staggering nine runs and the Cardinals now led 10-4.

The Pack’s offense fell silent for the rest of the night as it only managed to get a walk in the eighth and a single in the ninth, but all of those runners were left stranded.

Louisville was not finished, however, as it loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth against junior righty Andrew Tillery. After allowing a single, Tillery gave up three straight walks, which sent the first runner home to make it an 11-4 game. The Wolfpack changed pitchers again before the inning was over.

Despite the loss, White had an excellent game, hitting two home runs and four RBIs.

Game Two

In game two on Saturday, the Pack’s offensive onslaught began in the second inning. With two runners on, senior second baseman J.T. Jarrett hit a two-run double. Up next was freshman third baseman Payton Green, who smoked a two-run homer to extend the Pack’s lead to four. In the next at-bat, freshman catcher Jacob Cozart hit a home run to make the score 5-0 as the Pack looped through their entire batting order in this inning.

In the bottom of the second, Louisville continued the scoring as it went after sophomore righty Matt Willadsen, forcing him into throwing a total of 46 pitches in the inning. The Cards put up two runs of their own to make it a 5-2 game.

In the bottom of the fourth, Willadsen continued to struggle as he gave up a solo blast. After that he loaded the bases but was able to work himself out of the jam with two strikeouts, cutting the Wolfpack’s lead to 5-3.

The fifth inning saw a two-run shot by redshirt junior shortstop Josh Hood. Two batters later, Jarrett struck again as he hit another home run to put the Pack up 8-3.

In the bottom of the inning, sophomore lefty Chris Villaman took the mound for the Pack. It was a disappointing outing for Villaman as the sophomore gave up three runs, which put Louisville right back in striking distance.

The scoring continued in the sixth as Groover III hit a single that drove in Cozart, putting the Pack up 9-6. However, this lead soon diminished in the latter half of the inning as Villaman allowed five runners to reach base, four of those eventually reaching home. Sophomore righty Justin Lawson entered and struck out the two remaining batters to end the inning, putting the Cardinals in the driver's seat with a 10-9 lead.

The eighth inning saw more runs come across for NC State as Hood hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Groover to score. Jarrett hit a three-run double to continue the inning, then Green hit a double that scored Jarrett. The score now read 14-10 NC State.

For the rest of the game, Louisville was unable to muster any additional runs as Lawson continued his amazing work to finish the game. In the meantime, NC State scored another insurance run in the ninth as Groover crushed a home run. This was the fifth homer that NC State hit on the day.

Despite the pitching struggles, Lawson played a key role in slowing down Louisville’s bats, pitching 3.2 innings, tossing four strikeouts and allowing no runs.

Game Three

On Sunday afternoon, the Wolfpack got off to a blitzing start as Brown drilled a home run on the very first pitch of the game, and White proceeded to send a pitch out of the stadium himself. Jarrett added to the lead as he drilled a three-run homer as the Pack quickly found itself ahead 5-0.

The pitching woes for NC State continued as senior lefty Canaan Silver was given the nod. He quickly loaded the bases and gave up a two-run RBI. Another deep single saw two more runs driven in, and the once-comfortable Wolfpack lead now sat at 5-4.

The next few innings were relatively quiet until the fourth. Brown continued his strong day as he hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Green, putting the Pack up 6-4. The Cardinals offense seemed to wake up as well as they hit a two-run homer off of Silver to tie the game 6-6.

The seventh inning saw White hit his fourth homer of the series and second of the game. In the other half of the inning, Silver’s day ended as redshirt junior Logan Adams took over. Adams made relatively easy work of the Cardinals as he sat down all three batters he faced.

The eighth inning was not so kind to Adams as he began by giving up a two-run double, then was pulled in favor of freshman righty Carson Kelly. Louisville continued to feast as a single and a sac fly brought in two more runs, and one more run made the score 11-7.

There was a glimmer of hope in the ninth for the Pack as White was able to reach first. However, Hood grounded into a double play and a strikeout from sophomore right fielder Noah Soles ended it.

This game was very similar to Friday’s game as the Pack offense punished the Louisville pitching. However, due to lengthy innings which saw the leads disappear, the Pack dropped two games it seemingly should have won. During the series, the Pack hit an amazing 11 home runs.

The Wolfpack is set to be back in action on Tuesday, April 26 against the East Carolina Pirates at Doak Field at Dail Park. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.