NC State lost to No. 22 North Carolina, 3-2, in extra innings in the second of a three-game set at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill. Freshman right-hander Tommy DeJuneas (1-2) walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th and then hit Zack Gahagan with a 1-1 pitch to sending the winning run home.
The Wolfpack drop to 19-14 on the season and 7-9 in the ACC. The Tar Heels improve to 22-13 on the campaign, 9-8 in league play.
Brian Brown started on the mound for NC State. The freshman lefty hurled 5+ innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits while fanning three and walking two.
After Logan Ratledge ripped his sixth home run of the season to lead of the top of the fourth, the Tar Heels struck back in the bottom of the frame on a single up the middle from Joe Dudek.
Freshman designated hitter Shane Shepard hit his first career homer in the fifth to help NC State retake the lead. Once again North Carolina immediately responded in its half of the inning as Skye Bolt singled to center to score Korey Dunbar, who led off by reaching on a throwing error from Joe Dunand.
“[Brown] was outstanding,” NC State head coach Elliott Avent said. “Joe throws one a little wide of first base. We think we’ve got Skye Bolt struck out but that didn’t happen and they get the second run. Tommy just kind of lost the strike zone a little bit in the 10th inning.”
For NC State it was the fifth loss in the last six games since winning seven straight to close out the month of March. Four of the five losses have been by one runs with the lone exception being a, 7-5, defeat at Elon on Tuesday.
The Wolfpack have also struggled of late against the Tar Heels in agonizing fashion. Over the past four seasons North Carolina has won 9-of-11 from NC State, including four straight. During that stretch, five of the losses have come by one run--including three in a row. Three times the teams have went into extra innings and Carolina has emerged victorious on each occasion.
On Sunday, NC State will look to avert a series sweep and reverse its recent trend against North Carolina with right-handed sophomore Johnny Piedmonte (1-1, 1.96 ERA) on the mound. The Tar Heels will counter with senior righty Benton Moss (5-0, 3.21 ERA).
“It is disappointing to play that well and things go a little bit different,” Avent said. “I don’t think you have to say anything to [the team]. They know how well they played, they know how hard they played, they know how hard they fought and they know some things went against them tonight.”
“If that doesn’t make you ready to play [on Sunday], nothing does.”