By Matt Bradshaw —
After winning game one, No. 11 baseball (20-10, 6-8) fumbled game two of their weekend series with No. 4 NC State (24-6, 10-4). The Cardinals maintained a 6-5 lead until the ninth inning, when the Wolfpack unloaded four runs to clinch a 9-6 victory.
With the loss, Louisville misses the chance to move to .500 in ACC play. They have lost three ACC series this season, putting more pressure on the three-game stand against the Wolfpack.
Sophomores dominated at the plate for the Cards. Tyler Fitzgerald, Danny Oriente, Ethan Stringer, Drew Campbell and Justin Lavey combined for five hits and six RBIs.
It was a pitchers’ duel the first three innings as both teams traded a single hit each. Sophomore Nick Bennett (3-0) got the start on the mound, allowing three runs and posting eight strikeouts.
NC State took the lead 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning with a RBI single.
The Cardinals grabbed the lead right back in the bottom of the inning. With runners on second and third and two out, Oriente whacked a two RBI single for a 2-1 score.
The Wolfpack threatened to score in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third, but Bennett tossed a clutch strikeout to end the inning.
Stringer doubled to start the bottom of the fifth. Lavey pushed him along with a sacrifice bunt, then Fitzgerald widened the lead to 3-1 with a RBI single.
Freshman Patrick Bailey of NC State tied the game 3-3 with a two-run homer in the top of the sixth.
Pinch-hitter Campbell scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth with a RBI double. Lavey followed with a two RBI double to bring the score to 6-3.
The Wolfpack lessened the deficit to one run in the top of the seventh. Two errors from the Cardinals, one in the infield and one in the outfield, led to two unearned runs and a 6-5 score.
Sam Bordner (1-2) entered the contest to pitch in the eighth inning. The junior began the top of the ninth with a 6-5 Louisville lead.
After NC State loaded the bases in the ninth, Bordner allowed a three RBI double and RBI single for the Wolfpack to take a 9-6 lead.
The Cards went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, cementing their defeat.
Louisville faces NC State in the finale of the series on Sunday, April 8 at 1 p.m.
You can follow Matt Bradshaw on Twitter @bradmatt8.
Photo by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal